Urba diesel centurion

In the February 1982 issue of Mechanix Illustrated there was an article with 5 reasons to build the URBA Centurion. (No, it is not titled as a URBAN Centurion)

1. Gets up to 128 mpg on diesel fuel

2. Has a top speed of 65 mph

3. Costs $4000 complete

4. Easy to construct

5. Looks sensational

I am curious if anyone out there in our ever changing auto universe ever built one or knew of someone who had and what the out come was?

It requited a Kubota b750-BB 3 cyl engine which did 17hp @3,000 rpm.

Was anyone able to do the finish that the magazine illustrated?

Years back, maybe 10 to 15 yrs, I bought 2 Triumph Spitfires (basket cases) and they have been getting more and more rusty out in the field, waiting for the make over. I have searched for the plans and booklet that MI Plans did back then, but abexchange nor amazon lists anyone who has them for sale. Would be interested in running them down, doubtful that I would ever do anything about it, other than put on that endless list of “to do s”


17hp? Yikes! I think I’d spend some of my $4000 (1982 $$, what is that, $10,000 today?) on a nice 100 mpg scooter, keep the change, probably be safer.

Is Mechanix Illustrated still in print?

Mechanix Illustrated changed its name to Home Mechanics. It seemed to me that another company published it in later years. I haven’t seen Home Mechanics on the news stands for years. I think the beginning of the end was when Tom McCahill died and no longer did autombile tests nor had a column.


You have two Spitfires rusting away waiting to be started?
And you want to add to that a kit that was sdvertised in a magazine 27 years ago?

Is this for real?

I like the OP. I’m glad I’m not the only old geezer that lives in the past.

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This magazine is still in print, and it might help you with your “field ornaments”: http://www.triumphspitfire.com/

Update: Mechanix Illustrated became Home Mechanix in 1984, was renamed Today’s Homeowner in 1996 and ceased publication with the March/April issue in 2001 according to Wikipedia.

The publication began in 1928.

I’ll have to include myself in the old geezer category. And I actually preferred the past. Technology has its downside.

I was reading last night a Popular Mechanics magazine from July (perhaps August) 1994. I saved it because it has an article about a fully operating 1/4 scale V8 engine. It could be purchased with a scaled down GMC blower, eight “carbs” with chromed downtubes, or one “carb” with a basic chromed round air cleaner. It could be gotten with headers and lakepipes or scale “stock” manifolds with exhaust pipes.

It had everything. A camshaft, pushrods, lifters, a crank, pistons, rings (one per piston), a cooling system, everything but an oil system. It operated basically the same as a RC engine, with glow plugs (wires coming out of a faux distributor). Blowby lubed the lower end, as in an RC engine.

The cars that could be purchased with it were a “T” body hot rod or a scale Shelby Cobra. Two piston hydraulic disc brakes on each wheel. Independent front suspension (double A-frame). A functional starter motor assembly.

All operated by remote control.

I pulled it from my bookshelf on the way to the “reading room”. Perhaps the OP and I share a similar habit.

the Same mountain bike: Amen…I have a basket next to the “chair” in the reading room with the magazines plus at least 1 or 2 road atlases. I take a motor trip at least every sitting. Actually, I just came back from a 6,116 mile round trip from NW Ohio to Glenoma, Washington. I towed a '98 Dodge Caravan handicaped modified van out to a Viet Nam Vet amputee who needs to use a wheelchair more and more as his remaining body parts are wearing down. I went straight up Michigan to the Mackknaw Bridge then got onto US 2 and headed West. I wanted as few steep grades as possible and didn’t want all the truck traffic of the Interstates. My 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 pulling the van on a towdolly got 14mpg going and 19mpg on the home leg with the tow dolly dismantled and loaded on the truck bed. Towing I usually do 55 to 60mph and on the home leg usually do about 60 max.

At this moment I have a 1927 Model T Ford, untouched in my pole barn waiting to get started plus a 1936 Ford 5 window coupe, plus a 1936 Chrysler, 1972 AlfaRomero Spider, a TR 6 plus the two Spitfires. Plus all kinds of junks I won’t even mention. I am a geezer of 72 now and i tell everyone, I have to live to be 150 years just to finish 1/2 of what I have already started.

Oh, I almost forgot, I totally refurbished a basket case, 1940 Buick Roadmaster Convertable. I did about 10% of the scut work than real pro Doug Seybold in Cleveland did the real work.

Don’t you think the Art museums of all our towns should show the real art of our country, the cars, trucks, machinery, tractors, etc. etc. and not the barf some schizo has splashed on a wall as art.

RockyDinky…maybe I got a wif of Agent Orange in Nam…

Well, doesn’t sound like you should be asking us questions, we should be asking you! Quite a neat collection you have there. I keep thinking of various interesting ‘projects’, but my main one (a teenage son) is enough to keep me busy right now. In a few years…

I have the plans and the book if you’re still interested. I have just listed them on Amazon.