An old Datsun? Eight wheels? No roof? Why not! Conversion and prototype electric car enthusiasts are like Doc Brown from "Back to the Future" with a heavy dose of eco-geekery.
New Zealand engineer -- and Tesla Motors co-founder -- Ian Wright once converted an Ariel Atom open wheel sports car into a racing roadster with an electric motor and inverter from AC Propulsion. His Wrightspeed X1 prototype had a top speed of 104 mph, but went 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds and notably beat a Ferrari 360 Spider in 2006. Testing it out in 2009, Road and Track's Dennis Simanaitis called it "the second-quickest car I've ever driven in my life."
Brothers Sam and Olly Young modified a 1965 VW Beetle to make the Black Current III. In spring 2011, their ride hit 132.22 mph in the United Kingdom, setting a new record for a non-rail drag car. In 2010, they got to 135 mph. Looking under the hood the following year, All Cars Electric's Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield reported that its custom lithium cobalt oxide battery pack was similar to those in model airplanes. Then, in 2015, their vehicle reached 151.55 mph at the Santapod Raceway, nabbing the Extreme Street NEDRA record.
In 2004, a team from Keio University in Japan created an eight-wheeled prototype electric car. The Eliica, short for "electric lithium ion car," reached 250 mph on a test track in Italy. It also accelerated faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo.
John Wayland's converted 1972 Datsun still clung to the record for the NEDRA's ProStreet Conversion category in 2016. Back in September 2010 at the NEDRA Nationals in Oregon, driver Tim Brehm pushed the car, called White Zombie, to 123.79 mph. The back window read "SUCK AMPS!"
"John is a great guy, but his title is hanging by a thread," NEDRA's Raymond Cooper said. "It just takes one guy or gal with one car and the right setup and boom -- new record holder."