For the latest classic car news, features, buyer’s guides and classifieds, sign up to the C&SC newsletter here
Any illusion we had that the internal combustion engine was here to stay vanished in a cloud of exhaust gas following the Government’s announcement of a ban on new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
Not everyone has embraced the electric revolution, and car makers are playing to a tough crowd in those of us hard-wired to the sound of a screaming flat-six and the smell of unburnt Four Star.
But while the swing is unsettling, it has opened up a new market of enticing all-electric and hybrid cars – a rare few with the potential to become truly collectible.
One such example was so exciting that it spawned not only a new model, but a new manufacturer.
Parent company Geely had such faith in the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupé that it charged its designer, Thomas Ingenlath, with bringing the car to market as CEO of Polestar.
In 2019 the concept emerged from its chrysalis, a stunning two-door with sharp yet subtle lines that bring to mind the classic P1800.
It’s a striking car, bristling with futuristic touches; everywhere you look are clever details, from the flush-fitting doorhandles to the satisfying way the door mirror glass reaches to the edges.
Cutting-edge technology permeates the design, with carbonfibre in the chassis, pillars, cant rails and roof, while most of the outer panels are strong, light, carbon-reinforced polymer.
Steel would have been simpler, but 230kg heavier. That’s important, because the Polestar 1 is no sylph, tipping the scales at 2327kg.
So it’s big-boned, but not without reason: as well as a twin-charged 309bhp 2-litre ‘four ’, additional power comes via twin 114bhp electric motors driving the rear axle, and a 68bhp starter-motor-cum-generator.
Batteries above the rear axle and around the central tunnel produce 34kWh of power, equating to 77 miles of silent, eco-friendly running, with a reserve that can be replenished on the move in less than an hour.
The electric motors not only add to the green credentials, but also contribute to time-bending performance.
Do the sums and the combined petrol and electric output comes to a whopping 601bhp.
Acceleration is blistering, a tale of brute force versus physics that results in a 0-60mph time of just 4.2 secs.
And it doesn’t stop there: the big GT covers 50-75mph in just 2.3 secs, on its way to an electronically limited 155mph.
It’s proof positive that there’s much more to hybrid technology than the late-night Prius army crawling the kerbs after last orders; that it’s possible to create something beautiful, exciting and socially responsible.
On these gifts alone the Polestar 1 will earn a cult following.
Consider, then, a projected total production volume of around 1500 cars, and you surely have a cast-iron classic. Or should that be carbon-polymer?
Images: Max Edleston
- Engine turbo- and supercharged dohc 1969cc ‘four’ plus electric motors; 601bhp @ 6000rpm; 738lb ft (combined)
- Transmission front-wheel drive, electric rear-axle drive
- 0-62mph 4.2 secs
- Top speed 155mph (limited)
- Mpg 470
- Price £139,000