Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. K. Youabian had a dream- to design a car that is unlike anything ever made before at the very top of the exotic luxury market. That car is the Youabian Puma, pictured above. That picture doesn’t quite show the size of this exotic wild beast, so check out the image from Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik, who described the car, which costs $1.1m as “terrifying”, below:
The car made its debut at the L.A. Auto Show and caused a stir among auto journalists who got the chance to flex their prose muscles with lines like “It’s like if an elephant with elephantiasis got a vivid blue paintjob and then set out to systematically murder all of LA” from the aforementioned Torchinsky (whose whole review is full of amazing turns of phrase like that one), and “the blue monstrosity dubbed the Youabian Puma can be filed under the bizarre category” by the LA Times’ W.J. Hennigan. Others called it “Scary”, “impressive”, and “Larger than life”.
Some of that may be true, but we find it impressive that someone without known experience in the auto industry could create something so different from the norm and capture so much attention at a show dominated by Mercedes, Nissan, and the other massive global auto makers. We’re fascinated by the project, its origins, and goals and had to know more, so we reached out to Dr. Youabian for this Q&A, which we hope you’ll enjoy. Keep reading for a special comment from the designer at the end which addresses his critics and explains some of the thinking behind this incredible new entrant in the ultra-luxury automobile market.
What was the inspiration for the Puma?
No one seems to think outside the box these days. Everyone is caught up in making sports cars and making them faster and faster. To the super wealthy, it has become boring. That is why the Youabian Puma has come to be. I hope that the Puma will push other people to think outside the box. Start being different and not just following everybody else.
Who designed the car, and what are some of the designer’s influences?
Dr. Youabian is the designer. I remember when I was growing up in Los Angeles, I used to be awed when I saw a Lamborghini Countach in the streets. That’s because they were rare and different at that point in time. Somewhere along the years, Ferrari and Lamborghini started making so many cars that they lost that uniqueness. Now a days, if you drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini in the streets of Los Angeles, no one really cares. You are just like everyone else who owns one, and there are plenty of them around. These cars may still be rare and unique in some parts of the world, but in Los Angeles and many other parts of the US they are not.
It’s been said the car can go where others can’t. Can you elaborate?
We do not claim this statement. It has fairly large tires and it can go offroad. But it was mainly designed for street driving.
How many Pumas do you plan to sell of this model?
10-20 per year.
Are future models planned?
Who is the Puma buyer?
Very wealthy individuals who are bored with owning multiple exotic sports cars.
Statement from the Designer:
The design of the Youabian Puma was based on feedback from many wealthy individuals around the world who wanted something different and unique. And I am not just talking about someone who mortgages their home in order to buy a Ferrari, I am talking about super wealthy people. Those people who have so much money that they don’t know what to do with it. These individuals have owned every exotic sports car that ever existed, and they are frankly bored with sports cars. There are dozens of super fast exotic sports cars out there, and more come out every year. And after you have owned a few, they all start feeling and looking the same. The Puma’s goal is not to be the fastest in the world, but to be the most unique, just like its owners.
The general public will probably never understand this and many will probably lash out with negative criticism. That is perfectly OK. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The bottom line is that the Youabian Puma was never made for the general public. It was made for a very unique and select group of individuals.
The Puma’s goal was not to be the fastest in the world. People these days seem to judge cars by how fast they go. Does that truly matter? How many Veyron owners do you think have ever driven their cars to the top speed? Even if they did, they probably had to overhaul their engine. Does it really matter if your car can do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds or 4.0 seconds? Every automobile manufacturer these days has models of vehicles that can match, if not surpass Ferrari and Lamborghini’s speed figures. It’s not that hard these days to take an engine and twin turbo charge it, put it into a light frame, and have a super fast car that can outperform the fastest sports cars out there.