Bulbous Youabian Puma horrifies at L.A. Auto Show

Credit: Youabian Puma

When a radical new design hits the auto show floor, chances are there will be a gasp or two from the onlooking crowd. It's a reaction that automakers hope will translate to increased interest and sales down the road. But when the gathered crowd gasps in horror rather than reverence, their hands tend to grasp at their failing hearts rather than their check books.

This or something much like it must have been the scene at the L.A. Auto Show when the Youabian Puma was unveiled. Looking like a pummeled piranha skinned and sewn onto a mongoose, this intended luxury sports car is just about the worst thing we've ever seen on four wheels. Cannibalized parts from a bushel of production vehicles have been thrown together to create this Frankenstein's monster of a car. There's a Corvette engine, what looks like a Volvo interior and a pair of Buick taillights. Of course, since the car takes its name from its designer, L.A. plastic surgeon Dr. Kambiz Youabian, maybe we shouldn't be too surprised at how unnatural it looks.

This hodgepodge of parts has been carelessly thrown onto a frame that stands six feet high, eight feet wide and a whopping twenty feet long. But even these massive dimensions are somehow squandered when it comes to interior space. Leg room is worse overall than your average family sedan. Situated on 44-inch all-terrain tires, it almost appears that the Youabian Puma was conceived as an off-road vehicle — until you consider its nine inch ground clearance.

Equally dismal are the vehicle's fuel consumption statistics. Rated at just 22 miles per gallon highway and an awful 14 miles per gallon in the city, this awkward lummox of a car will have you refueling every 250 miles or so. Even the acceleration is nothing to smile about, as the "Puma" takes a full six seconds to get up to 60 miles per hour.

All this can be yours for the bargain basement price of just $1.1 million. In part it is this price that has a number of people out there hoping that the Youabian Puma is actually just some rich eccentric's idea of a joke. We don't blame them, either. Checking out the car's website, we can't help but notice that the layout looks a lot like those of the old Geocities websites from the days of Internet yore. Still, if you're a collector of rare cars, we can assure you that the Youabian Puma will definitely be a rare sight tomorrow's garages.

Puma-Automobiles, via NPR

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