New LESAGE Motors 01 Is Paying Tribute To The Cyclecar
French start-up company LESAGE Motors has unveiled its first two prototype sports cars inspired by cyclecars from the 1910s and 1920s.
Headed up by namesake Bertrand Lesage, the independent marque is paying tribute to cyclecars from the turn of the 20th century, a breed originally designed to fill a gap between larger automobiles and motorcycles. Only when prices began to drop for mass-produced, smaller models like the Austin 7 was the cyclecar craze pretty much done heading into the early 1920s.
Two alternatives of LESAGE’s hand-built, limited edition sports car will be offered initially. The first – the 01T – will be powered by a Peugeot-sourced 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder that sends 155bhp and 240Nm (177lb ft) of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
While that may seem modest at best, bear in mind the 01T weighs just 650kg (1,433lb), thanks in part to its aluminium spaceframe chassis. That means a gutsier 238hp/ton power-to-weight ratio and 0-100kph in 6.5 seconds, on par with the similarly lightweight 82bhp Morgan 3-Wheeler that completes the same sprint just half a second quicker. Apt, given that the fledgling Morgan Motor Company was among the first and most prosperous marques producing cyclecars in the 1910s.
The 01E meanwhile, built on the same chassis and featuring the same double wishbone suspension front and rear, is powered by a mid-mounted 50kWh battery (good for 240km) and an electric motor, also sourced from Peugeot and also powering the rear wheels. To offset the 01E’s additional 300kg (661lb) weight over its naturally-aspirated counterpart – 950kg / 2,094lb total – the electric motor produces a heftier 260Nm (192lb ft) of torque, though interestingly, its 136bhp / 100kW means the power-to-weight ratio is also lower at 143hp/ton.
Only 50 examples of each two-seater roadster will be built, with first deliveries expected in 2021. Each one will feature an identification tag by the “author” / assembling mechanic. In a neat touch, potential customers have even been invited to build their own car on company premises in Berry overseen by technicians.
Interestingly, LESAGE already has a follow-up model – the ’02’ – in the works and planned for 2023, and explains that “a new design will be offered every two years.” Details aside from a few teaser sketches though (check out the carousel) are limited for now.
*Images courtesy of LESAGE Motors