Ask Nathan: Retro Classic EVs, Mustang GT vs Nissan Z, and – Should I buy a Subaru Brat?

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama Concept Car (Designed by Harley Earl)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • I think people will embrace retro classic EVs.
  • Simple choice: Mustang GT vs Nissan Z
  • I’m thinking about buying a Subaru Brat!

The first question comes from fan who thinks people will like BEVs more if they become retro classic EVs.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) I know! Make retro classic EVs and people will stop complaining!

Nathan, I’m with you! I think people can embrace both gas and electric cars if they’re smart about it. I bet you if they started building retro classic EVs, you know, like modern EV versions of 1930 – 1970s cars, PEOPLE WOULD LOVE THEM!

Lovie Dov Eva

A: “Retro classic EVs” eh? Love it!

Actually, it’s been done many times in the past. One of the early TFL videos Roman and I put together was with an electrified 1957 Porsche (replica) 356-A. Called the Bec eSpeedster, it had a reported 100 mile range, 50-horsepower and a manual transmission. It was… unique.

There are a slew of people putting electric powertrains into old VW Beetles, and other old collectables.

I think, and I’m guessing you might agree, that automakers could makes some slick retro-themed electric vehicles, and it would grab the public’s interest. Just look at the Volkswagen I.D Buzz, it’s extremely popular, yet it’s months away from (U.S.) production. People simply like the looks and character of that van.

Modern, electric powertrains allow for a lot of space to play with, in terms of external and internal design. Who knows? In time, we may see some automakers build retro-futuristic vehicles that were impossible to produce back in the day. Finally, there’s rumors of a variety of old nameplates returning, including the Ford Thunderbird. Although it’s doubtful it will look retro, it may be an all-electric brother to the Mach-E. It would be cool if it resembled the iconic first generation model.

You never know what lurks around the corner. I hope automakers take advantage of EV’s flexibility.

  • N

The next question comes from a Mustang GT fan who want to know if we think the Nissan Z is better,

Q: (Twitter@NathanAdlen) Its been years since yaall tested a Mustang GT.

I saw Romans video with the Nissan Z and I wonder if you like it better than the GT

  • Cody

A: Hi Cody.

I have yet to drive the new Nissan Z, but Roman says it’s outstanding. Funny thing about the Mustang GT, it’s priced close to the base model Nissan Z, and it has a similar 0 to 60 mph time. I can’t make an informed opinion about the Z until I drive one.

You see, these are completely different takes on sport cars. A big, naturally aspirated V8 vs a twin-turbo V6? Hell yes! They both have their merits, and I have to drive both within a small window of time, to get the feel of each one.

More importantly, we need to get our driver Paul to evaluate it. In my mind, his words on performance are automotive gospel.

As for the two cars side-by-side, I can say that I like the way the Nissan looks – a lot. Still, I know that Ford is about to unveil a serious update of the Mustang. I wonder how it will look?

Stay tuned.

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The last question comes from a message I got from a young fan who is thinking about buying a Subaru Brat.

Lost Cars of the 1980s - Subaru Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain... |  Hemmings
Images; Subaru

Q: Andre, Nathan and Tommy, I have a question.

I have a neighbor who has a slightly rusted 1983 Subaru Brat. I’m thinking about asking him to buy it. Do you know how much I should ask for it? He said it runs. I get my license in August and I want to restore something cool

  • Adam %
Was the Subaru BRAT too weird for its own good?

A: Hi Adam, I need a little more information about the Subaru Brat.

How many miles are on it? Can you tell me more about the condition, and if it has a title?

Prices for rough examples of Subaru Brats can top $4,000 – right now. Fortunately, I’ve seen a few runners going for less than $2,000.

These are super cool cars, and are a hoot to take off-road. I always wanted to restore one, and I can tell you that the older models weren’t very powerful. Still, they were economical and utilitarian. It’s possible that this model has the (impossible to find) turbocharged engine. They are very rare, and make about 94 horsepower, which is a lot more than the old 1.6-liter H4.

I have a recommendation: if this is your first attempt at working on a vehicle, I would recommend something a bit larger, with easier to source parts. Early 80s base-model trucks are still pretty affordable, and parts are plentiful. Parts for the Subaru will be harder to find.

Please send me more information, so I can better help you.

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Speaking of old projects…