Got a spare mil burning a hole in your pocket? Consider treating yourself to a Youabian Puma! The Puma is, for some, the ultimate sports car. For others, it’s a monstrous abortion, a tasteless incorporation of all the standard luxury-car accouterments borrowed from scores of other vehicles: “Dig those Buick Enclave tail lamps, bay-ha!” This markedly bizarre-looking, four-seater convertible is a full 242 inches long, 93 inches wide, 72 inches tall, and rides on a 163.5-inch wheelbase. Bigger even than that famous auto tart, the Bentley Mulsanne it cruises on 20-inch diameter chrome wheels garishly wrapped in 44-inch tires. “Why the fairly subtle Volvoish headlamps?” you want to know. “What’s with the hexagonal grille that looks like the inside of a rapper’s mouth?”
But let’s face it, I’m old school, set in my ways and here to report accurately in an, umm, unprejudiced manner. The fact is that this new car is thus far a massive success. They already have cars back-ordered for another two years, unless they decide to expand. The sky is the limit for the Puma, from its front winglets with extra fog lamps to its scooped-out doors and a rear fender that could easily be adjusted into a four-passenger kayak should the metal beast fall of a ferry. Custom-built luxury dream cars may seem like an anachronism in these times, but, just as manufacturing regulations and practical fuel demands force designs into an ever-tighter envelope, the Youabain Puma really, if nothing else, shows that a man with beaucoup bucks and a passion for cars can beat those billion-dollar automakers from Detroit, Stuttgart and Turin to the punch.
This 20-foot-long piece fiberglass slut is the seven-year brainchild of Los Angeles cosmetic surgeon Kami Youabian – who took five years to build it in his garage in Gardena – and actually costs US$1.1 retail. Built atop a steel and aluminum chassis with a fiberglass body, power comes from a 505-hp, 7-liter Corvette V-8, yoked to a six-speed automatic rear wheels drive. The 20-inch wheels carry 44-inch tires designed for cruising the desert as much as the boulevard, although on pavement the Puma claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds and, most shockingly, 22 mpg highway.
A sensation at the L.A. Auto Show, November 21-23, 2013, it is, as Dr. Youabian told Autoblog, “a pure and simple pleasure vehicle.” Its raw power comes from a 7.0-liter V8 (adapted fromGM’s LS7), 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque off its aluminum and steel chassis, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds, gets fourteen miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg highway. Loaded inside with creature comforts, it has a cabin that’s far more subtle than its exterior. Yes, included for your US$1.1m you get Bluetooth, voice-activated navigation, Sirius XM satellite radio, Xenon headlamps and a folding hardtop. For a pittance extra you can also customize the interior coloring.
Having invested millions of the fortune he has made re-sculpting the faces of an elite clientele from Beverly Hills, Palm Springs and Pasadena, Youabian dreams a patriotic scenario wherein the San Fernando Valley turns into a sports car manufacturing paradise encouraging those who spend their currency abroad on Maseratis, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces to keep their cash at home in the good ol’ USA. Anyway, should you want one and can afford the US$250,000 deposit, contact them through their website. Call today and it should be ready in eighteen months.