There’s a cool little car that’s one of just 22 Leata sedans made in Post Falls in 1975 and 1976 as an economy car. It’s part of the Idaho Historical Museum’s “Essential Idaho: 150 Things that Make Idaho Unique” which opens Tuesday to mark the 150th anniversary of Idaho Territory.
The car didn’t make it into my Sunday story about the exhibit, but it’s installed in the lobby of the museum and well worth a look. Apple green, it’s made of fiberglass, gets 50 miles per gallon, is 10-feet-8-inches long, 56 inches high and 58 inches wide. The vehicle is part of the story of “Idaho’s Goat Trail,” U.S. 95, which runs 538 miles through Idaho, from Oregon in the south to British Columbia.
“It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Museum Director Jody Hawley Ochoa. “I’d buy one now if I could.”
But the Leata isn’t a likely purchase and not only because they are in such short supply.
Ochoa’s husband, Ricardo, is the director of Idaho Public TV’s “Idaho Reports” and “Dialogue.” He also collects Saabs and there are now four in the family, one for dad and one for each of their two children. (I suspect the fourth one is for parts.)
Don Steinbaugh designed the Leata and named it for his wife. It cost $3,850 new, has a jump seat in the back and the spare tire mounted on back. The car in the museum’s collection bears a Washington State University student parking permit, for 1977-78.