Legacy EV’s 1930 Ford Model A
Honor the Past, Protect the Future” is Legacy EV’s short-yet-sweet mission statement. While simple enough to say, these six words explain a lot about the explosion of the modern electric vehicle revolution.
The whole EV thing isn’t exactly a “new” thing, as various iterations of electrified carriages began popping up in the late 19th century and began to steadily evolve into early the 20th century. Of course, that past does deserve much respect as it helped lay the groundwork for the breakthroughs made today. To be more specific, however, Legacy EV is placing its focus on transforming old gasoline-powered vehicles into fully electric cars and trucks. It is this transformation that directly extends the road time of these classics, but more importantly, sparks the interest and involvement of the next generation of car builders and enthusiasts.
While Legacy EV offers electric conversion components and full-on conversion solutions, the company’s much larger agenda is geared toward education—and the team is leading the charge by physical example. Legacy, based in Tempe, Arizona, isn’t known to take on too many in-house builds. Instead, it typically supports other shops by providing the required parts needed for their projects. When the right opportunity with the right car and components come together, however, it will put a plan into motion to breathe life into what has only existed in daydreams.
92 Years in the Making
The vehicle that Legacy EV selected recently to convert is an interesting one (for many reasons)—a 1930 Ford Model A sedan. Now, selecting this particular car, which has been at the center of hot-rodding since its beginning, is intriguing in itself. The electric “trend”hasn’t been so well-received by some circles in the automotive world, so hand-picking a car that sits at the nucleus of traditional hot-rod culture is a bold move to make.
Adding to that, customized Model As are often seen on display without the hood section to better showcase the builder’s souped-up engine of choice. Would creating a void frunk space out of such an iconic piece of vehicular real estate be the most ultimate party foul? These are the types of situations that can make for a somewhat controversial car build.
Legacy EV sure had a lot riding on the outcome of its Model A, which has been affectionately dubbed “Project E.” Sure, creating a head-turning electrified hot rod out of the old Ford was a significant part of the game plan, but a lot more was at stake with this build. The car was also put in the position to serve as Legacy EV’s premier test vehicle that could assist in developing and validating new parts that come to market. No sense in fabricating an ugly R&D workhorse for the job, right? The components that work best within Legacy’s rigorous product standards will then be integrated into many of its EV builder kits. In the end, the car will allow Legacy to provide the customer with exciting, reliable and proven products while teaching others how certain things work or subversively don’t work.
To help solidify the authenticity of the Model A’s hot-rod appeal, Legacy took a build created by Jason Graham Hot Rods of Portland, Oregon, and repowered it. Back then, he didn’t know what the Legacy guys had in store. Jason built the car around a Chevy big-block before reworking the car’s exterior with a 7-inch roof chop, all the necessary bodywork, and the final painted finish and logo placement when the time was right. While Jason was at it, he also stitched up the absolutely killer leather interior as well. With a long-running history of building many old Ford cars, securing a fabricator of Jason Graham’s caliber was a major tipping point in the right direction for the project.
Converting a car that sits at the nucleus of traditional hot-rod culture is a bold move.
Teaming up with Cascadia Motion motors, AEM EV Controls, and Kore Power VDA modules, the Legacy EV crew began to figure out how to move forward with piecing the electric drivetrain together. Legacy EV offered Kore Power predesigned bus bars as well as thermal plates. The modules are encased in an aluminum housing with mounting holes on all four corners, making them easy to affix to the chill plates and secure to the battery box. These particular VDA modules are made up of 12 NMC cells run in a 4-parallel and 3-series configuration, but they can be custom ordered.
The first portion of the design and initial mockup was to address the aforementioned concern about what to do with the Model A’s engine bay. Luckily, the guys had planned to mount the electric motor in the same location as the original gas engine, which presented its own set of issues, both good and bad. To maintain some sort of familiarity, the power source would remain right where it should be, which should help smooth things over for the particular purists in the crowd. The nature of the car’s wide-open engine location also meant that the install work of the new electric drivetrain had to be impeccable in order to match the clean aesthetic of the rest of the car.
The AEM and Cascadia management systems developed for the Project E led to turnkey solution for future builders.
To achieve this level of cleanliness, acute attention to cable and coolant management was key. Every detail of the motor install was intentional, and every component was diligently mounted with care. Even the raked angle of the inverter was done so to mimic the slant of a “blower”—a brilliant touch of class. Under the inverter sits the mighty Cascadia SS-250 motor. This second-generation SS generator sports an integral sump, mechanical oil pump and heat exchanger. Not only this makes it a perfect unit for a hot rod, being open to the element, but it also means installation and servicing is reduced to an absolute minimum. In this application, it is tuned to 302hp/225kW and 368lb-ft/500Nm. Now, when you take into account the motor is mated to a Torque Trends 3:1 gear reduction box, the torque figure goes all the way up to, 1106lb-ft/1500Nm at the drive shaft!
Slid In (Just)
Another challenge the crew faced was feeding the power modules assembly, totaling at a girthy 84.6kWh, inside of the car. They had to be fitted through the open top. While the programming of the new parts did require additional effort, it was a good excuse for Legacy EV’s to dive into the first R&D session with the car. The hours spent developing the clone for the AEM and Cascade systems weren’t done just for this single vehicle. Instead, they documented a repeatable process so future builders wouldn’t have to do all the legwork. All kits purchased through Legacy come with all the wiring diagrams, clone files, installation guides, and more to save the end user a lot of time and headaches.
Project E will continue to lead the EV industry as the R&D vehicle with the newest and baddest tech available.
When the Model A was put back together, it looked like what you’d expect to find at a traditional hot-rod show, because it is a traditional hot rod at its very core. What’s underneath the hood doesn’t disqualify it of being anything less.
Project E’s Future
Next year will be a busy one, as Project E will tour the whole USA during Legacy’s 2023 Educational Roadshow. This mad hot rod is more than just a one-off conversion. It is a test bed for all the best new EV systems. Legacy EV is working with its manufacturing partners to validate how these new systems integrate to ensure customers get industry-leading complete-EV-conversion solutions that have been tested and validated on the road.
This hot rod will continue to garner the attention of builders, manufacturers, and media outlets alike not only because of its impeccable interior and menacing slammed stance, but because of its cutting-edge technology that will continue to be updated and validated for years to come. Who knows, this head-turning hot rod may even be sporting hub motors up someday, leaving many wondering how the ghostly powerplant allows this gem to do burnouts! We can’t wait!
1930 Ford Model A Sedan
Shop: Legacy EV
Motor: 2022 Cascadia Motion SS-250 Motor
Torque: 500Nm/368lb-ft (1500Nm/1106lb-ft via the gear reduction box)
Control Software: AEM EV
Inverter: Cascadia Motion CM200-DZ
Battery: KORE Power modules – 212Ah – 84.6kWh
Max Voltage: 469.8V
Shop: Legacy EV R&D department
Custom frame built by Jason Graham
Air Lift air suspension components
Gloss black 16 and 20 steel rims with Ford chrome hubcaps
4.50/4.75-16 (2.25 inches whitewall) Front and 6.50-20’’ (3.3/4 whitewall)
Rear Coker Classics Firestone Deluxe Champion whitewall tires
Shop: Paint and bodywork by Jason Graham
Shop: Custom leather by Jason Graham
Classic Instruments gauges