English firm RBW to sell new electric English classics

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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The company offers all-new electric MGBs, Jaguar XKSS’ and C-Types that you can drive long after the demise of internal combustion

English firm RBW to sell new electric English classics
English firm RBW to sell new electric English classics

In the modern age of automotive innovation, it’s easy to infer the impending downward spiral of the beloved internal combustion engine. Electrification seems to be the future, but while the space-age tech has traditionally been relegated to new-car technology, the worlds of classic cars and future-tech are increasingly clashing.

Manufacturers are jumping aboard, with Jaguar recently making their very own electric E-type, and more and more aftermarket and retrofitting businesses are popping up all over the globe.

This past September, RBW Classic Electric Cars – a firm based in the English West Midlands, debuted their own retro-modern take on the classic MGB Roadster. They call it, the RBW Roadster EV.

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The car is based, not on original or restored MGBs, but instead built upon brand new steel body shells sourced from British Motor Heritage, the company that’s been continually producing bodies since 1988 out of the original MGB tooling.

The MGB body is instantly identifiable and correct, with original chrome body trim, bumpers and correct badging.

The electric motor sits under the bonnet, and is sourced from Zytek Automotive, the engine supplier for Formula E. Even the power output is true to the original, reportedly making 70kW – near identical to the original 1.8lt four-cylinder – and 226Nm of torque. The electric plug-in point sits in within original fuel filler location.

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The classic-bodied roadster shows its modernity inside the cabin, with a contemporary Jaguar-style rotary dial used as a gear selector in place of a traditional transmission shifter. The instrument cluster too has been replaced by digital instruments, all upholstered together by local specialists, GB Classic Trim.

Electric drivetrains within classic car bodies are hugely divisive, though it’s worth reiterating that these cars are not built out of original MGBs, but instead out of all new components.

The firm has initially stated that they are only building 30 cars, priced at around AUD$152,000, with a refundable AUD$15,000 deposit.

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RBW is further slated to release two more Zytec-powered models in the form of Jaguar’s XKSS and C-Type, utilising hand-built aluminium bodies crafted by Polish Coachbuilders, Gregson Polska.

Pricing has been set at AUD$330,000 for the XKSS (with a AUD$27,000 deposit), and AUD$275,000 for the special order Jaguar C-type (with a AUD$23,000 deposit).

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Electric tech is still a growing industry, as such, prices remain rather prohibitive for most people. But in years to come, once we’ve sucked the earth dry and our beloved internal combustion engines are no more – it’s comforting to know that there will still be ways to keep our classics on the road.

 

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