Friday, April 19, 2019

Actually Custom: 1958 Triumph TR-10 Electric Conversion

I think, as car "journalists" we tend to think we've seen it all.  Or at least, I do.  And whenever I become jaded with all of the mundane junk (that passes for custom) for sale on craigslist (Chevy V8 powered RX-7s, dime-a-dozen, Bio-diesel Mercs been-there-done-that, etc) I go off in search for the oddballs, the unique stuff that only one guy ever thought "hey, this is a good idea". Like an electric Triumph Standard 10 here on eBay bidding for $704 with 5 days to go, located in Simi Valley, CA.

 From the seller:

I’m the fourth owner of this car and have taken care of it for over 15 years. In 2008 I decided to convert it to electric as a way to beat rising gas prices. We drove it around until late 2012 when the batteries started to get tired. At that point all batteries were recycled and the car was put in storage.
A few things worthy of note, BATTERIES ARE NOT INCLUDED! Five batteries are needed to make it run and four more can be installed in the trunk area to increase the range. Each battery bank has its own relay, control circuit, and charging system. The left front brake cylinder leaked which swelled the shoes and the drum was removed in order to move the car, so it has NO BRAKES and will need some work in that area. The sound system (shown in some pictures) has been removed and is not included. Otherwise this 60+ year old car is in pretty good shape.

In electric form it was featured in Triumph World Magazine (UK) June/July 2011 issue and was also well received as a technical project presentation to my R&D group at a large electronics corporation, from which I am now retired.

Fairly extensive literature and documentation (schematics, parts list, shop manuals, etc.) are included in the sale along with software, interconnect cable for the programmable controller, plus any spare parts I might have lying around. There are also many pictures of the conversion process and other misc stuff.

Basic technical details can be found at evalbum(dot)com/2361 which has links to short videos of it running and being built. My hope is to find it a worthy home with a technically competent individual(s) who can bring it back to life in any form they may choose. I was thinking of installing a mid sized motorcycle engine but I already have to many projects. This is a no smog vehicle due to its age and has always been registered as original. Presently it on non-op.

Item specifics
Condition: Used
Seller Notes: “This is a clean low tech vintage California car in good overall condition looking for a new DIY owner. Please note that it will require a certain level of electrical and mechanical expertise to return it to a state of safe operation. Before asking obvious questions kindly read the technical details in the Item Description link or run the risk of being ignored. Bidders with low or negative feedback scores, resellers, or other flakes will be closely scrutinized and promptly deleted. Good luck!”
Year: 1958 VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): DE105315E
Mileage: 1000000 Make: Triumph
Vehicle Title: Clear Model:
For Sale By: Private Seller

See a stranger way to drive around?


  1. Very nice work, far superior to most EV conversions. But what a shame that a classic Triumph that seemingly was in good condition has been lost, while hoards of orphaned and abandoned Geo Metros wait in junk yards, dreaming of their forever homes.

  2. Bobinott, I get that you grieve a once-great classic bastardized by an electric conversion.

    With the price of batteries going down drastically each year, I think EV conversions are going to be the "next big thing" for classics for owners who would rather drive than tinker with the engines/running gear.

    They can always keep the engine (pristine! no additional miles on it!) for the collector who wants to reassemble the whole shebang into a concours vehicle.

    But for the guys and gals who just want to ROAD it, I think EV conversions are the wave of the future.

    Or heck. They're here now. Quiet. Reliable. And relatively cheap, when you compare it to spending months trying to track down OEM parts to make your hysteric classic roadable.

    -Stan (...yeah...*that* Stan...)

    1. Hi Stan. I don't disagree with anything you said. It is just that an EV conversion turns a vintage car into something fundamentally different. Frankly, I feel much the same way about many restomods. If you want a modern car, just buy one. I think most people who drive vintage cars do so because they are reliving the technology of that moment. Vintage cars remind us of where we were as a technological society at that time, and of solutions to problems that we may have forgotten. I honestly do feel that a Geo Metro would make a better EV than a Triumph Standard 10, and when it needs some non-EV parts, they will be a lot easier to find. Peace to all who drive for the love of driving (no matter what they are driving).


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