It looks great, but traditionalists will hate it.
First seen at the 2021 SEMA Show, the Ford F-100 Eluminator concept is a stunning custom build based on a classic 1978 F-100 pickup. Under the beautifully restored bodywork sits two electric motors, producing 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft of torque. If these figures sound familiar to you, that's because this restomodded F-100 is running the same dual motor setup as the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition.
The Blue Oval has elected to sell it through Ford Performance parts, as an EV crate motor for enthusiasts who want to convert classic Fords to electric power. At $3,900, it's not badly priced. While purists may turn their noses up at this, EV conversions have become big business, with some manufacturers even offering the service themselves.
Ford's director of future electric vehicles, Dave Pericak, recently gave Jay Leno a tour around the electrified restomod before the pair took the Eluminator concept out for a drive.
"Our Ford Performance team did a great job of taking the GT driveline - the motors and suspension, all of it - and putting it underneath this vehicle," explains Pericak. Originally equipped with a six-cylinder gasoline engine, the electrified pickup now boasts four times the original power. In order to fit the electric components, the F-100 has been fitted with a custom chassis.
Still, the iconic styling remains. While it has been customized somewhat, the changes have been limited to Avalanche Gray paintwork livened up by Copper trim. The color choices are repeated on the retro wheels, which measure 19 inches compared to the original 15-inch items. To handle the mountainous torque, the F-100 receives 275 rubber all round.
Lifting the square hood reveals one of the electric motors. Despite the dual-motor setup, the F-100 retains its flatbed with the motor fitting snugly beneath. Interestingly, the electrified concept weighs slightly more than the Mustang Mach-E, although Pericak notes braking, handling, and performance is significantly improved over the original model.
Inside, some of the original charm has been lost. Ford elected to give the cabin a thorough reworking, fitting the interior with the Mach-E's digital driver display, infotainment system, and a modern steering wheel. "Part of the fine of having a retro vehicle is the old gauges and the old speedometer," says Leno.
On the road, the silent pickup seems to impress the former Tonight Show host. "Anything that saves a vehicle is fun for me. I like the idea. To me, it's the ultimate recycling. You're taking something old and reusing it again for the exact same purpose, in a less environmentally damaging way. It makes perfect sense."
While it may not use a V8, Leno describes this electric concept as a hotrod, noting that the conversion makes the vehicle faster and more efficient. "It handles better [and] it stops better, so I guess it's a hotrod. It doesn't always have to have an internal combustion engine."
Ford has been a trailblazer in the electric vehicle sphere and while it's nowhere near Tesla at the moment, it is gunning for massive market share in the future. The Mustang Mach-E is an example of this, with strong sales since its introduction. Furthermore, the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit should take the commercial sector by storm, with the former already forcing the carmaker to double production as demand continues to build.
Ford selling the electric crate motor is just another way of reaching out to fans of the brand. Perhaps the Mach-E and other electrified offerings may be out of their price range, but this allows aficionados to create custom electric vehicles from beloved classics. While it may not appeal to everyone, there is clearly a market for this. "This is for a whole different crowd. It's totally different - and that's what I like. Hot-rodding is a combination of nostalgia and innovation. This is a classic example of that."