Following the '62 Ocelote, with another big cat name, it came the '65 Leopardo. Initially it was available in 2 trims, the regular coupé, that was a direct evolution of the Ocelote, and a more powerful version, the Rally Sports.
This was the regular trim, powered by the same 4.9L OHV V8 as the Ocelote, with the same 220hp output. Design by the Eugenio’s son, this time the car was bigger than the previous model, and with a more agressive looks, but retaining the same black stripes and a similar front.
It was available with a 4 speed manual gearbox, discs brakes at front and drums in the back. It was again a 2+2 layout, with a premium interior and a std radio, with the standar safety for the time.
It reached a top speed of 215 km/h and it did 0-100 in 8.6s. The 1/4 mile time was 16.5s according to official sources. Even tho it had a surprisingly soft suspension, the ride wasn’t bouncy, and it ended up being a good all-around car in despise is muscle nature.
###Leopardo Rally Sport
After squishing all that was reasonable available in the ADM Mastiff V8, it was obvious that Meliora needed a better engine, one that was specially design for performance, instead of adapt a truck engine to a car, but Meliora didn’t had the infrestructure to develop a new engine, let alone a big V8, so Eugenio’s son contacted American Eagle Automotive
, a company with V8 experience.
And after some negotiation, the Leopardo Rally Sport
was born, powered by a Big Block Cleveland engien (BB - 455C). The engine 400ci (6.5L)
OHV V8 was rated at 325hp, but in reality, after dyno testing it, it make 334hp and 437 ft-lb of torque, not bad at all.
After the lack of engine was resolved, it came the rest of the engineering. The exterior was pretty much the same, except for a re-worked rear spoiler, and side vents. It was offered only in black color.
In the interior the car only had 2 seats and a more complex safety.
The suspension, the brakes and the transmission were completely new and differed a lot from the coupe trim.
The result? top speed of 241km/h, 0-100 in 7.5s and the quarter mile in 15.42s. Even tho it was a whole second quicker than the Coupe, the car was still pretty slow compared to other cars from its time
. Still the car was a sales success, thanks to the AEA engine and its nice power curve, combined with the reworked suspension, the car was very very good at cruising and cornering, and only for that experience people bought the car, plus it looks bad ass in black.
Coupe 1965 price: $2,824.88
Rally sports 1965 price: $3,657.34