From classic to electric

German Autohaus owner, Joseph Jasik, left, automobile engineer Mark Romprey discuss the bolts and bumper for a classic 1966, Mercedes 220 Diesel sedan, behind, that will be mated with the electric motor, batteries and chassis of a 2018 Kia Soul at German Autohaus in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal

When Joseph Jasik gets an idea, it’s nearly impossible for him to let it go.

The owner of German Autohaus, an automotive repair and body shop in Newhall, has had a number of what he calls “crazy ideas” over the years, including putting a classic car’s body on a new car’s engine.

Last year, he gave “new life” to an old car by putting a 2004 Mercedes on a 1960 chassis.

“Everybody thought it was impossible, but I knew it was possible,” he said.

It’s this creativity that’s led to more “crazy ideas” and his current project: converting a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 220 Diesel to electric with the help of a 2018 Kia Soul EV and its lithium-ion battery.

Once complete, the new car is expected to get approximately 200 miles per charge.

Jasik purchased the Kia after it had been in a traffic collision and deemed totaled, so he’s excited to put two “junked” cars together. “We’re recycling,” he joked.

Automobile engineer Mark Romprey, left, and German Autohaus owner, Joseph Jasik examine the electric engine and chassis of a 2018 Kia Soul that will be mated with the body of a 1966, Mercedes 220 Diesel sedan at German Autohaus in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal

Many have done electric-car conversions, but Jasik is taking his one step further by completely gutting the classic car.

“Lots of people do electric conversions by taking the motor and battery out and putting it in the old car, but they leave the old suspension that’s there,” he added. “This car has the new suspension, brakes and, if something goes wrong, you go to a Kia dealer and they’ll fix it for you.”

While the entire engine, dashboard and chassis will be from the Kia, Jasik will be keeping all of the rest, including the interior, exterior and accessories, original from the Mercedes.

“The only thing that’ll be electric is the dashboard. Everything else will be manual, so manual windows on an all-electric car,” automotive engineer Mark Romprey said, chuckling.

Though this conversion is only possible because the width of both cars are within an inch of each other, the Kia’s chassis still has to be extended to fit the Mercedes’.

“The wheelbase doesn’t match the Mercedes, so I’m actually going to cut it in half, and extend the whole car,” Romprey said. “The Mercedes is going to be like a turtle that is just going to be set right on top of this guy.”

Then, the strongest part of both cars will be welded together to make it rock solid, Jasik added.

According to Romprey, that’s the easy part, though, as mounting the dashboard will be much harder.

Automobile engineer Mark Romprey checks the rear fender of a classic 1966, Mercedes 220 Diesel sedan, behind, that will be mated with the electric motor, batteries and chassis of a 2018 Kia Soul at German Autohaus in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I have to build new mounts for the dashboard, so that is going to be really timely,” he added.

Next, they’ll get to work on the exterior, which Jasik wants to keep as close to the original patina as possible.

“We’ll clean it up and put a clear coat on it, but the car will stay rusty,” Jasik said.

“Some areas will look dull, and some will look shiny — it’s kind of up to the car,” Romprey added.

“It’ll look like junk, but it’ll be electric,” Jasik added. “You can’t find a car like this, so this will be something special.”

The Mercedes will then be fitted with new rubber to re-mount the original windows and the interior upholstery will be refurbished before what Jasik calls the “Classic2Electric” car will hit the road.

German Autohaus is located at 22510 9th St. in Newhall. For more information, visit germanautohausscv.com or call 661-254-2158.

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