Wicked Cool Wedge: 1975 UrbaCar

I hope that I’m not the only one who was around in 1975? I wasn’t quite at driving age yet but I was close to it, and I was already driving anyway (hey, we lived in the country). I used to literally dream about getting something like this 1975 UrbaCar. These were marketed in magazines and this one is marketed on Craigslist in Amboy, Illinois for $2,500 or best offer.

In 1975, Mechanix Illustrated ran a story on this innovative little commuter in an article titled, “An About-Town Car You Can Build For $1,400.” This was the era of the gas crunch and fuel shortages in the US so there was a big push for small, light, fuel-efficient commuter vehicles and wacky little EVs, like the CitiCar and others. The wedge shape was hot, hot, hot. And, if you’ve ever gone to camp, you know about wedgies.. no wait, that’s a different thing, never mind.

This car appears to be in surprisingly good condition, maybe because of being in storage for the last 40 years. It comes with the original plans to build it, or in this case, to finish building it. From the owner’s description: “Body is made of 3/4″ polyurethane foam; hand cut and covered with 2 layers of fiberglass on each side. (To construct the fiberglass body required 18 gallons of polyester resin and 500 square feet of fiberglass cloth.)”

Good grief, drivers were sure spoiled in those days with their posh interiors! This thing is about as basic as it got, although having four gauges is more than a VW Beetle and some other cars had. You are correct, crash protection in this 650-pound car will rely on how many pillows that you can stuff in and around your person. The seats look comfy, though, don’t they! There’s a bit of a to-do list left to finish this one, including the “gull wing doors, battery, wiring, brake lines, interior, paint.”

This is a 19-hp, one-cylinder, two-stroke snowmobile engine, which they recommend replacing unless you’ll be driving it in the winter or cooler seasons as it can tend to overheat. Believe it or not, a person can still order plans to build your own UrbaCar through Robert Q. Riley Enterprises. Or, for $2,500 or offer you can get this one and in a few weekends you’ll be the envy of your Camaro and Mustang-loving friends! This car has a “centrifugal clutch, dual master brake cylinder, 10 gallon gas tank from a VW bus, ford starter motor for the electric reverse function, 10″ wheels with 10 ply trailer tires, safety glass windows.”  I think this would be a super fun project. Have any of you seen an UrbaCar? How would you power this one?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Jeffro

    The things I could do with this!

  2. Jag-Yew-Arrrrrghhh

    I would use this once a year for Trick or Treating.

  3. Rock On

    Eighteen gallons of polyester resin can do serious damage to your brain cells. Whoever thinks that they could get this car registered to be driven on public roads is living proof.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Depending on local laws you might be able to do just that…

    • Alex B

      but it has safety glass ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Jag-Yew-Arrrrrghhh

      Eighteen gallons of polyester resin could also produce 5,682 leisure suits.

      • Scotty Staff

        Ha!!

      • Jag-Yew-Arrrrrghhh

        Scotty- I can tell by the Ha!! you had a leisure suit. Mine was powder blue.

  4. David Zornig

    I concur, missing title (if it even had one) is the kiss of death on that one.
    It would be neat if you lived on a farm, but that’s about it.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      I think in most states you can get a title for a home built car.

      Like 1
  5. Don H

    Ya if you lived on a farm ,it would be a great little car to build with your young teen ,could drive around on the farm

  6. Blyndgesser

    Hayabusa swap?

    • Ram Rod

      Thats what I was thinking

  7. URTOAST

    Forget Kevorkian, hayabusa swap this bad boy and go play in traffic…

  8. Jeff DeWitt

    I must be about the same age as Scotty. I remember this little car in PM from way back then, I thought it was pretty neat and I still do.

    Just can’t imagine driving this thing on I-40 though!

  9. Dairymen

    The nice thing is (for your family) if you get in a wreck they save on money for a coffin, cause you’re in 1 already!

  10. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    Looks like a leftover prop from an early ’80s Sci-Fi movie. I can picture this pulling up and Peter Strauss or George Peppard jumping out with lasers blazing…

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Or running around in the Martian tunnels in Total Recall.

  11. Mark

    Urba-car. In town. Non highway. In many cities, golf cart type vehicles are licensed to drive on streets posted 35mph.

  12. ron

    R.I.P – Rest in pieces

  13. Brakeservo

    Ok, time for a bad pun – styling is bad enough to maybe even make Geoff hack!

    There, I had to say it, hope someone gets it. Actually it doesn’t look any worse than so many similar efforts all done about the same time . . . but that still doesn’t mean it was a good idea then or now!

    • Geoff Hacker

      @Brakeservo….I like your post and pun :-) Guess what’s coming to Tampa, Florida next week…..Check out Facebook page for me. Best, Geoff

  14. Mark

    Flammable too !! No smoking

  15. Loco Mikado

    Looks like a mini Gremlin to me. I wonder if one of Harbour Freight’s 22 hp V2 would work with this.

  16. Dan

    Got a wiper and headlights! Almost there in Texas!

    • Clinton

      Don’t even need thay in the area of Tennessee I’m in now. They will let you license damn near anything.

  17. Alan (Michigan)

    Looks funny with the flares and wide tires/wheels. Originals on this car were skinny, and they fit under the body. the “roller skate” appearance is silly, even if any serious thought of running this car were to be entertained.
    I’m thinking that an electric version was around for a while, is that possible?

  18. Healeymonster

    I wouldn’t even bother with the gullwing doors. looks better without them. Maybe drop the body over a modified quad and put a roll cage in it. It would be a hoot to drive.

  19. Jay E.

    Any Polaris CVT drivetrain off an ATV would drop right in. The 300 single would send this to 50 mph and the 500 twin would probably do 80. But neither of these engines gets good fuel economy.

  20. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Remove the rear glass, toss a bag of clubs in, and you have a way cool golf cart!

  21. LAB3

    For $2500 you could easily get a running golf cart, some glass mat and resin then have a complete running machine that would be street legal here in Michigan.

  22. AMXSTEVE

    the first smart car

    • Jag-Yew-Arrrrrghhh

      With a dumb buyer.

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