Liège

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I love simple, lightweight cars and am disappointed that when I was at the Lane Motor Museum I either overlooked its Liège or it hadn't arrived yet. It's a fantastic idea for a sports car, that is if you like the idea of having the bare minimum of a car around you as you go about your sporting business.

Designed in the UK and refined over half a decade after plans were first drawn up, Peter (Leigh) Davis wanted to create a small, inexpensive, sporting car that could be driven to work on nice days and used for trials, rallies, or jaunts on the weekend. A great idea, if you ask me… 

One of my favourite things about the active Liège community is that each of the cars seems to have its own name…names like: Tweetie Bird, Spud, Scutter, Pfoo, Goober, and Yoko. The cars are sort of like Lotus 7s that shrunk in the wash, and are based largely around Reliant Robin mechanicals, with various other mechanical solutions tried over the years. Suzuki parts, motorcycle engines…y'know, the things people modify when they're owners of a limited-run flyweight sports car.

Everything is designed to be simple, and get this: before the first was sold to a customer, its creator Davis took a trip to Morocco and back, with the car performing well during the journey. The amazing liegecars.co.uk says, "The car ran faultlessly carrying two people, tools, luggage and camping equipment down to the edge of the Sahara and returned 50 mpg (5.6 L/100km)".

With about 40 horsepower from its Robin-sourced, aluminum, 850-cc 4-cylinder engine, all the car needs are drum brakes, a simple frame, simple suspension, and a simple body. Weight? Less than 500 kg (1100 lbs).

Sixty were made and about 45 are still on the road—few cars are this small or simple, so if you like the Liège, you may also like the Hudson Component Cars Free Spirit and the Chinkara Roadster 1.8 S.