Icon 1949 Mercury Coupe powered by Tesla charging in Jay Leno’s garage

Icon Founder Jonathan Ward likes to hide modern technology under a layer of patina. He calls his mixes of old and new Derelicts, and recently brought what might be the most extreme car in the series to Jay Leno’s garage.

It may look like a worn 1949 Mercury coupe on the surface, but this ultimate sleeper has a cobbled-together electric powertrain with Tesla Technology. The abandoned mercury broke out in 2018, but this video provides a more detailed look at this creative build.

A pair of electric motors are mounted where the transmission was, retaining the original rear-wheel-drive system. While some classic car electric conversions retain the stock transmission, Ward said Mercury’s factory-installed 3-speed manual transmission was rendered superfluous by the combined 500 lb-ft of torque from the two motors.

In the space freed up by the motor, you’ll find controllers, cooling hardware, and some of Tesla’s battery modules (others are located on the rear axle) laid out like a classic V-8. Ward said he wanted a look that appealed to old-school hot rodders, while optimizing weight distribution. Together, the battery modules add up to 85 kWh of capacity, which Icon said in 2018 is good for a range of 150 to 200 miles.

A tractor-trailer air conditioning compressor-based cooling system manages battery, motor, and controller temperatures, as well as air conditioning. As other abandoned buildingsthe Mercury has a custom chassis with modern suspension and braking components.

The paint is in the same condition as when the Mercury was purchased from a Southern California owner on Craigslist. This generation of Mercury was popular with car customizers, so many survivors were cut and severed in lead sleds. Ward retained the original appearance, as he and the car buyer found it attractive. The only styling changes are a lowered suspension and 18-inch wheels wearing the stock hubcaps.

Icon Derelict 1949 Mercury Coupe in Jay Leno’s Garage

Ward and Icon have found clever ways to maintain the old-school look. The stock fog lights were rebuilt with LED elements, and the charging ports for the CHAdeMO and Tesla Supercharger sockets were hidden behind the front license plate and where the stock fuel tank was, respectively. And although the leather upholstery in the interior is new, it has been aged to match the rest of the car.

Icon has produced several versions of Derelict over the years, including a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL with the heart of a C6 Corvette ZR1, but they were all gasoline. The engineering behind the Mercury’s EV conversion and Ward’s commitment to the Derelict theme sets it apart even among these other builds.

This article was originally published by Driving authorityeditorial partner of

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