The Enfield Thunderbolt

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
012013113020140331

Peter Curran has bought the 40 year old remains of a piece of motoring history. The Enfield 8000 was a prototype electric car built in the early 1970s at the height of the energy crisis, when the British Government feared that the country would grind to a halt at the hands of the oil producing nations of the world.

The car was the result of a secret deal brokered between a Greek shipping billionaire and the Electricity Boards, and was aimed at creating a revolution in the way we thought about transportation.

The Enfield 8000 was shorter than a Mini but had bold styling and came in a range of classic 70's shades. It was powered by four giant tractor batteries and applied the latest electrical circuitry to control the car. It had no gear stick, just a tiny toggle switch which flicked it instantly from forward to reverse. Just over a hundred vehicles were produced, and enthusiastic early owners talked about its delicate handling, impressive pick up speed and natty aero-dynamics.

Peter Curran tells the story of this ground-breaking British car and tries to breathe life into his 40 year old Enfield for one final challenge.

Producer: David Prest

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Peter Curran tells the story of the Enfield 8000, Britain's pioneering electric car.

02 LAST2013120720140401

Peter Curran has bought the 40 year old remains of a piece of motoring history. The Enfield 8000 was a prototype electric car built in the early 1970s at the height of the energy crisis, when the British Government feared that the country would grind to a halt at the hands of the oil producing nations of the world.

The car was the result of a secret deal brokered between a Greek shipping billionaire and the Electricity Boards, and was aimed at creating a revolution in the way we thought about transportation.

The Enfield 8000 was shorter than a Mini but had bold styling and came in a range of classic 70's shades. It was powered by four giant tractor batteries and applied the latest electrical circuitry to control the car. It had no gear stick, just a tiny toggle switch which flicked it instantly from forward to reverse. Just over a hundred vehicles were produced, and enthusiastic early owners talked about its delicate handling, impressive pick up speed and natty aero-dynamics.

Peter Curran tells the story of this ground-breaking British car and tries to breathe life into his 40 year old Enfield for one final challenge.

Producer: David Prest

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.