Bay to Birdwood Barina sparks new interest

12 October, 2022

An electric vehicle (EV) category has been added to Bay to Birdwood this year – and Eric Rodda’s vintage 1985 Holden Barina MB will be one of the entrants on show.

For the first time vintage vehicles converted to electric will join the 67km ride from West Beach to Birdwood in the Adelaide Hills for the first time on Sunday, 16 October. Previously, vehicles eligible to enter were only permitted to be slightly modified.

The Barina was converted to an EV by Eric – a retired electronics technician – a dozen years ago but the converted car will be one of three to debut at the rally in the new category.  

“I met some fellas in Goolwa who had converted a car and I took it for a drive and decided to give it a go as a bit of a hobby,’’ Eric, 70, said.

“I bought the Barina in 2008 because it was light and had room for a battery in the back and I finished the conversion by 2010.

“I’ve been turning heads in car parks ever since – just the other day a fella drove past me in a Tesla and asked me what car is that?’’

Eric is passionate about EVs –he’s the secretary of the SA & NT Branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association – and is excited to take part in this year’s rally.

“A dozen years ago there were hardly any EVs around but in the next 12 years I reckon they will be coming into the country like crazy’’ the Marion resident said.  

Organisers define an electric modified historic vehicle as one built prior to 1993 that has been converted from an original internal combustion engine and drivetrain to an electric drivetrain and power source.

According to Bay to Birdwood Chair Michael Neale, the decision to add an EV category to the run is a way to “celebrate the history of motoring as a whole”.

“Many people around the world, and throughout Australia, are currently undertaking EV conversions of their historic vehicles. It is a growing part of the history of motoring,” he said.

“Taking leadership towards carbon neutrality ensures future generations will be able to enjoy the event.”

RAA will have six historic vehicles in the parade and will provide 4 patrol vans to help any vehicles which break down on the roadside.

For more about the Bay to Birdwood, visit