Nguyen Manh Khanh (Quasar Khanh) was a Vietnamese inventor, engineer and designer known for his inflatable furniture line 'Aerospace', born in Hanoi in 1934 and moved to France at the age of fifteen. He was a serious engineer/Designer however, and with his wife Emmanuelle, a clothing designer had two children, Othello & Atlantique. Brought up in Paris, his expertise also extended to the engineering and design of hydro-electric Dams !.
In 1967, Universal Power Drives (UPD) were producing the Unipower GT and Quasar Khanh approached them to build a utility vehicle that very much mirrored his flair for designing transparent furniture of all shapes and sizes.
The 'Cube' as it was nicknamed, had seating for six (sometimes with inflatable seats) with a rear mounted automatic Mini engine and a vertical steering wheel. The glass sides and roof made it ideal for use in factory warehouses and as a promotional vehicle. It’s actually not a cube, being the only car ever produced known to actually be wider (66″) then long (64″). Height? a towering 74″. Powered by a BMC 1100cc engine with an Automatic transmission, the Cube had a top speed of around 50 mph and cost around £900 at the time.
One imagines however that it would get pretty hot inside in the sunshine, not forgetting that the occupants were very much on display. The dress code for girls of the time, certainly turned heads in town although a modesty panel was available !.
The 'Cube' also featured in a French comedy film called 'Elle Boit Pas, Elle Fume Pas, Elle Drague pas, Mais... Elle Cause !' (She Does Not Drink, Smoke or Flirt But... She Talks !). Staring Mireille Darc, she drove the car dressed very much in period, with long white boots !.
Quasar Khanh would return to his native country to help rebuild the economy after the Southeast Asian wars. He designed a number of products and consulted with emerging industries, passing away in Hi Chih Minh City in 2016. His wife, Emmanuelle, would soon follow him, passing just eight months later in February of 2017.
It is thought that as many as 15 Quasar Unipower 'Cube' cars were made, with 13 being exported to France and sold mostly to major motor manufacturers. The surviving cars still remain in France and with many now reaching 'cult' status, are being restored to as new condition.