Electrek UnCar Is a “Frankenstein” EV From 1979 – 100% Zero-Emission Ride

EVs right!? Currently, they're one of the fastest growing industries around. But, did you know that a Colorado based company built a Frankenstein of an EV back in 1979? Yeah, it’s called the Electrek UnCar and it’s from Unique Mobility.
1979 Electrek UnCar 22 photos
Photo: Aging Wheels via YouTube Screenshot
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A recent video from Aging Wheels, a YouTube channel that’s all about cars, is showing what very few in the world know about, the Electrek UnCar. And yes, just as the name would imply, it is an electric car from back in 1979.

The team behind it was and is Unique Mobility (UM) of Englewood, Colorado. Back in 1979, when some of us weren’t even around, the U.S. oil supply was threatened by the Iranian Revolution. In that moment, UM saw an opportunity to create a vehicle aimed at zero fossil fuel dependency. Did they succeed? Some say yes, while the market obviously says no.

What did we miss out on? Well, according to the Aging Wheels video and the hosts reactions while driving it, the UnCar seems like it offers a pretty joyful experience, especially when you consider it’s an EV before people even knew what those were.

1979 Electrek UnCar
The Electrek included a 32 hp motor from General Electric and is run by a Volkswagen Fox 4-speed manual transmission. The juice behind all this spunk are 16 6-volt batteries running in a series, which also powered the controller (custom built by Shunjiro Ohba of Soleq).

Best of all, it was rumored that the range for the UnCar was around 100 mi (161 km), but this was vaguely achievable if you drove at around 45 mph (72 kph) or less, even though the top speed for this EV is set at 75 mph (120 kph). But, owners have reported that it never made it past 65 mph (104 kph). Acceleration was said to offer an amazing 0-30 mph (0-48 kph) in just nine seconds. Can you believe it!?

According to, one of the very few sources existent for this car, even they aren’t sure of how many models are on the market; realistically speaking, only about fifty. At the time of availability, these puppies were available for purchase at around $25,000; quite a price for 1979.

1979 Electrek UnCar Motor
Photo: Aging Wheels via YouTube Screenshot
Aging Wheels shows us one of the three configurations that UM created, the panel van. The other two options are of a hatchback and a 2+2-seater. Upon entry, it looks like the host is having some time getting in. That's because the UnCar is made of a whole bunch of different parts for a wide range of vehicles.

The fiberglass body for the UnCar was built from the ground up by UM, but the rest of the car features a plethora of manufacturers. The windshield and rear taillights are from a Chevy Monza, front and rear axles are from the Volkswagen Rabbit, while the sunroof is from, wait for it, a Special Edition Triumph TR4; the rear hatch glass still includes the Mercury logo on it. No comment. Oh, the key you got for the car was a Volkswagen key, logo and everything still in place. The icing on the cake, is the heater, or, defroster system, furnished by nothing other than an era hairdryer. But it is a Gillette, so at least you’re covered.

1979 Electrek UnCar Key
Photo: Aging Wheels via YouTube Screenshot
As funny and odd as this EV looks and sounds, one backer for the project was good ol’ Carol Shelby, hoping that UM would be able to design an EV that hit 0-100 mph in ten seconds. Even though that never happened, today, UM does furnish companies like Audi and BMW with electric components.

Now, I'm not saying that the Electrek UnCar is the next generation of EV you’ll see on the streets, but for its time, it was an absolute wonder of a car, and probably even stood as a base upon which some modern EVS were developed. But not the bodywork obviously.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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