Junkyard Outtake: Lectric Leopard – Sparky CC Spotted at Wrench ‘N Go

(first posted 1/6/2018)

A specimen of an endangered species: will it be eviscerated and crushed?

Who would have thought of running across a Renault LeCar in Iowa in December 2017? Wait a minute! That does not say LeCar on the side but Lectric Leopard! I did not even know such a thing existed.
According to “All about RENAULT 5” the Lectric Leopard is a LeCar converted to electric drive by the US Electricar Corporation in 1979 and 1980  complete with its own charger and a set of 6 lead-acid batteries.

Other than the graphics and the ELECTRICAR emblem there is little to distinguish the Lectric Leopard from a regular LeCar (Renault 5) on the outside.

Inside I noticed 2 gauges to the left of the steering wheel, an exposed heating element for windshield defogging purposes and the Lectric Leopard logo on the steering wheel.

The big differences are under the hood. The engine has been replaced with an electric motor that is mated to the 4 speed manual gearbox. Above this combo sits a frame of steel angle for an array of 6 lead acid batteries. The remaining space is occupied by an additional battery for the lights, wipers, horn and maybe a radio, a battery charger and a power controller.

This car is in remarkably good shape. Obviously it helped that it was driven locally wherever “local” was. Too, most likely the owner realized soon enough that the vehicle was not providing sufficient creature comfort in the winter time and therefore it did not get pickled by road salt. For these reasons the few remaining Lectric Leopards maybe the best preserved variants of the the Renault 5 entirely.

I hope this Lectric Leopard will be revived by someone like this kid who rescued a red one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NVhkXNPtH0

See the sparks fly on this white Lectric Leopard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIP5YZDbgL4

And here is a yellow one on the road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O51CTryNdx4

I have no clue if it had been lowered or only weighed down by the batteries.

It may not be a Tesla in “insane mode” but it’s enough to make me crack a smile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tgS4oYvc-w