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1-of-75? 1982 Electrek Uncar

Back in the 1970s, manufacturers were tinkering with electric-powered cars in response to the energy crisis. One of the results was a short-lived, low production EV built by Unique Mobility in Colorado. Perhaps it was functional, but it wasn’t necessarily attractive. To me, it looks like a cross between an AMC Pacer and a Chevy Monza. This 1982 edition is sitting in a field in Boulder, Colorado and doesn’t run. It’s available here on craigslist for $500, making it one of the cheapest cars found on Barn Finds. Thanks to our eagle eye friend Ikey Heyman for this tip!

Depending on the source, 50 to 75 of these electric cars were built between 1979 and 1982. The EV’s brainchild was Unique Mobility and its official name was the Electrek Uncar. The body was constructed of fiberglass and polycarbonate and it featured an enclosed battery tunnel running through the center of the car where the motor resided on the underside. The source of the Electrek’s power was from 16 X 6-volt lead acid batteries that fed a 32 hp motor (GM or GE, we’re not sure) via a Soleq controller. Regenerative braking was part of the design along with the use of a 4-speed transmission – and the car could be recharged using a standard 110-volt household outlet.

As hard as it might be to believe, these cars were said to be capable of hitting 75 mph, achieving 0 to 30 mph in nine seconds and could reach a cruising range of 100 miles at 30 mph. The EV was not cheap to acquire with a selling pricing of $25,000 in 1979, which would equate to $89,000 in 2020. The price of poker scared buyers away, as did the poor weight-to-power ratio of the heavy 16 lead-acid batteries. The car’s manufacturer is known today as UQM Technologies, whose focus is still the development of electric vehicles and related businesses. There is no indication that UQM could be a source for parts for these limited production cars. Thanks, Hemmings, for prior coverage on these cars!

We’re not told the production number of the seller’s car, but since it’s a 1982 model, it would have to have been built toward the end of the car’s run. This Electrek Uncar does not run, needing a new controller and batteries at a minimum. Our fellow cohort here at Barn Finds, Adam Clarke, profiled one of these cars last year and the photo here is of the battery compartment from that other car since the seller of this one didn’t provide anything similar. The batteries would slide in and out on a tray. The asking price is no doubt as low as it is because the cost of getting this thing running again won’t be cheap. But if you can get it functional once more, you’d have a novelty vehicle that no one else would have at Cars & Coffee.


  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    OMG! It is a cross between a pacer with the rear of a Monza with VW MK1 bits thrown in. You know the VW component must be present with any home brew car! But the car is giving me an idea to find a Gremlin and fit the skateboard of a Tesla under it. Where’s my tape measure! It’s time to measure wheelbase and track!

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Mike

      This is like a kid’s drawing of a Pacer and somehow it got put into production.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo CVPanther Member

        So, like a Pacer?

        Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Steve Bush Member

    Ugliest $25k car ever! Hard to believe 50-75 people paid that much for it! In 1979! But; for the $500 asking, if you can do your own work and get it it going relatively cheaply with perhaps some safety/reliability updates, guaranteed you’d have the only one at Cars and Coffee.

    Like 11
  3. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    A Mother could love that face!

    Like 7
  4. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    “Hey Larry, I’ve got an idea for a car that looks like a Gremlin, only uglier”.

    Like 14
  5. Avatar photo Mitchell Gildea Member

    And y’all thought the Fiat Multipla looked hideous

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Kralik

      And we’all were right. ;)

      Like 4
  6. Avatar photo scott m

    None of it matters, it has a gated shifter!

    Like 17
  7. Avatar photo Rodney - GSM

    I would guess as the world goes electric at a rapid pace, these earlier attempts will become more desirable as collector cars.
    As a $500 “garage sale find” you might turn a profit sooner than you think and have fun in the process. Can’t help you with the ugly…

    Like 12
  8. Avatar photo Arby

    Looks like a Government project…

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Kralik

      Not enough zeroes in the price.

      Like 6
  9. Avatar photo Jim

    This makes the Pontiac Aztec look like a work of art!

    Like 20
  10. Avatar photo Little_Cars

    Between the B and C pillars, that’s quite a blind spot!!! Not sure I’d want that much glass next to my left elbow as I drove this thing. At least the Pacer, if I recall right, had a higher window sill with a slight faring to it but still lots of glass. Why does the front end of this car look like it warped upward?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


      I worked for an AMC dealer when the Pacer was introduced. I quickly discovered why the interior door panels were 3 inches higher than the outer door window height; The distance between the beltline and the base of the door was shorter than the height of the window, and when the window was lowered all the way, it still stuck 3″ above the beltline! Resting your arm on that thin edge of glass was not comfortable at all, even for a couple of minutes.

      This resulted in an additional problem; the interior door panel grab handles were not being used to close the doors. [The grab handles were secured directly to the door assembly.] Instead, people were simply grabbing the top edge of the door panel and pulling the door closed. This put undue strain on the plastic panels, and the door panels quickly broke along the beltline. AMC had to upgrade the panels to prevent the damage.

      Like 9
  11. Avatar photo bone

    Monza fastback taillights, nothing else looks good on this pile

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo bone

    Not even worth its weight in scrap , and the guy is firm on his price. Its probably been sitting since the original batteries wore out.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo local_sheriff

    Love its shifter, I always thought electric cars would have no gears…? It doesn’t exactly seem like its manufacturer had high hopes for this vehicle marketing it as an Un-car of all things. It’s way out of my personal comfort zone – but probably a cool project for EV aficionados

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


      The shifter. I’m guessing that it might be purely electrical connections instead of connected to a gearbox. Shifting might be putting more batteries into use for more power, and the reverse gear is simply reversing the electrical power cables to make the motor run the opposite direction.

      Like 4
  14. Avatar photo Mark

    It’s a sad fact that at times during our individual lifetimes we are exposed to various atrocities man has inflicted on fellow humans over the course of history.
    However, I never expected to see one here on BF. This is truly disturbing. May I suggest that BF establish some form of viewer warning disclaimer on these types of postings?
    The thought of a child possibly stumbling across the above pics is something we should all be concerned about.

    Like 6
  15. Avatar photo Jimbo

    Somebody needs to buy it and do an LS swap.

    Like 4
  16. Avatar photo Joe

    I would drive that over a Tesla any day!

    Like 4
  17. Avatar photo Geoff

    Thats the kind of car that people either run away from or run to.
    Might be an interesting candidate for a motorcycle engine swap.

    Like 2
  18. Avatar photo Jcs

    The definition of fugly.

    I understand that the entire car is an oddity, but what the hell is up with the dash mounted shifter?

    Like 3
  19. Avatar photo Steve Burchett

    It needs dark tinted windows so you couldn’t be seen driving it!

    Like 5
  20. Avatar photo Pugsy

    You all missed the part Torino, as the triple Starsky stripes indicate.
    I bet you start seeing a much more attractive auto now, huh?

    Like 4
  21. Avatar photo David Bailey

    Tesla’s LATEST truck design, right?

    Like 2
  22. Avatar photo Cerno

    This is the most hydroids rides I have ever seen and I like Gremlins . I think the builder was related to Homer Simpson . Like really that was what they stood back and looked at and said it’s a winner let’s pump these out . No wonder they failed

    Like 3
  23. Avatar photo lc

    Rear lights possibly sourced from a Monza. Rear window possibly sourced from a full glass Pinto hatchback. The side door windows don’t seem to roll up or down, but possibly move forward? The front window has chrome trim, and I’m guessing was sourced from some other 70s car possibly a Scout II, but who knows? Seats look to be from a newer vehicle.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


      From what I can see in the photos, the front section of the side windows are hinged at the top and rotate to the rear, opening the front 1/2 of the side windows.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo lc

        Yeah, I was thinking that they rotate mimicking a sliding window.

        Like 0
  24. Avatar photo Harriston Richardson

    Can the Batteries be found for it? Could a be project car WORTH doing for 5 hunnit ,UMMMMMMM , maybe parts CAN be found UMMMMMMM, Maybe we,ll SEE said the BLIND MAN.

    Like 0
  25. Avatar photo Johnmloghry

    There are kits available to turn any car into an electric. I recently watched a show that purposely built a a car for a well known racer. I think it was a pinto and it was really fast. They said the batteries were a pack consisting of AA batteries.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  26. Avatar photo Fran

    Looks better than a grilless electric of today.

    Like 1
  27. Avatar photo Reid Hall

    Wow, this is kinda sharp, not so but ugly,like alot other amc’s,pinto’s,and other 60’s-80’s,junk. One thing is for sure Monza,taillights look pretty good as well as that square headlight Monza front clip,and don’t forget that bus,Ferrari,style 5-6 speed shifter.All you need is a good high speed electric motor, and good golf cart batteries, as well as what they call as coil,pack and or speed sensor for the batteries, and a good golf cart charger.But be careful as long as this has set plan on a wiring harness kit,because it’s probably bad, anyway, and may,and or may not be compatible.So if you are willing to spend $500-$3500.00, go for it.

    Like 2
  28. Avatar photo RodOpel

    I think its a good candidate for a Hyabusa engine swap, as said before the cost of batteries alone are a lot! Or maybe an updated electric drivetrain

    Like 0
  29. Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    It looks like a Gremlin to me. With Chevy Monza taillights and a Ford Pinto rear hatch glass.

    Like 0
  30. Avatar photo edk

    Transmission in an electric is strange, but likely is a manual trans, not some sort of electric controls, it has a clutch pedal.

    Like 0
  31. Avatar photo V8roller

    The trans was a way of getting more performance out of an underpowered motor.
    I wonder where the steering, suspension etc came from.
    The batteries wouldn’t be expensive, no idea about the controller, but as it has/had regen braking I’m guessing the controller would be something more than just a potentiometer.
    Then there’s tyres and brakes, but no cooling system to worry about.

    Yes, it’s ugly but when you’re in the driving seat, you can’t see it.

    Like 1
  32. Avatar photo Ward William

    It is as ugly as F but unique which makes it a perfect for a full restoration BUT with a Tesla powerplant and smart bits.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo lc

      Sounds like electric vehicles are starting to be excepted by the general public. People say Tesla now like it’s a household name. When the prices come down, there will be more on the street. Just wonder how long before we don’t see those combustion engines anymore? As of right now, as the early 90s band The Men sang “She’s All Mine”, the combustion engine is ‘all mine’ so lets keep loving them or hating them.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo lc

        Correction for the above – meant Accepted. Anyway, check out the 88 Mazda B2200 electric truck in Phoenix Craigs. Also I just saw the electric Hummer add here – gmc.com/hummer-ev
        What a machine! Bet it costs over 100k. Though, I don’t know about the 10 charge and only 100 miles.
        I also saw on a Korean Biz show (if that was the right show) where they are working on ‘self healing plastic’. In other words, they are mimicking the human skin and the way it heals itself. So a scratch on a plastic could be able to heal its own scratched plastic; ie, like a plastic cover on your smart phone.

        Like 0
  33. Avatar photo chrlsful

    it looks all ‘crunchy’ in the frnt’n stuff. If not – how bout the lithium ion and new “crate ele motor” that’s around now?

    Like 0
  34. Avatar photo Keith R Chenoweth

    I don’t know, I kinda love it. But why no picture from the front? Hide the damage, or really just that ugly?

    Like 0
  35. Avatar photo David Bailey

    Ic, The Big 3 and paint suppliers had self healing paint demos at least 25 years ago. I guess everything old is new again, like electrics.

    Like 0
  36. Avatar photo lc

    Yep, my Mom actually told me that years ago she saw a material that plastic surgeons used maybe instead of skin graphs that had healing properties.

    Question is why don’t they use it on paint to get rid of scratches and nicks? Maybe even come up with self healing metal that would go back to its original form.

    Like 0

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