(first posted 7/22/2014) Unhappy about today’s cars with high belt lines, excessive lengths and poor visibility? It was different once upon a time…
The years 1967-1968 were fertile ones in terms of creativity, imagination, or just…breaking through to the other side. We saw one extreme automotive expression of that in the Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan, a decidedly American vision/hallucination of sorts. In Europe, that took rather other forms, more suitable to the conditions there, like the 1968 Quasar Unipower. What better to go with mini skirts than a glass cube of a car to be seen wearing it? Was a sugar cube its inspiration?
The late sixties did encourage free thinking, so why not a car built around three sliding patio doors? French-Vietnamese designer Quasar Khanh had that thought, and acted upon it, using BMC 1100 running gear with the engine now in back, to create the ultimate city car. It’s actually not a true cube, being the only car ever produced known to be wider (66″) then long (64″). Height? A towering 74″. Safety? Presumably the sliding doors were made with tempered glass; wouldn’t want to cut up those pretty legs.
And just to enhance the see-through effect, the seats were made of inflatable clear plastic. It just needed The Visible Man and Woman to be driving it. And The Visible V8 to power it.
Not surprisingly, the French bought the lion’s share (13) of the fifteen Quasars actually produced. Maybe the Brits thought it a bit too daffy. It thus seems that the Unipower was more viable on the market than the Ostentatienne; is that a reflection on the cars themselves, or the French willingness to embrace bold new ideas?
At least one Unipower is still at it, doing what it does best: showing off pretty young women. But where are the mini skirts?
Mr. Khanh would later achieve notoriety as the designer of the Popemobile…
Who the heck would want to ride on a greenhouse on wheels? Man that 60’s LSD was a trip, in your 1968 Quasar Unipower
I imagine a rollover would be a painful proposition. Especially with those skimpy skirts!
Glass would need to be tinted on the gulf coast. But then, what would be the point. Come ot think of it, what is the point anyway…..oh yeah, look at me.
Was a sugar cube its inspiration?
Depends on the content of the sugar cube.
That thing would need a heckuva defroster in a cold climate.
Chrysler should have bought these by the boatload in the 80s, and put one in every one of its showrooms. The late 80s K cars would have looked positively swoopy in comparison.
Some might say the car IS the showroom; as for what’s “for sale”, well…
Nicely said – and wonderfully un-PC. How 60’s.
They remind me a certain, er…product display situation you can see in parts of Amsterdam.
…and here we have the ultimate post-modern car.
It really is. Reminds me of the impractical-but-thought-provoking designs of Archigram, a bunch of designer/architects active around the time this car was made.
There was a circa-’70 building on my college campus nicknamed “the flash cube,” as it looked basically like this, except tinted. Funny that students there today wouldn’t know what a flash cube is.
It’s the Mies van der Rohe Edition Mini! Park it next to the Farnsworth House in Ilinois.
Sliding doors on a golf cart. I could see this doing well in Amsterdam, with red mini skirts and directions to a nearby ‘hostess center’. Just don’t let Nader see this.
Verrrrrrry interesting. But stupid. (Just a flashback.)
You don’t get more “1968” than Laugh-In. I’ll drink to that! 🙂
You bet your sweet bippy I will!
These are fun to look at but I prefer Unipower’s other car, the Unipower GT which used a mid mounted Mini Cooper engine and transaxle.
Same Unipower! I never made the connection before.
This could actually have used a shortened version of the GT chassis (spaceframe)!
Nice call Robert, too. I see the transparent seats haven’t survived in the last car pictured.
Precisely the car to drive to a Halloween party while wearing a Wonder Woman costume!
Morris 1100? yeah nar its riding on early Mini Cooper wheels an Mini hubcaps, handy as a display case or to move and grow your illegal dope crop around in I guess.
If ever there was a vehicle that needed a modesty panel…
Installing a mobile phone in a car is ONE approach….making a phone booth you can drive is another! Looks like its a real handler on those curves at anything over 10 mph….
Seen this in the back page of this month Top Gear magazine. Not the same of course, yours has alot more information. But gotta wonder if you seen it there too.
I gave up reading magazines quite a while back…no time; little interest. I just remember this car from way back.
Brought to you by the Owens Corning World of Glass Pavillion
So instead of a man crashing his car while looking at a pretty woman on the sidewalk, you’d have a man looking at a pretty woman in this car–and then walking into a lamppost.
So what’s the deal with girls (sorry, that’s what we called them until they were over 35 or so) looking oh-so-fine in the 60s? Miniskirts, short shorts, and those hairdos?
I need a time-travel machine!
So very late to this, but I thought it was too good not to mention…
Here’s a far more modest, but similar, take on this concept from the nineteen oughts. A glassy upright box for fancy ladies to be seen driving in the city:
I’m surprised Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt didn’t each have a fleet of them!
It seems to me that there should be a payphone in the corner of this car.
Waiting for the inevitable question of “What’s a payphone?”
Great! So there I am, driving along the street in my Qasar Unipower when, oh, I need to scratch my crotch. Wait! Even better! I roll up to my girlfriend’s house after a date and we start to get amorous. Remember the old poem: “Don’t kiss by the garden gate. Love is blind, but the neighbors ain’t.” At least by the garden gate there might be a trellis of vines to hide you. I think that the attached photo is from France. The problem is solved? One Way glass all around just like this toilet. Just as creepy!
Random funny, when my son was a freshman in engineering school had a drafting class assignment to draw a car so he drew a Unipower Quasar because it’s basically a single box.
It may also be the only car designed by a Vietnamese.