Lightning repeatedly vanquished the darkness like the angriest of strobe lights and thunder shook the building, punctuating the clatter of a heavy Texas rain on the metal roof as the clock ticked away the initial seconds of a rare full moon Friday the 13th. It was then that the Black Zombie came to life for the first time.
As patient zero of Blood Shed Motors, the classic pony car has received a powerful electric transplant.
Beneath the hood of this rust-free 1968 Mustang fastback, a 289-cubic-inch V8 no longer turns gasoline into heat, noise and pollution. As patient zero of Blood Shed Motors, the classic pony car has received a powerful electric transplant, and now boasts twinned Warp 11 DC motors and a pair of fresh Zilla controllers that will serve as the basic blueprint for future vehicles. Dubbed the Zombie 222 drivetrain, the setup will be limited to 750 horsepower in customer's cars to keep the maintenance experience low, and eventually will draw power from a 40-kWh battery pack. In this first example, though, the output is bit more extreme. For one day, at least, they have the 1,500-kW-capable pack that powers the record-setting Swamp Rat 37 racer belonging to Don Garlits and a brief window of opportunity to try it out on a track.
Blood Shed Motors is the result of a collaboration between NEDRA co-founder John "Plasma Boy" Wayland, the man who helped bring electric vehicle drag racing to the attention of the world with his unassuming White Zombie Datsun 1200 conversion and Austin, TX business man Mitch Medford, who've put together a small team of experts in their chosen fields.
The plan is to build a limited number of high-quality muscle car conversions on pristine (No restored rust buckets!) early Mustang, Camaro, and Barracuda platforms. Each can be customized according to buyer's wishes and blessed with its own serial number. The price tags will be in the eye-watering $200,000-and-up neighborhood, reflective of the cost and rarity of these cars and the custom nature of the alterations.
Of course, you can't just multiply horsepower and add the monster torque that these electric motors put out and expect an antique chassis to hold up. To help keep everything straight and under control in all driving situations – these aren't meant to be quarter-mile queens only, but also enjoyable road machines – the outfit has added subframe connectors and a unique motor cradle that helps stiffen the front end, along with high-performance suspension and other parts.
The next evening, the calender still read Friday the 13th as Black Zombie did its first burnout on the asphalt of the San Antonio Raceway, ahead of a couple shakedown runs. There had been no indication to onlookers that the fastback on the track was anything other than what it appeared to be, so as clouds of smoke raised from the spinning rubber, so did eyebrows. Where was the deafening sound? What was powering that thing?
A bigger shock was in store, though. As the dragstrip's light tree went green, jaws dropped as the front tires lifted and stayed off the ground for the first 50 yards. A glitch momentarily cut power to the motors and the Mustang seemed to settle. Wayland's foot was still to the floor, however, and so when power somewhat unexpectedly came surging back, the front end again came off the ground despite the 40 miles an hour of forward motion.
Where was the deafening sound? What was powering that thing?
The car didn't set any records that night. That was not really the aim. Besides, it was not really prepared to go a full quarter mile at life-threatening speeds. (Something about someone who's name rhymes with "pitch" forgetting to reattach a sway bar and no time for a proper front end alignment.) Still, it reassured the Blood Shed bunch that they are on the right track.
Now, with that first bit of fun out of the way, the real work begins. The Black Zombie will be completely disassembled and have every nut and bolt assessed before being reunited with a freshly painted body shell and displayed in front of the crowds at this year's SEMA show. While we wait to see how it all turns out, we have video below of its first launch on the track, along with some burnout footage taken from the air. As an extra bonus, we've thrown in a bit of the original White Zombie – which is also getting a refresh – roasting some tires.
With the first bit of fun out of the way, the real work begins.
If you want to get an early place in line or just keep up with the project, the company's first sketch of a website can be found here.