Lunaz Design Is in the Business of Electrifying U.K. Icons

Lunaz Design brings British automotive excellence to a new generation of enthusiasts.

Lunaz Design vintage electric vehicle car driving down road

Design electrifies collectable British classics: the Jaguar XK120, Aston Martin DB6, Range Rover Classic, Rolls-Royce Phantom, and Bentleys.

There’s a lot of talk about legacy in the auto world. Every month it seems like a car maker decides to honour its heritage with a special edition model. But try telling the new generation about the time Jaguar won the Coupe d’Or in 1952 or the automaker’s multiple victories at the 24 hours of Le Mans, and you may be met with eye rolls from someone unimpressed with the crude V12 powertrains that produced less power and more emissions than an electric sedan. Even if one laps up the stories of beautiful road cars from 70 years ago, modern emissions standards around the world mean many may never actually experience these vehicles in all their glory. For David Lorenz, founder of Lunaz Design, this future just wouldn’t do.

Lunaz takes classic British cars and reimagines them for the modern day. The exterior stays the same, but beneath the handcrafted (later mass-produced) sheet metal of, say, the Jaguar XK120 is a new electric powertrain that will satisfy concerns about climate change while letting the vehicle be appreciated by a new generation of car enthusiasts. “We want to take these beautiful classics and address the key barriers to everyday ownership,” Lorenz says of his upcycling electric vehicle company. For those unfamiliar with classic cars, he means that these classics will be more practical, reliable, and ultimately, sustainable. The inspiration for Lunaz came from a major change in Lorenz’s life. Having recently become a father, he began thinking about legacy. “My classic cars were breaking down a lot,” he explains. “And I kept thinking, ‘My daughter will never want one of these.’ ”

Classics can be not only a maintenance headache but also difficult to find parts for. “I think everyone in the world can appreciate a classic car, but they can be difficult to love due to their reliability.” Compared to the computers controlling a modern car, the analogue nervous system of a classic can seem incomprehensible, requiring expertise from hard-to-find, or even retired, technicians. And there are also concerns about whether such classics will have to be permanently garaged due to tight emissions standards. “I wanted to extend the legacy of these cars to a new generation.”

Enter Lunaz and the remanufacturing of classic cars, starting with the Jaguar XK120.“I was singular in my thinking,” Lorenz says, explaining his choice of the Jag. “There is no more beautiful car in the world, which is critical in bringing this concept to market.” These days, if you want to stand out in the world of electric resto-modding, you have to nail it from the get-go. The stunning good looks of the XK do a lot of work in drawing attention. And while there are other companies offering a similar service, Lunaz is different in that it electrifies collectable British classics: the Aston Martin DB6, Range Rover Classic, Rolls-Royce Phantom, and Bentleys.

 

 

Vintage Bentley EV Interior

 

Vintage car with doors open Lunaz Design vintage electric vehicle

Lorenz says many cars from the 1940s and ’50s have designs that transcend industrial application. Today, cars need to be much more than eye candy. They need to turn on every time, they need to connect to your smartphone, and they need to be environmentally friendly.

The start of this transformation involves the donor vehicle getting a full inspection. Then the company integrates the electric powertrain, which features 295 horsepower and a 76-kilowatt-hour battery. This setup enables the XK120 to go from 0–100 in about five seconds (two seconds faster than the original) and should offer around 300 kilometres of range. It might not sound like much, but it’s way better than the original emissions-spewing powertrain frowned upon today.

It might sound ambitious for a relatively unknown company to tackle such an extensive job, but Lunaz has a dedicated team of 70 engineers working on each car. “It’s a full reengineering process,” Lorenz says. The brakes are updated to return energy to the battery pack, and the suspension is improved, while the steering becomes more fluid. All this helps make the 75-year-old car feel much more responsive on the road.

This extensive project isn’t all new for the coachbuilder, which previously developed both show and concept cars for several automakers. Jon Hilton, chief technologist at Lunaz, has spent plenty of time at some of the most impressive firms in the automotive industry. He designed engines for Rolls-Royce, worked as chief engineer at Cosworth’s F1 program, and was the technical director of the engine division at Renault F1 when Fernando Alonso won back-to-back world titles in 2005 and 2006.

 

Bentley EV side view

 

The Lunaz process extends beyond the electric powertrain, as the company works with its customers to redesign and restore the interior to a new, green standard. “We customize to the customers’ needs, often without the use of animal products,” Lorenz explains. “For example, we’ll use reclaimed fishing nets for the carpets.”

Each car features a modern infotainment system that supports smartphone projection technology like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The cabin still looks the part of a true classic as the screen discreetly tucks up and folds away. “As far as anyone is concerned, it’s a beautiful XK120,” Lorenz says. “Yet it’s also a car that meets 21st-century requirements.” There are more creature comforts, including heated seats, USB-C ports, and an upgraded sound system.

While the production may be limited, the ambition of extending Britain’s automotive legacy is endless. “We’re proud to be a British automaker and are proud of the achievements of this country’s automotive history,” Lorenz says. Lunaz can now share that pride with a new generation.

 

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