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Automotive > Junkyard


Tonight I saw something about a junkyard on TV and it reminded me of our friend Forrest Woods' 1980 electric cars - made by Renault, they were called the Lectric Leopard. He bought two at the same time, a blue one and a yellow one.

Here is a good video about these cars:

The Leopard was powered by big heavy storage batteries that were recharged by plugging into the wall. They can go 65 mph, and get 59 miles to the charging session. It was a good commuting car, and Woody used his for several years.

I don't have any idea how much his electric bills went up, but I'm sure he figured out the savings over buying gas.

Then, one day, he decided to convert one of his cars to a gasoline-powered engine. He was an aerospace engineer working in computer programming, but had all confidence in his own ability. This was probably around 1990, and the Internet wasn't such a big thing. Somewhere, Woody got a list of all the parts he would need and invited my husband and I to accompany him to the junk yard to get the parts.

I think Woody thought he'd go in with the list and the junk yard counter man would start plunking the parts in front of us. No, if you go to a junk yard for car parts you'd better bring your wrench and a box so you can wander around out there amongst the clunkers and find what you need.

As daunting as it sounds, and I don't know if Woody actually succeeded in to doing it all himself, he did succeed, and drove that converted car for many more years.

posted on Feb 7, 2012 6:40 PM ()


Interesting there.I would loved to have seen this.Imagine saving this.Cool
comment by fredo on Feb 8, 2012 4:15 PM ()
Some of my uncle's 1940s vehicles still run, not as restored classic cars, but out of necessity to get work done on his farm.
reply by troutbend on Feb 19, 2012 3:53 PM ()
Ted would love your uncles junk yard.
comment by elderjane on Feb 8, 2012 3:35 PM ()
Yes he would. It's a trip down memory lane.
reply by troutbend on Feb 19, 2012 3:53 PM ()
I had two Renaults in the sixties. They were cute, used very little gas
and were fun to drive plus cheap. The only time they broke down was in my
driveway...then my husband treated me to a red Karmen Ghia and it broke
down constantly. It was my theory that the Renaults loved me and the Volks
hated me.
comment by elderjane on Feb 8, 2012 3:34 PM ()
Yes, I think cars can sense how we feel about them. That's why I try not to curse at mine when it can hear me.
reply by troutbend on Feb 19, 2012 3:55 PM ()
Amazing that he converted the car to gasoline. I need that guy at my house right now. Getting ready to have to spend some money on my car.
comment by redimpala on Feb 8, 2012 9:46 AM ()
He wasn't even a shade-tree mechanic type of guy, just determined and very smart.
reply by troutbend on Feb 19, 2012 3:56 PM ()
If anyone could figure it out the car conversion from electric to gasoline, I'd put my bet on an aerospace engineer any day!
comment by marta on Feb 8, 2012 6:20 AM ()
I miss those aerospace friends of my husband's. We used to play mah jong with them until 3 a.m.
reply by troutbend on Feb 19, 2012 3:58 PM ()
It's amazing what some people are able to do -- fixing, remaking, etc.
comment by drmaus on Feb 8, 2012 1:00 AM ()
I admire the persistence to see it through to the end. That was back before the Internet was so populated, so harder to find information.
reply by troutbend on Feb 19, 2012 3:59 PM ()
A new car is on my birthday list---just saying.
comment by greatmartin on Feb 7, 2012 7:26 PM ()
I haven't forgotten.
reply by troutbend on Feb 19, 2012 3:59 PM ()
That's a cool story.
comment by kristilyn3 on Feb 7, 2012 6:57 PM ()
The old vehicles are at my uncle's trading post, cars he used to drive.
reply by troutbend on Feb 8, 2012 12:28 PM ()

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