UrbaCar was featured on
the cover of Mechanix Illustrated magazine in April, 1975, and started a build-it-yourself
car boomlet that would last nearly ten years. It was the first in a long
series of alternative cars that would be developed for Mechanix
Illustrated magazine by Quincy-Lynn Enterprises in Phoenix, Arizona.
UrbaCar was envisioned as an in-town runabout that would help reduce dependence on
imported oil - a precursor to today's alternative cars like Smart Car.
UrbaCar nearly reached production in Kitchener, Ontario. The lead
photo shows the pre-production design, which was again modified after it
was delivered to the Kitchener group.
The original prototype,
as it appear in Mechanix Illustrated, was powered by a 12
kW (16 hp) single cylinder industrial engine mounted in the rear. It delivered a top speed
of 95 km/h (60 mph) and fuel economy on the order of 23 km/l (55 mpg).
Using today's automotive technology, it could easily reach 100 mpg. The design featured
removable gull-wing doors and a 10 gallon fuel tank that would hold enough
nearly 965 km (600 mi).
UrbaCar tips the scales at a mere 295 kg (650 lb). Because
of its low curb weight, the
small 12 kW (16 hp) engine still gives it a power-to-weight ratio about equal to that of
the early VW Beetle. And more powerful engines can be installed. The simple drive train uses a continuously variable transmission
(CVT), which transfers power to an oil-bath chain drive and then through a differential to
the rear wheels. A standard automotive starter motor drives the car in reverse. The
integral power train (engine, transmission, and final drive mounted on a sub-frame) is
suspended from the rear of the chassis at four points using soft rubber mounts. This
allows for easy removal of the drive package, and it effectively isolates vibrations.
Ultimately, UrbaCar went through three generations of improvements.
The perfected version was slated for
production in Kitchener, Ontario, until public interest in high fuel
economy vanished as the oil market stabilized. Plans offered here include the
previously unpublished and vastly improved production chassis.
A non-functional UrbaCar
is on display at the American Museum of Science and Energy at Oak Ridge,
UrbaCar's body is built of FRP/urethane foam composite. For more information on the
body construction method, click on One-Off Construction Using
FRP/Urethane Foam Composite. Click on the images to the left to view large images.
Click here for more on the history of UrbaCar, published on the
Forgotten Fiberglass website. Be sure to follow their link to a
video of the pre-production prototype on the road in Canada (incorrectly labeled
as the "first electric car").
About the Plans
Plans are based on an upgraded chassis design and done in 2D CAD. These
revised plans include improvements to the chassis and power train that
were developed over three generations of prototypes. The frame and
final drive package is the pre-production design that went to Kitchener,
Ontario, in anticipation of production. The body is the original
fiberglass-over-foam body on the vehicle that appeared in Mechanix
Illustrated Magazine. Until this revised plan-set was published,
the new chassis design was not available to the general public.
Plans may be purchased as one of three
In electronic form on
CD-ROM - $50.
In printed form, which
includes ten 24 x 36 inch drawings & a 36-page booklet. - $75
Both electronic CAD files on CD-ROM
& printed materials. - $100
For maximum compatibility, CAD plans are supplied in AutoCAD R12 level dxf format.
|Length: 116-inch (2946 mm)
Width: 55 inch (1397 mm)
Height: 48 inch (1219 mm)
F. Track: 49 inch (1244 mm)
R. Track: 51 inch (1295)
Weight : 650 lbs (295 kg)
|Engine: Kohler 16 hp@3600 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 10 gallon
Seating: Two, side-by-side
Fuel Cons: 55 mpg/23 km/l
Range: 550 mi/885 km
Max. Speed: 60 mph/95 km/hr