Driving home last week, I got stuck in inexplicable traffic, the kind where everyone inches along for a half a hour and then suddenly the traffic just sort of clears up and nobody knows why things were so slow for so long. While in the thick of the molasses, I pulled abreast of a car carrier hauling two very odd birds indeed: Lectric Leopards, which were early 80’s versions of the Prius, built from the tiny Renault5/Le Car chassis with the promise of 60 miles of maximum range.
I’m sure there are entire books that could be written on why this odd hippie French deathmobile never caught on in the states (even putting aside the suspicious nature Americans had for Renault at the time) in the midst of a recession and gas crunch, but I’ll give the company points for trying. I like to think there’s a Francophile treehugger gearhead somewhere south of Baltimore, who just picked these two cars up for a song, and who’s got some Prius running gear in his garage waiting for a swap. Bonne chance, messieurs.