The Ferrari 308 starred along with Tom Selleck in the long running TV show Magnum PI. Unfortunately, the cars had a tendency to set themselves on fire. That’s what happened to the car you see here. But that was just the beginning of the story for Eric Hutchinson.
Eric wanted to convert a Ferrari to electric power but didn’t want to start with a car in pristine condition. After a fuel leak led to a fire in the engine compartment, this car was far from factory fresh. Eric bought it with a salvage title for $10,000. Then he and his friend Michael Bream from EV West came up with a plan to convert the car to electric power.
The plan called for using 3 AC51 HPEVS electric motors arranged in a V configuration. The finished result bears an uncanny resemblance to the original Ferrari V-8 engine that was in the car when it left the factory in 1978. The motors are even painted red to match the original engine color. Hutchinson and Bream created a unique pulley and belt system to link the motors to a single driveshaft.
For power, they mounted 48 individual 3.3-volt lithium-ion batteries throughout the car — 24 in front and 24 more in two packs of 12 in the rear. Combined, the batteries have 31.5 kWh of capacity, which is good for a range of about 100 miles.
The finished car is only 150 lbs heavier than it was when built in Maranello. It has 465 horsepower and 330 ft-lb of torque. Both numbers are considerably more than the original 3.0 liter Ferrari V-8 engine produced. It was rated at 235 horsepower.
Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne said recently that an electric Ferrari would be “obscene” because it would lack the distinctive wail of a Ferrari engine. Maybe. But there’s a good chance most of us wouldn’t turn this car down if it showed up in our driveway with a note on the windshield saying, “Drive Me.”