Winterton family from Collyweston produce battery-powered VW Golf ‘Gesla’
While some vehicles on display at a car show drew admiration for their glossy paintwork and gleaming bumpers, the Wintertons’ VW Golf offered a different kind of interest.
Dad Andy Winterton, and sons Max and Johnny, have been busy converting their black 1989 Golf GTi from a petrol-engine to battery-power at the family home in Collyweston – and the result was on display at Sunday’s Stamford Car Show on the town meadows.
Andy, who trained initially as an automotive engineer and, after a long and varied career, is now semi-retired, said: “The Golf has been brought bang up to date with the installation of all of the modern parts to run the car on electricity.
“We have a hobby of restoring, modifying and racing cars, and during lockdown we disassembled a Tesla just to see how it worked.
“By the end of the stripdown, half of the garage was filled with Tesla parts. In the other space was a derelict 1989 VW Golf GTi.
“It was the work of a single coffee break to decide that the two should be combined and we called the result the ‘Gesla’, a classic Volkswagen that runs on Tesla batteries.”
Max, 29, a former pupil of Bourne Grammar School, said: “The project was much more difficult than we expected and took a lot more time. Now it is finished, we are all very proud of the way the car drives along in silence.”
Johnny, 22, who studied engineering at Coventry University and is now off to work for a major engineering firm, undertook the Cad design work.
“We are expecting the 32kWh battery to give the VW a range of 130 miles between charges,” he said.
Friend Lee Wyatt and Bretton Green Limited also supported the car project, which used a scrapped Tesla.
Now the family is starting work on a new engineering project, having taken delivery of an Airstream caravan. They will renovate the structure, refit the interior and give the aluminium exterior a polished finish.
The 1960s interior will be replaced with a look modelled on a London vodka bar and work is expected to be finished by Easter.
“It remains to be seen whether the ‘Gesla’ will be able to tow the Airstream,” said Andy.