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Icon is fresh off of the reveal of its Tesla-powered 1949 Mercury coupe at the 2018 SEMA show, but it has another electric powertrain swap to show off. The company has installed an electric powertrain in this 1966 Derelict Fiat 500 Giardiniera.
Icon founder Jonathan Ward published a YouTube video to show off the electric 500 Giardiniera, which was in pretty poor shape when it first came to the company. Ward mistakenly identifies the car as a 600 Giardinetta, but this is indeed a 500 Giardiniera. As a side note, Fiat plans to build a new 500 Giardiniera with a design to recall the original model.
The client said the interior reeked and the upholstery was in really poor condition. The exterior, however, was in very good shape. Icon didn’t touch the exterior and simply restored the cabin with new upholstery and materials as it performed the electric powertrain swap. Marine-grade vinyl provided a much more robust upholstery, and Icon had to go through the whole car to eliminate typical Fiat squeaks and rattles that would only become more noticeable without an internal combustion engine underhood.
The client wanted something much more reliable than the 500 Giardiniera standard powertrain, so Icon went ahead with a minimal maintenance battery and electric motor. The car runs six Tesla batteries for a total of 30 kwh, and it has a range of about 120 miles. To handle the electric powertrain’s extra weight, Icon converted the suspension to coil-overs, beefed up the entire rear transaxle, and upgraded the disc brakes. The transaxle remains original, per Ward, but it’s now locked in third gear.
Thus, the powertrain provides the smooth electric feel many drivers adore.
Since there’s no need for a gearshift, Icon designed and created an age-appropriate dial to select Reverse, Neutral, or Drive. The ignition also includes push-button start via a discreet black button mounted to the left of the steering wheel, while an electric range gauge mimics the car’s original speedometer.
Ward doesn’t know how much power the 500 Giardiniera made before the swap, but says it makes about 100 horsepower now. He said the results are pretty spectacular with plenty of acceleration and a zippy feel.