This 1978 Ford F-100 “Eluminator” pickup truck is both the oldest and the newest car I’ve ever driven. That’s because, despite its ancient façade, everything inside is newer than a year, from the powertrain to the dash. Oh, and it’s entirely powered by electricity.

It turns out I’m driving a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition, but you wouldn’t know it from the outside, thanks to its beautifully restored 44-year-old truck shell. With fresh gray and copper highlights, an F-100 Custom logo, and snappy throwback wheels, it’s a stunning restomod.

The F-100 Eluminator was designed and commissioned by Ford Performance, the automaker’s motorsports division, and was built by MLe Racecars in Washington. This F-100, like many of Ford Performance’s other one-off projects, will not be available for purchase. It exists solely as a show car to demonstrate what could be built using Ford’s $4,095 electric crate motor, which makes converting any old gas-guzzler into an electric car easier.

This is great news for enthusiasts who want to restore classic cars without emitting the carbon emissions they would otherwise emit, as well as small businesses that specialize in these types of custom jobs. Zelectric Motors created an electric Porsche using donor Tesla motors, and luxury converters such as Everrati have their motors custom-made. However, the availability of electric crate motors from large automakers such as Ford is a hopeful sign of support for smaller shops and tinkerers who want to modify their own vehicles.

Our own Becca Farsace made a whole video about how this is also a big statement for the right to repair movement. She talked to Chris Salvo, CEO of Electrified Garage and Kyle Wiens of iFixit on the matter. Check it out!

Many companies, such as Tesla, have historically made it difficult for small shops and skilled owners to repair their own electric vehicles by restricting software and making parts difficult to obtain. But that hasn’t stopped YouTube tinkerers like Rich Rebuilds from repairing the cars themselves. Simone Giertz, another YouTuber, converted her Model 3 into a truck despite the company’s history of prohibiting cars from supercharging.

Ford’s approach appears to be friendlier to the repair crowd, as the crate motor being sold is the same as the one already in the Mach-E. “It’s been really fun to see who’s excited and wants something like this,” said Autumn Schwalbe, marketing specialist at Ford Performance.

Ford’s e-crate motors quickly sold out, but they’re back in production and readily available to purchase. Ford could sweeten the deal by offering more parts that would make building a custom EV easier, such as batteries and a complete drivetrain. “We’re working on some additional parts to go along with the motor, but nothing has been revealed yet,” Schwalbe said.

It was not easy to combine the F-100 and the Mach-E. Tuning the truck for performance and adjusting the suspension to favor paved roads were both involved. The F-100 Eluminator has two motors, producing 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft of torque, and the truck bed has been freshly coated for hauling. However, there is no tow package installed because this electric pickup truck isn’t about labor life – Ford has that covered with its actual workhorse F-150 Lightning electric trucks.

The Verge

You get the 10.2-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay, digital dashboard, gear shift dial, wireless phone charger, and modern seating from the Mach-E. You won’t forget you’re inside a vintage truck, though, because it has the original flappy-door glove compartment and you’ll have to crank the windows open and shut.

It stinks that you can’t buy the F-100 Eluminator, just as you can’t buy Hyundai’s gangster Heritage Series Grandeur EV, which is based on an 80s design. But, at the very least, Ford let us drive this one. We were astounded by how fast it moves. Passers-by were taken aback by the truck’s commanding presence as we sped around town. People started asking about its age and price, and that’s when we told them, “It’s also fully electric.”

The following questions were all too familiar to me: “So there’s no gas at all?” “How much time does it take to charge?” “How far does it extend?” It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter that this is a one-of-a-kind vintage restomod truck; what matters is what’s on the inside. It is an electric vehicle, and people are still learning about them.

More of these projects are needed. We must maximize the useful life of every vehicle produced. Whether they’re electric or not, the entire process of producing new cars, from material mining to manufacturing, emits a lot of pollution. According to research, the entire lifespan of a new EV is still cleaner for the environment than that of a combustion engine vehicle – even if the EV is charged solely on a dirty grid.

Better public transportation is the solution to clean travel, but the next best thing is electrification of cars, and the best way to do that is to reuse old ones and turn them into EV restomods. Andrew Hawkins, our transportation editor, recently wrote about how manufacturers need to shut up and ship EVs, and it appears that 2022 will be the year to do so. And even if automakers don’t ship the cars, they can ship more of these parts. Then we can go build our own EVs and hope they don’t stop us.