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LeLectric Car: 1980 Lectric Leopard

For those of you who don’t care for the regular LeCar powertrain, or those of you who lament anyone “ruining” a perfectly good car to turn it into a battery-powered car, this one is for you! This unusual ride is a 1980 Lectric Leopard and it’s a battery-powered Renault LeCar. I say, it’s a battery-powered Renault LeCar! (why is there an echo in here?) Or, a Renault 5, as some folks around the world know them. This unique and silent ride is on craigslist with an asking price of $3,000 and it’s located in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Given the updated lithium technology here, this is a good buy.

A company called US Electracar Corporation in Massachusetts imported vehicles without drivetrains and turned them into battery-powered cars and they called them the Lectric Leopard. I’m not sure if they meant to evoke the quickness of a leopard but I’m guessing that’s the case, based on some of their early advertising. Here’s a YouTube video of a young man who got a Lectric Leopard up and running again as a high school project. If he can do it, you certainly can. He just found it interesting, nothing more, nothing less. That’s how I see electric cars, as interesting and unusual. In case you were wondering, I’m not a “tree hugger” or someone who looks down on fuel-burning vehicles what so ever, quite the opposite, I love them! 8 out of our 10 vehicles (cars and motorcycles) burn gas like everyone else’s vehicles do, I just like the unusual/oddball factor with EVs.

This Lectric Leopard is a bit rusty, as you can see. Hopefully it isn’t structural but it was originally a New Hampshire car and then went to California, but the damage was already done it looks like. It has passed the Pennsylvania inspection so that’s nothing to sneeze at. Luckily it’s white paint so it’ll be easy to match once the rust is fixed. Technology-wise, this car has been updated with lithium batteries and that cut down about 600 pounds in weight, down to 2,060! That’s not an insignificant amount of weight. It also upped the range to 50-60 miles from 35-40. The Lectric Leopard originally came with 16 6-volt batteries and some owners put in 14-15 12-volt batteries, and going to lithium is the way to go but it’s not cheap. There are no photos of this car’s front or rear hood/trunk open, but here’s a similar car showing the batteries in back. This always comes up, and I would hope that by now we all know that these cars were never intended for cross-country travel, they were made for city commuters who drive short distances.

The interior of this car looks good, the seats were just redone and they look perfect. The seller has a specific webpage on this car with a lot of info if anyone is interested. He has included a couple of extra photos, too. He even added regenerative braking so this car is, at least in spirit, as close to a modern EV as it gets, and for $3,000 it’s a bargain. Now, about that rust, that’s the only thing that worries me about this car. Have any of you seen a Lectric Leopard before?


  1. Hank

    Actually, white paint is one of the hardest to match. Ask any bodyman.

    • Bruce

      It can be. White is never “pure” white, there is always some tints in it. If it is not mixed correctly you will see a distinct color variation ( say, door to quarter..). On this car I would paint everything from the stripe down. The stripe will break the line of definition so a slight difference wouldn’t be as noticeable.

  2. rando

    I was working my business out fo a body shop once and overheard them talking about like 16 variations of one Ford paint code for white. Mostly take the gas door to the paint shop to have them custom mix using the camera thingie.

  3. morgan hill

    Just found barn find 69 years young love looking at old cars,had a few back in the day.My best was a 1961 plymouth fury,push button on dash.I could rev it up punch drive and jump a coke bottle with my front tire,neat trick to do at Jerry’s.thanks again

  4. gerarrdo rodrig

    Hi, I have a LectricLeopard. Mine is red, I run it with 20, 6 Volt NiCad batteries, range 45 miles, I use it several times a week for my commute to work, 12 to 20 miles round trip depending on errands.
    Currently trying to adjust the torsion bars to lift it a bit, as the 1000 lbs of battery weight have it running a bit low to the ground, I charge it with a Manzanita charger, it can use 120 or 220, I use regular 120 household electricity. Any ideas on getting, renting or borrowing the toesion adjustment tool? Thanks.

  5. gerrardo rodrig

    Sorry, typo.
    Any ideas on getting, renting or borrowing the torsion bar adjustment tool SUS 545 ?

  6. Paul LaMarche

    I my uncle, Chandler Waterman, of Athol MA, actually built those cars. His company was later bought out by a Canadian firm. They were establishing dealerships. I went to the big roll out party in Denver, Co sometime in 1976. I talk to him regularly and he is shocked about all the stuff online about it.

    Like 1
  7. Paul LaMarche

    My uncle, Chandler Waterman, of Athol MA, actually built those cars. His company was later bought out by a Canadian firm. They were establishing dealerships. I went to the big roll out party in Denver, Co sometime in 1976. I talk to him regularly and he is shocked about all the stuff online about it.

  8. Elm robichaud

    I’ve got a lectric leopard sitting in my yard. Hasnt driven in probably 12 years. The car only has 3,000 miles on the clock. The story was the guy that bought it wasn’t happy with it because it couldn’t get up the steep hill to his house in the winter so he parked it and converted a jeep cj5 to electric.
    This one has a 96v motor in it and it’s also a 1983 fiat. Electronics are junk but the car has tons of good parts (the interior is like new). I’m planning on converting my vw bug and using the motor out of the leopard.

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