Friday, July 29, 2016

Renault Anymore: 1960 Henney Kilowatt

In an effort to avoid being too predictable, I sometimes feel the urge to post random cars that aren't affordably priced Porsche 914s, Datsun 240Zs, or some kind of boxy Volvo.  Obviously, a good deal on a some well known classic is always a good thing, but what about the odd balls?...what about the Renault family sedans that were converted to electric power from 1959-1960?  Find this 1960 Henney Kilowatt offered for $10,000 in Nesconset, NY via hemmings.

The Henney was manufactured by the Eureka Williams Co in Bloomington, IL...or more accurately, RE-manufactured.  It started life as a Renault Dauphine and some nut shoved a 72 volt electric motor where the engine should have been...and some batteries.

For $10k you are getting a cool looking car, in great shape, that might be missing its batteries, but the original dozen six-volt series lead-acid bricks would have been long gone by now.  It seems like a logical time to swap in a modern battery pack that weighs less and gives you are longer drive time.

Oddly enough, this thing isn't as impractical as you might expect, the  72 volt motor gets you a top speed of 60 mph and will give a total range of 60 miles on a single charge...and that is with 1950s technology.  Imagine giving this thing the full Tesla treatment -- it could be awesome.

See another cheap electric toy from a bygone era?


  1. This is awesome. Modern batteries, onboard charger, and a motor controller that can do re-gen would make it just about perfect. Then upgrade to a three-phase AC brushless motor sometime in the future for tire-shredding fun.

    I keep thinking there's going to be a big market for fun, quirky, classics like this - cars with real character - converted to electric using modern bits. Prices should drop dramatically on dense battery packs and controllers, if/when the Model 3 takes off.

    There are myriad conversion companies doing business today, turning aircooled Volkswagens into "zero emissions" smugmobiles, but the price seems to prohibitive. Give it a few more years...

  2. eagerly awaiting bobinott here ...

  3. Well, since someone asked..... Frankly, I'd rather have the original Dauphine.

    That being said, this seems to show that EV progress has not been as impressive as we might have thought. A 60 mile range would make this as practical for daily commuting as some of the current generation (get it "current", see what I did there, huh, huh?!?), and I don't know many people who commute at anything close to 60 mph most days.

    If CFlo waits a little while, there will be piles of crunched Teslas being sold by the estates of the late Autopilot-enthusiast owners. Then all he needs is to locate the closest Geo Metro graveyard and he will have a match truly made in heaven.

    Oh, and thanks for asking, Anonymous. I love your work!

  4. This is about 15 minutes from me, or 2 hrs if driving the Dauphine. I would be happy to look it over for you and take some pics. In fact I'd get a real charge out of it. (ode to Bobinott - PS: how could ANYTHING including a Geo Metro be heavenly?)

    I have a soft spot for old French rigs. Peugeots, Renaults, Citroen, etc. While they were often as robust a souffle, they have gobs of charm.


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