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Old 11-28-2018, 06:00 PM   #1
TheEvolvProject
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Default The Evolv Project: Turning a 1962 P1800 into an electric supercar

Hey guys,
I've lurked for years as I started working on this project, learning a lot from everyone, and I've finally made enough progress on my own build that I'm now confident that it will be completed within the next year and wanted to share it with you. I've got a lot to show you including my own lessons learned. As with any project, we made some mistakes along the way that would intermittently set us back, but I'm very happy with the current results and look forward to continuing to work on this car. I'm going to share a lot more detail here than I have on my website, but if you simply want to jump to the current status of the build you can find it at www.evolvproject.com. If you do like the concept please like me @EvolvProject and follow me at #evolvproject on Twitter. I hope you enjoy it. -Mark

The Evolv Project:
I have been a Volvo enthusiast since I was a kid, when I grew up ridding around in my mom's 240D in the 70s. The first Volvo my wife and I owned was a 760 Bertone, a fantastic coupe, and we currently enjoy our 2013 XC60 with Polestar upgrade very much. I first got interested in this project when I was looking for something to hotrod back in 2012. I wanted it to be unique and fast. Like some of the builder's on this forum I was initially interested in potentially building a V8 converted 1800 with some Bo Zolland inspired body mods, but I had a strong interest in electric vehicles, even having toyed with a few moped conversions of my own, and my wife encouraged me to consider electric conversion of the 1800. About the same time in 2013, Volvo came out with the hybrid Concept Coupe but no info on how long before they would actually build it. Back then Polestar was still just their racing division, but I was then hooked on the idea of trying full electric myself with the 1800, and it pretty much spiraled out of control from there.

I didn't want to go the electric route unless I was confident that I could achieve aggressive performance goals that would be better than the V8 conversion but also reliable. I was going this route for performance not environmental protection. I wanted a Tesla roadster not a Prius. So I spent a lot of time researching what was currently possible (as of 2013) and spoke with a number groups converting cars and participating in electric drag racing. What I learned was that it was theoretically possible to build what I wanted, but it wouldn't be cheap. If I was going to go this route I had to be committed and it would only be worth it if it was a special car.

The Evolv Project started with my desire to ask the question, “What would the P1800 have evolved into had Volvo continued to refine its design and performance?” I imagined what it might look like if Volvo had commissioned period car customizers such as Ugo Zagato to subtly modify the design. I then updated the car to the most modern electric drive train available, in a manner similar to how Volvo itself is doing with the newly spun out Polestar division’s Polestar One, and even Jaguar now offers with electric versions of classic E-types.

My donor car was a sad 1962 P1800 I bought for $1100 that was rusting away in a barn near Sandpoint, ID (its not in BFE, but it is close by).

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AnnQlmd4GLLEvSLEEjhVHhgzF3Cy


Currently the car looks like this and is in the process of having the high-voltage drive train installed. Over the next several threads I will try describe how we got from here to there.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AnnQlmd4GLLEvTtWbsXla3SX3xWv

Last edited by TheEvolvProject; 12-02-2018 at 12:27 AM.. Reason: fixing picture links
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Old 11-29-2018, 02:52 AM   #2
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Looking forward to seeing this play out.
Love to see my boys Amazon electric powered!
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEvolvProject View Post
Currently the car looks like this...
Hmm.....for some reason your image links won't produce a picture on my screen. I cut/pasted them into the browser, but that doesn't work either.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.H. Yount View Post
Hmm.....for some reason your image links won't produce a picture on my screen. I cut/pasted them into the browser, but that doesn't work either.
Forget the photo links - the website has everything. This is truly spectacular. I'm glued to this project to see how it turns out.
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:27 PM   #5
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Sorry guys. I'm still working on getting the link sharing to work properly. Let's see if these work.

Before:


After:


Last edited by TheEvolvProject; 12-02-2018 at 12:42 AM.. Reason: formatting
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:29 PM   #6
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Bravo, sir! Awesome project. And yes, skip the pics, and head to the website. Impressive.
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:39 PM   #7
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Interested to see what you think about the transmission. Genovation had me a little stumped as to the reason why they are running one at all other than the Corvette trans being integrated into the rear suspension.
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:41 PM   #8
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Default What have I gotten myself into....

Ok, looks like I figured out how to paste viable links to additional pictures from my OneDrive cloud. Here is a better resolution picture of the starting car the original owner sent me, when it still had the '62 bumpers on it.



The previous owner then sold these bumpers off the car before I arrived to buy it. Although I was a little bummed out by this, I made him drop the price further which was why it only cost me $1100.

Once we got the car by to my father-in-law's shop in Lewiston and started stripping it, then we found out just how abused the body had been. First lesson learned, always bring a magnet with you when shopping for a donor so you can tell how much bondo is on the car hiding previous damage. The front fenders looked like a bad case of acne and there was a dent in the passenger door almost an inch deep that I had to dig out.




We gave up on the front fenders and just bought a new set from VP Autoparts. Shout out to Mattias, he runs a great business there.




There were also typical rot behind the fenders that we had to take care of which on a unibody meant fixing several layers.






However, the biggest challenge with putting the car back to original spec was the back end. At some point the rear passenger quarter was damaged and rather than repair correctly, they narrowed the rear an inch and welded it back together. We ended up needing to cut the back end apart in the middle, stretch it and then patch everything back up after removing additional rot damage.





After much hard work and colorful language we were able to bring the car back from the brink, and now the fun of modifying the body could begin.

Last edited by TheEvolvProject; 12-02-2018 at 02:00 AM..
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:04 PM   #9
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CWDodson88,
As to the use of a transmission with an electric drive train, for me it came down to optionality and not wanting to be limited to either low end torque or top speed, and not knowing going into the project what the ideal final ratio would be for a single gear with this motor. For an electric vehicle with an AC motor, voltage of the battery pack controls how high of an RPM you can carry the full torque out to before it drops off and therefore controls your top end speed for a given winding of motor and gear ratio. With my motor, if I used an 800V battery pack (like Porsche and Audi will be using), then I could keep full torque out to 8-9000 rpm and I'm confident I wouldn't need more than one gear. However, currently it is very difficult to build a reliable 800V battery pack from salvaged parts without huge weight since all OEMs use 400V systems. My compromise was to include the transmission for now, figure out what final gear ratio works best for this motor and vehicle weight and perhaps switch later to a single gear with a polarity driven reverse once I'm able to raise the pack voltage up without weight penalty (preferably with solid state batteries). I'm sure this is the same issue Gennovation faced as they wanted fast 0-60 AND a very high top end speed.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:28 PM   #10
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i understand the voltage issues and your reasoning is sound for trying out gearing. My only issue is that with how quiet those motors are, all other noises are going to be heard loudly. Shifting might scare you the first few times you try it while moving.

Edit: on another note, when it’s all up and running you should bring it by. I love seeing where they end up, but I don’t usually get to see the cars in person. And I’m sure the boys at Rhinehart would love to see it as well.

Last edited by cwdodson88; 11-29-2018 at 10:19 PM.. Reason: Clarity...
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:12 PM   #11
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Gosh stop making us click on links..... drooling btw

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Old 11-30-2018, 07:30 PM   #12
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CWDodson88,
Understood and thanks. I'd love to bring it by and certainly plan to hit most of the car shows in Idaho, Oregon and Washington State. AM Racing is in Oregon too. I'll have to make the rounds when I bring it to Portland. I'm hoping all the RestomodAir Membrane I'm putting down will help with the noise, but I hear ya ;). (bad puns are allowed on this forum, right?).

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Old 11-30-2018, 08:42 PM   #13
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This thing is bonkers in all the right ways!
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Old 12-01-2018, 01:45 AM   #14
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Awesome work, where in Idaho are you? I live in Spokane, if you aren’t too far I’d love to see this thing in person sometime. I’ll be following this one!
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:30 AM   #15
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Thanks Derek. It would be a bit of a hike as I'm near Boise, but I do plan on taking it to the Coeur d'Alene car show next fall.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:37 AM   #16
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Default Body Mods Part-1: Frenching the head-lights

Thank the car gods, I finally figured out how to embed the pictures from one drive into this forum, so no more link outs. It also lets me reformat the picture size to fit and load better, so onto the modifications.

First up, Frenching the lights. I never really liked the headlight treatment that Bo Zolland worked into his design. I guess I'm more old-school in my tastes and prefer Frenching so that's what we did in this build. The headlights I got off of an E-bay vendor and were meant for a 2012 Jeep Wrangler. They use the same Daymaker LED lamps that are in the newer Harley Davidson motorcycles but with dual color Halos that integrate amber LED turn signals with white LED running lights.






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Old 12-02-2018, 01:45 AM   #17
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Default Body Mods Part 2: Raking the nose and fog lights

The original chrome nose trim was pretty beat-up and I preferred the look of the late ‘50s Ferraris and Mercedes which extended the nose and used thin trim to the look of the chrome “lips” on the 1800. I also wanted to enlarge the opening for better airflow to the radiators. So, we extended the nose about an inch past where the original trim would have ended with much less of a taper, giving the front of the car a different profile.





Since we no longer needed the original front turn signals I found a set of similarly sized fog lights with white halo running lights to match the headlights and we Frenched in "bazooka tubes" to fit them where the turn signals used to be.



Our current design of the grill gives a nod back to the original P958-X1 by incorporating a prominent V in the center. It and the surround were hand formed from aluminum and polished.


Last edited by TheEvolvProject; 12-02-2018 at 01:58 AM..
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:46 AM   #18
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Default Body Mods Part 3: Shaving the fins, frenching the tail lights and license plate

Last update for tonight. Next, keeping the outside body line, new tail-light housings were fashioned and elongated to accommodate sets of 3 LED brake/turn combos and frenched in. In addition, the original gas fill located on the top of the left quarterpanel was removed and a recessed license plate holder was installed. The new charge port was placed in the middle of the license plate mount and will be hidden behind the plate and accessed with a hinged plate holder.





Incidentally, this style of the tail lights and license plate treatment was actually considered in the original prototype prior to the cheap plastic bulbous units and chrome light bar that went into production. There is an excellent book on the P1800 by David Styles, and if you look on page 64 you will see this picture of the back of one of the early prototypes.



The lights I'm using are LED Dog-eye Pucks from Radianz and would actually fit in the stock locations if I only used 2, but since I was Frenching them in anyway, I decided to use 3 to mimic one of the more common modifications of C3 corvettes.

Then the rear fins were shaved to more closely match the body lines. This was a mod I loved in Bo Zolland's design and greatly improves the rear stance of the car.


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Old 12-02-2018, 04:21 PM   #19
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Default Chassis Integration

To enable the performance potential of the design I worked with Art Morrison to have them build a custom MaxG chassis for the 1800 incorporating their compact independent rear suspension, hydraulic power rack and pinion steering from Flamming River, and 14” Wilwood “big brakes” disc brakes with 6 piston calipers at all four corners. The chassis was designed around using 245/40R18 tires on 9” rims up front and 275/40R18 tires on 10” rims in the back while lowering the ride height to 4.5” in front and 5.5” in back (both adjustable). Versions of this chassis placed under a C1 corvette body have proven to provide 1g grip on a skid pad. Strange Engineering supplies the locking Dana60 rear differential for AM in my chassis, and it should be more than sufficient to handle the high torque that the electric drive train will be producing. There are also a large number of gear ratios available for this rear end should further evolutions of the car require it. I am starting out using a 4.11 ratio.



Since the P1800 was a unibody, this entailed cross bracing the body and then completely removing the entire floor of the car and all existing frame rails. We also took out the original firewall. Then the body shell was attached to the prepped chassis, welded back together and new floors were fabricated and installed. It was a long process but resulted in an extremely strong and stiff car.



For new shoes I had ET Wheels build a custom set of LT-IIIs for me and shod them with Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. They are built to resemble period Panasport 8 spoke magnesium race wheels popular in the late 60s and early 70s, and ET can make them in custom sizes and offsets which was necessary to get an 18” wheel big enough to fit over the giant 14” Willwood “Big Brakes” I ordered on the chassis. [Fun fact: this is the same style of wheel used on the 1800S in the BBC classic series, The Saint, staring Roger Moore, before he became James Bond (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwCjOakOMKE). The new stance of the car was pretty slammed, but of course you can't turn the new wheels, because it is too tight. I new this was going to happen and planned for flaring the fenders to accommodate.




An awful lot of work later and we had a new floor and firewall. Also visible in the first picture are the Lokar pedals, Flamming River tilt column and Billet Industries steering wheel, as well as, the panel we fabricated into the transmission tunnel to access the Mastershift adapter that electronically controls the 5 speed TKO600 transmission.


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Old 12-03-2018, 01:12 AM   #20
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I love the big yet subtle change.
Having toured Art Morrison ENT.
Art and his crew are a class act.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:48 AM   #21
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What a great project! I have been eyeing the LT-III wheels for a while now for an amazon project and think they look very clean and fitting for these cars even with a bigger rim diameter. I can't wait to see the progress on this.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:07 PM   #22
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Thanks NonHog and BoostRadley. I toured the AM facility as well while they were building my frame, it is definitely an impressive facility.

My only caution on working with ET wheels is that they don't protect the edges of the wheels in shipping well enough to survive UPS automated handlers. I had two wheels damaged initially and had to file a claim and send them back. The packaging had some small punchers and dents, but didn't appear to have been dropped. ET wheels stood by me and replaced them, but admitted that it happens too frequently (yet they don't change their packing process, go figure). So if you do get a set, upon arrival, be sure to note ANY dents/tears/punchers in the boxes, unpackage them immediately upon arrival and inspect all rim edges and report any damage immediately, just to cover yourself. I do love the way they look though.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:03 AM   #23
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Default Mody Mods Part 4: An attempt at improving aerodynamics

These next two mods were for both aesthetics and a real attempt to improve performance through better aero. First since my P1800 is not an ES sportbrake, air coming off the top of the cab will create turbulence behind the rear glass creating drag unless you add a decent rear spoiler. NASCAR figured this out many years ago, and slapping on a simple perpendicular piece of lexan to the trailing edge of the back of your car can do wonders for smoothing the air. Of course it has the visual equivalence of dog crap on a baby blanket, but no one ever confused NASCAR of building pretty cars, just fast ones. So what to do. Most modern sport and supercars today use retractable spoilers (including on the Polestar One) if not full-blown retractable wings (think McClaren or the new Ford GT). In true hotrodder fashion I toured online salvage yards looking for something of suitable size that I could adapt. EFI68 on this forum clued me into the diminutive Chrysler Crossfire. Fortuitously, the convertible version has a trunklid with an integrated retractable spoiler (look it up on you-tube) that is pretty trick. More importantly the curvature of that section of the trunk lid is nearly dead-on for the back of the P1800 trunk lid, so it took only a little massaging to simply patch it in, and it looks dope. Now until I have the car completed and can laser scan it with the spoiler up and down I won't be able to run simulations to find out if I made a significant improvement with this mod, but I can make some distance versus amp load measurements at highway speeds with the spoiler up and down and compare efficiency as a surrogate once the car is running again and will post those when available. The added bonus of using the Crossfire spoiler is that it retains the LED third brake light that runs underneath the entire length of the spoiler. I connected it to a race-brake indicator in my harness that will flash it 3 times before going solid when you press the brake pedal, and will hopefully keep tailgaters off my six.





The second aero mod, was to install a functioning rear diffuser. If you don't know, a true diffuser increases the volume of air under the rear of the car relative to the front. When you drive at speed this has the effect of making the air traveling under the car move faster than the air traveling over the car, creating a vacuum that sucks the car to the road, effectively adding downforce and making the care more stable and have more grip. Most cars today have cheap decorative pieces of plastic at the bottom of the rear of the vehicle to mimic the look of a diffuser, but don't actually do anything. Mine is designed to have a 7 degree rise into the rear body from the bottom of the rear differential. It is made from aluminum and removable, so if I don't like how the first version performs I can change it. When I get the car back from high-voltage integration, I will also be installing panels across the frame rails beneath the car to flatten and smooth the bottom of the car. This will make the diffuser more efficient. You can see the same principles applied to the bottom of any modern Ferrari just look up a picture of one on a lift.



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Old 12-04-2018, 02:07 PM   #24
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Wow what a project! Keep it up!
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:49 PM   #25
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Default Body Mods 5: Interior

To update the interior design, I wanted to incorporate a waterfall dash somewhat similar to what I have in my XC60 while retaining the 2 large + 3 small gauge layout. I'm working with Dakota Digital on a custom set of HDX gauges that can accommodate the CAN signals coming from the electric drive drain components and have build in LCD screens in the larger gauges that can display extra information that is unique to this system. Since the new gauges with bezels are slightly larger than the original gauge cluster, and the original dash was a little worse for wear, we decided to just rebuild a whole new dash, which was then painted with the Ford Magnetic metallic paint and a gloss clear coat.




In the picture above you can also see the MasterShift adapter that converts the manual shifter on my Tremec TKO600 to cable operation which in turn are controlled by electric solenoids and the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. The rectangular cut-out is for the double dim 7” touchscreen stereo receiver with Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple Car play. It will also serve as the display screen for navigation and dual-view (front and back) cameras. Below is the layout for the new gauges. I had considered going full digital display, but I still prefer the look and operation of an analogue needle gauge for speedometer. Although a traditional tach is not formally necessary, the shift point with a 400V battery pack and my motor will be very similar to a traditional American V8, so I thought it would be interesting to observe.



Next up was building racks to hold all the battery modules from the Tesla P90D battery pack I bought salvage from a 2016 car. I first made wooden mockups of the battery modules. Each module is ~27”X11.75”X3” and weighs 55 lbs. I used 2X4s and 0.75” MDF to make the boxes and filled them with playground sand, in order to match the size and increase the weight (although they are not nearly 55 lbs).



To keep the weight of the pack as low in the car as possible and improve traction and handling, the majority of the battery modules will be mounted where the rear seats used to be. First we fabricated a set of racks to support the battery modules between the rear wheel wells and they were test fit. A secondary rack was also made to fit low and behind the rear differential and recessed below the trunk floor. This will allow us to place 11 modules in the rear seat area, 3 modules behind the differential and the remaining 2 modules will be placed in the engine bay to balance the weight front to back.

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