Retro has never felt this fresh.
2021 has been a big year for Japanese auto manufacturing giant Nissan. Not only did the company announce that it will be launching 23 new electrified models before 2030, but it also celebrated 70 years of its unstoppable Patrol 4x4. But the year's not done yet, and Nissan has one final anniversary to celebrate, and it's doing so with a very special little car. 2021 marks the 35th year of production at Nissan's Sunderland plant, and to commemorate the occasion, the company has built a custom Nissan Bluebird powered by the powertrain out of a Nissan Leaf.
The Bluebird was the very first car to roll off of the production line at Nissan's Sunderland plant back in 1986, and with Nissan looking toward an all-electric future, it's fitting that this special Bluebird is powered by nothing but electricity. Nissan lovingly refers to this custom Bluebird EV as 'Newbird.'
"The Newbird represents all that is great about our plant, past present and future, as we celebrate 35 years of manufacturing in Sunderland. We have a rich heritage of building great cars, right from the original Bluebird model, and our fantastic team is now leading the way as we drive towards an exciting electrified, carbon-neutral future," said Alan Johnson, Vice President, Manufacturing, at Nissan Sunderland Plant.
The Newbird's life started when Kinghorn Electric Vehicles removed the original motor and transmission. Extensive modifications to the body had to be made to allow the Leaf's powertrain to fit, and now also includes its power steering, braking and heating systems. The car's 40-kWh battery is charged through the fuel filler flap, and Nissan claims that it has a range of 130 miles. It might be eco-friendly, but the Newbird is seriously slow: it takes a whole 15 seconds for it to reach 62 mph.
The exterior now features graphics inspired by design cues of 1980s consumer technology. This retro-cool classic is a fitting tribute to a plant that has seen over 10.5 million cars roll off of its production line, and one that is powered in part by solar and wind. A total of 187,178 Bluebirds rolled through Sunderland, and the very first car off the production line, Bluebird Job 1, still sits proudly in the local museum.