Is this half Tesla/half Honda mashup the future of hot rodding?


In the hunt for a wicked fast car, Jim Belosic cobbled together a mix of OEM parts from three different manufactures. And getting them all to play nice with one another was no easy task. Is this the future of hot rodding?

The textbook definition of a hot rod is any vehicle rebuilt or modified for high speed and fast acceleration. It is tough to argue the 1981 Honda Accord that Jon has built is anything but. Fat drag radial tires jut out from the rear fenders while the front end sits high and proud in what seems to be a 1950s-gasser-inspired stance. Except it’s all-electric. And it’s called a “Teslonda.”

Yes, this Accord lost its hydrocarbon-fueled heart and now creates clouds of tire smoke with nary a sound, thanks to a Telsa drive unit paired with Chevy Volt batteries. Why not use the full Tesla battery pack? Similar to the reason most engine swaps use the GM LS series rather than the Ford Coyote, it came down to power density. Belosic found the Volt battery pack to be much smaller and easier to fit into the small Accord chassis, while not losing any of the amperage that makes this car a land-bound e-missile.

Goofy-looking it might be, but this machine is runs 0–60 in 2.43 seconds and does the quarter mile in 10.5 seconds, according to Belosic. That would put it on par with the McLaren 675LT, a $350,000 supercar. In the most recent trip to the dragstrip, he and the car were kicked out for achieving ETs quicker than he was licensed to run.

It was all assembled at home, and Belosic figured out each challenge as it came, just like the early hot rodders and land-speed racers. It might look like some sort of Mad Max science experiment now, but so did belly tankers with flathead V-8s. Hot rodding is not going anywhere. It’s just going to evolve.

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