Steinbaugh Special: 1977 Leata Caballero

1977 Leata Caballero Front Corner

When we first saw this car we had to do a double take and it left us with a lot of questions. What in the world is it? Is it a luxury car or a truck? And where in the world was this thing built? Well as it turned out it’s a 1977 Leata Caballero and no it wasn’t built in Spain. While the name might be Spanish, this car was actually built in the most unlikely of places, Post Falls, Idaho. There were only about 100 of these cars built and this exceptional example can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $3,050 and a BIN price of $7,999.

1977 Leata Caballero Side

There isn’t a lot of information about these interesting little vehicles, but after laughing for a few minutes, we dug up some details. As it turns out they are essentially rebodied versions of the Chevrolet Chevette with a more luxurious interior. Steinbaugh Manufacturing began building these cars in 1975, but by 1977 their creation had failed to catch on and only about a 100 had been built. The car retained all of the Chevrolet mechanicals and drivetrain, including the GM 4-cylinder engine. We can’t imagine why this design never caught on…

1977 Leata Caballero Interior

By today’s standards this interior doesn’t look all that luxurious, but for a truck in the late ’70s this thing was pretty fancy. This car came with all the options, including power driver’s seat, power windows, cruise control, CB, 8-track player, and alloy wheels. With all these features and a 4 cylinder that only produced about 60 hp, we doubt it is particularly fast.

1977 Leata Caballero Rear

The styling of this car is definitely unique and you know you’re never going to see another one on the road. We can’t really say whether this is a good deal or not, since we have never seenone before. But given the condition of the car and the rarity, we think the seller’s asking price seems fair. What do you guys think? Is this Leata Caballero something you would add to your collection or should it go back in the barn?

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Comments

  1. Gary

    I want it. A 427 might help.

    • Dave

      I have a 1975 Leata #17 for sale in top notch original condition.
      25k obo only 22 made

      Like 1
  2. Wiley Robinson

    I have to congratulate you guys on finding the weirdest, most obscure vehicle on the planet.Despite the possibility of people thinking I’m driving the lovechild from a m??nage a trois between a 73 Monte Carlo, an 82 El Camino and a K-car some part of me is strangely attracted to it. Sort of in the same manner you have to walk over and stare at a weird looking dead fish washed up on the beach.

  3. Bas

    Leave it “out of the barn” bragging rights alone justify the price.Can you just imagine if you tell your insurance agent that you have a:”Leata-Cabalero” with 1 or 2 L`s, who cares. I thought I knew a lot about cars but this is a first for me. Thank you guys .What a hoot, a mini El Camino.

  4. J. Pickett

    Some people get the strangest ideas of what will sell. How could they ever have made back the costs. The price would have to be enormous. It is different, but really? Chevette chassis? What did it have a 150 lb payload? It is simply amazing when some people decide to become auto manufacturers what they choose to produce.

  5. Bob Ford

    what is it? Kinda looks like a Mercury Monarch Ranchero on a Pinto wheelbase.

  6. Justin

    Love it for the obscurity of it. What struck me most odd, is that with everything appearing to be custom made for this car….they used the lamest chevy-truck taillights. Just plucked em off the shelf. Makes me wonder what that front bumper, or headlight bezels came from. Bezels might be Granada parts. Very strange vehicle, Asking price totally fair for the rarity.

  7. Mike DeBauw

    Being from Spokane Wa. i remember these cars well. The funny thing is it seems like every one was different. After just a couple years the few that were around looked old and tired. This would be really cool for someone around the Spokane/PostFalls area. It would be a hit at the LOCAL car shows.

    Like 1
  8. Bear

    Think back to 1975….Vegas, Pintos, Chevettes were common.The ’73 Oil Crisis, gas rationing, odd-even purchase restrictions, and long lines at the gas stations were all fresh in the minds of consumers.Who knows… had the price of gas continued to spiral up out of control the US desire for small cars MIGHT have exploded, making this car very desirable.But alas, the price of a gallon of gas soon dropped, so the F-150s, Power Wagons, and C-10s soon regained their foothold in the US market….The founders of “Leata” took a chance. Gotta give them points for that. & if oil prices HAD skyrocketed back then (& stayed high for the duration) this little mini-ElCamino might have been closer to what we’d be driving today!!

    Like 1
  9. Michael

    This vehicle is a not-so-subtle reminder that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. :-)

  10. Jake the Gm Pimp

    one can plainly see why this B*stard child and perversion cross between a Monte Carlo and a pickup never caught on man that thing is fuugly, kinda reminds me of that Johnny Cash song “One piece at a time”. I have heard some older guys mention these things but never saw one in person or a picture shew man that’s hard on the eyes for a GM lover{painful}

  11. AM on FM

    Looks like many different GM parts were used here: front clip parts from a Monte Carlo and Grand Prix… the headlight bezels look like 73’ish Grand Prix, taillights are standard issue GM pick-up lights… rear quarters look like they be Monte Carlo, or maybe even mid-70’s Buick Century/Regal. Bumpers and windshield are Chevette. Not sure where the narrowed grille came from though. Almost looks like it came from a mid’70s Ford LTD with a Cordoba insert. Rear glass and roofline – I’m thinking Chevy Luv but probably not.

  12. Bear

    The bumpers, doors (w added triangle bump), windshield, cab, & seats (reupholstered) are all carryovers from the Chevette.This appears to be the same car as the one that sold at Barrett-Jackson SCOTTSDALE 2011 for $7700.http://www.barrett-jackson.com/application/onlinesubmission/lotdetails.aspx?ln=315.1&aid=403Gotta wonder why the seller is trying to unload it less than 9 months later for approx the purchase price…..

  13. Bear

    Note that the text in the eBay listing is a DIRECT WORD FOR WORD COPY of the text in the Barrett-Jackson auction. (It even states that the car “was sold new by Cole Travis Motors of Scottsdale and has remained here its entire life”, even though the ebay auction shows the car’s current location as being in Texas!! “DOH!!”)

  14. Bear

    Here’s what a ’77 Chevette “donor car” would have looked like….http://www.jodystaples.com/Sandpiper/images/77stork7.jpg(I'm undecided as to which one is uglier…..)

  15. Ron

    100 is 99 too many.

  16. Doug M Member

    If I had gone to a Barrett-Jackson auction and somehow come home with this, and owned it for 8 or 9 months, I could see myself trying to sell it for just what I had into it, too! …that way, I could try to stop the “ground-hogs day” type nightmare of having to look at this thing each morning parked in my garage!! ….”Help! What was I thinking?!?”

  17. Midbay

    Here’s another where they removed the rear and then added a bed cover that puts it back. Why?http://jalopnik.com/351450/leata-cabalero-most-beautiful-car-ever-built-in-post-falls-idaho

  18. James Colangelo

    It’s the answer to a question nobody asked..

  19. His Royal Flatulence

    In the context of 1977 American car styling, this thing is pretty normal-looking. It looks dorky today, but so does a 1977 Monte Carlo.I think you have to be a 20-something hipster to appreciate this. Those of us old enough to have lived through the 70’s will always just cringe at the decade that taste forgot.

  20. Gary

    EXCELLENT observation, Royal!

  21. Bear

    “the decade that taste forgot” My memories of bell-bottomed jeans, tie-dyed shirt, mutton-chops, BIG-hair, 70s music, and my 1st car (a ’76 silver & black Vega GT) are kinda hurt by that remark!!

  22. Doug Chahoy

    There was one of these for sale on e-bay about a year ago. The front fenders are definitely 73-77 LeMans, not GP. Rear fenders do look to be 73-77 Monte Carlo. Hey in 57 a company made 57 Chevys into lower cost Eldorado wanna bs’s. They’re pretty valuable today despite not selling very good in 57.

    • Douglas Chahoy

      Front fenders are a mix of mid 70s Monte Carlo and Lemans flowing into the door. Header looks like a cute down Merc

  23. badsam

    To all you haters… I laugh at you…hahahahahahahaha… you have no sense of humor at all.This car is absolutely amazing… I would love to own it. It’s value is in the workmanship and devotion that went into it’s creation. I wouldn’t change a thing on it or in it.

    Like 3
    • Lou Rugani

      (The old story of “never heard of it, so let’s compensate with jokes and mockery”. Park it at any meet and see what folks gather around.)

  24. Outsidethebox

    I’m seeing a 350SBC OR (even more fun) a Buick GN 3.8 Turbo under the hood…..either one would keep it from stopping dead if you ran the A/C and the stereo at the same time….

  25. ed forbes

    Laugh if you want..I don’t care. It’s mine now and is in Topeka Ks, and I am going to keep it and put it in all car shows I can. If you don’t like it then you can go to …………………..

    Like 2
  26. Outsidethebox

    Ed Forbes, I think it’s COOL AS HECK….and a guaranteed winner at car shows…but it does need a little something extra under the hood!

    Like 1
  27. badsam

    Ed Forbes… Excellent, take some vids of the shows and post them.

  28. Govandals

    This was a company owned and run by my family. My dad was the chief mechanic and builder. The chassis was Chevette, the body panels were fiberglass.

    They were actually quite popular, and there was a waiting list for them. My grandfather insisted they all be built by hand, and I don’t think production could meet demand. I am sure there were other issues as well, but, as I was younger than 10 y.o. at the time, I don’t really know what happened.

    One of the first Leata cars is in the Idaho automobile museum.

    And yeah, the styling doesn’t look great NOW. In the 70s, it looked pretty cool.

    At any rate, this was the product of one family’s hard work. My dad worked 100 hour weeks sometimes. Have a little tiny bit of respect.

    Like 5
    • Lou Rugani

      (Thanks for saying this, Govandals. All of it.)

      Like 3
  29. Ed Forbes

    I think this truck is about 99% stock .It looks great.Same as in these pictures.It maybe for sale , if the offer is right. Ed

  30. Chuck West

    I have one in my barn. I’ve owned it since the early 1990’s when I bought a storage business where it was abandon. I cleaned it up and drove it for a while but it”s just been sitting for the last few years. Maybe I should sell it at the Car-de-lane.

  31. Lou Zirkel

    I have a 1977 Leata Cabalero I purchased new and still have all the sales material. It is green in color and was purchased from Cole Travis in Scottsdale AZ. I bought it for my wife since she was a small girl and liked the fact that it was a very safe car to drive due to the construction of fiberglass over a steel body. one of their sales claims is that in a head on collision with a Cadillac the Leata only suffered minor damage under $500 when the Cadillac suffered major damage over $2,000.

    Like 2

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