1979 Datsun Conversion

Hey, I’m wanting to convert a 1979 Datsun 280ZX for as cheap as possible. I was wondering if it would be possible and feasible to start off with a normal lead acid battery pack, invert that to 240VAC single phase (it’s really hard to come across affordable 3 phase inverters, or at least in my experience, perhaps I could salvage one from a large backup generator) and then input it into a 3 phase variable frequency drive (which will take single phase and convert it into 3 phase) as my motor controller. That means I can use an off the shelf 3 phase industrial motor to power the car. Regen would be possible with a rectifier circuit or I could hack a charge control or something possibly. This is my first conversion and it’s sort of an experimental build.

I also want to note that the transmission has been removed and I plan to attach the motor directly to the rear differential, which would work because it has a gear ratio of about 1:3.5, and the motor is turning at about 1700RPM, so the wheel speed would be at a somewhat decent place.

I am curious about this because I can acquire a controller and motor from someone for about $100-200.

This is the current path I’m thinking of taking but I want to hear other tips and opinions you have about this conversion.


Hi AndyGaryLee

I was wondering what kind of budget you had your conversion project? This is the kind of project which many of our forum members would be interested to follow.