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UrbaCar- 1977


If you saw an Urba-anything in Mechanix Illustrated magazine in the 1970s-80s, it was a surely a design by Robert Q. Riley and David L. Carey of Quincy, AZ, doing business as Quincy-Lynn Enterprises. The UrbaCar seen here was their first design for the magazine. Originally pitched to Popular Mechanics, the design was passed to Mechanix Illustrated due to too many perceived DIY projects at PM. Quincy-Lynn and Mechanix Illustrated hit it off, working together for 10 years, with Urba hovercraft, Urba electric trikes, and other Urba concepts offered periodically. Q-L is still in business at RQ Riley.com, offering all sorts of plans.
The UrbaCar was a response to the Arab Oil Crisis of the early 1970s, and it was hoped the car could reduce America’s dependence on OPEC-supplied oil. The original 1973 concept was built in Ontario, and nearly reached production, but was less refined than the plan- or kit-built car as seen here. Design concept to running prototype took one year; in that time the fuel crisis abated, and interest in a production run waned. However, many do-it-yourselfers were interested enough to purchase plans and kits through the magazine. About 20 kits, supposedly requiring only 30 or so hours of work, were sold, but many sets of plans were also purchased.
For a total cost of “around $1400”, one could build an UrbaCar in a home garage. Some square-section tubing, Styrofoam, fiberglass, a Kohler 16hp industrial engine/transmission, a steering box and various switches, latches, etc. were all that was required to build one’s own city runabout. It was fairly sophisticated, with a rubber-isolated subframe keeping the engine vibrations to a dull roar. Toothed-belt instead of a chain drive added to the isolation of the drivetrain. With a 650 pound curb weight, it offered a similar power-to-weight ratio as a VW Beetle.
If you think you’ve seen an UrbaCar, but can’t place quite where – have you seen the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Total Recall? Several UrbaCars were featured – the Centurion, Tri-Muter, Town-Car, Phoenix, and Boonie Bug, in addition to the Urbacar.

Manufacturer: Quincy-Lynn Enterprises
Country of Origin: USA
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Air-cooled Kohler single, 16hp
Transmission: Kohler integrated CVT; reverse by Ford car-starter motor
Top Speed: 60 (advertised)
Years Produced: Kits ca. 1975, plans still available
Number Produced: 1 prototype, approx. 20 kits, many plans
Cost: approx. $1400