Australian Built Electric Rally Car Enters the Classic Outback Trial

In somewhat of a coup for the seven day Classic Outback Trial, starting on Sunday 27 March in Parkes, a competitor in the Regularity Rally will be driving a 1963 British sports car fitted with 2019 Tesla S electric running gear!

The car itself is a Sunbeam Alpine Series 3, the car which is probably best known as James Bond’s car in the 1962 movie, “Dr No”.

Michael Wilkinson of Victoria is the car’s owner and the brains behind the unique concept.

An engineer who has worked in consulting, building and medical diagnostics manufacturing and engineering, Michael is no stranger to motor sport and car rallies in particular. He has completed in a number of Endurance rallies such as The Peking to Paris, The Classic African Safari, The Nile Trial, and the Himalayan Challenge.

The Classic Outback Trial is his first foray into dusty and gravel roads of a regularity rally with an electric rally car.

But why electric?

Michael reckons the reason for converting the Alpine to an “eAlpine” was to learn about the process and costs and understand if this is a viable process.

“Some of the upside of converting classic cars to EV’s include extending the life of and preserve classic cars; utilize the embedded energy in the classic cars and making classic cars attractive to a new generation of drivers who do not have the skills to drive and maintain a traditional classic car.”

“I bought the car to convert it to an EV. The car had previously been based in Bonnie Doon. The Tesla batteries and other internals are from a wrecked Tesla S.”

The Classic Outback Trial Chief Scrutineer, Graeme Palmer has examined the eAlpine and given it a big tick of approval.

We can’t wait to see the eAlpine in the flesh as it will surely be a pointer to the future for repurposed sports cars.

Stay tuned for a more in depth look at this exciting rally machine as we follow its progress in the Classic Outback Trial.

The Classic Outback Trial is a gravel daylight Special Stage and Regularity rally for Historic, Classic and Modern rally cars, held in Central Western Region of New South Wales over 7 days.

Starting in Parkes on Sunday 27 March, it will move to Orange on Tuesday 29 March before finishing in Bathurst on Saturday 2 April.

More information on the Classic Outback Trial contact Phil Bernadou, Event Director

Banner: A Sunbeam Alpine Series III, 2018 pic from Tobay Beach Classic Car Show, New York. Pic by Kevauto from Wikipedia

Postscript, discovered when researching the Sunbeam Alpine:

James Bond’s car in Dr No

The Sunbeam Alpine that features in the movie was actually hired by the production company from a local woman who was paid fifteen shillings per day. Although some scenes were shot on location, many of the close-up shots of Bond driving the Sunbeam were shot in the studio.


Max Smart’s car

Max drove two cars throughout the five year run of the series. The car Max drove in the first four years of the series was a red 1965 Sunbeam Tiger. Without a doubt, it is the car most associated with Max and can be considered “his car.”