Episode 3: The Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan, A Weird Looking Rear-Entry Sedan Fom 1967

Bruce Mohs, an inventor and industrialist from Wisconsin, had many admirers - “Imagine you could meet Thomas Edison”, one of his fans once said about him. Originally, Mohs’ company only produced seaplanes, but in the 60s he dabbled as an universal genius.

Episode 3: The Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan, A Weird Looking Rear-Entry Sedan Fom 1967

Bruce Mohs, an inventor and industrialist from Wisconsin, had many admirers - “Imagine you could meet Thomas Edison”, one of his fans once said about him. Originally, Mohs’ company only produced seaplanes, but in the 60s he dabbled as an universal genius. From reflectors over mini scooters to floating sidecars - Bruce Mohs invented loads of things. And apparently, bike sidecars that could double as boats were exactly what the people wanted at that time.

From there on, it was only a small step to the Opera Sedan. It was the year 1967, and Mohs had countless patents for his safety inventions. To put them into perspective, he wanted to gather them all in a self-made luxury car. With ambitious plans in his mind, he started working on the project. It all began with the chassis of an old International Harvester truck on which he built his masterpiece within nine months. It cost him $13,000 to create the Opera Sedan, but once it hit the road for the first time, it became apparent that the car had one big flaw: The ingenious safety features were overshadowed by the exterior design, as the car was unforgivingly misproportioned and therefore looked extremely weird.

Whilst the Opera Sedan had around the same length as a Cadillac DeVille from the same era, it was much higher and a whopping 25 cm (10”) wider. And whilst said Cadillac left the factory on 15” wheels, the Opera Sedan boasted with 20” rims on nitrogen-filled tires. Mohs once said in an interview: “I knew that the Bugatti Royale had a 1.8 meter long hood, that’s why I extended it a bit towards the front. You always need to put your opponents in their place!”

Mohs also enjoys to point out the 31 patented safety features in his car - from a windscreen that pops out in a collision over extra-bright taillights to seats that tilt backwards in case of an accident. “I was always crazy about safety”, he says. And to add a bit of French flair to the Opera Sedan, he gave it the surname “Ostentatienne” - based on the English word “ostentatious”, which indeed describes this car pretty well.

Getting into this car is also rather unconventional. Instead of doors on either side, the Ostentatienne comes with one big door on the rear - you open it upwards similar to the door in a private jet, then fold down the built-in stair from the bumper, and finally walk through the aisle towards the front of the cabin. Yes, you heard that right: the “aisle” - This is where the extra 25 cm in width compared to a usual car really come into play. The weird door layout is to be blamed on the side crash protection: with some big steel bars running along the side of the car, it was simply not possible to fit any doors there.

Once arrived at the front, the driver is greeted by walnut wood with gold inlays, velvet upholstery and red carpets in the style of the Ming Dynasty. The transparent roof and the huge windows let lots of light into the interior, which also boasts with several unusual features like a butane gas powered mini fridge, a CB radio system or controls for the spotlights mounted on the mirrors.

Mohs started selling the Ostentatienne Opera Sedan in 1967, for $19,600 to $25,600, depending on the configuration - at least in this aspect the car reached Rolls-Royce level. It’s not much of a surprise that nobody bought one. It was just too unusual, too big, and too expensive.

Therefore, the only Opera Sedan ever to be built was the original prototype - which Bruce Mohs used as his daily driver for the next few years. This caused some seriously funny events, for example when he interrupted the campaign speech of Nelson Rockefeller in 1968 - simply by driving by in the Ostentatienne. Or when a TV team in Texas confused him with a rock star.

Other than that, the car was also used to pick up potential customers of the Mohs Seaplane Corporation from the airport, for example Johnny Carson or Tom Jones. Bruce Mohs also often talks about his girlfriend Grace Kelly, with two number plates on the Ostentatienne - one from Wisconsin, one from Monaco - corroborating the story. The Opera Sedan was stored in Mohs’ car museum, right next to Mohs’ “German Restaurant” - if you ordered something to eat, you got invited to visit the museum for free.

In the 80s however, the sun went down over the Mohs empire. The Ostentatienne was locked away in a garage, and myths about what might have happened to the quirky vehicle started to emerge. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that someone knocked onto Bruce Mohs’ door: It was a man called Fred Beyer. It quickly became apparent that he and Mohs were cut from the same cloth. Beyer was an instructor for upcoming car mechanics, dabbled as an inventor, built Hotrods, drove speed boats and player ragtime-piano in night clubs. Mohs, at that point aged 76, trusted him when Beyer claimed that he could rebuild the car with his students, and gave it into their hands.

Beyer pulled the 2.6 ton monstrosity out of its grave, the former Museum. The windows were cracked, the paint was chipping, and there was rust everywhere. The interior wasn’t much better - “like in grandma’s basement”, Beyer said. In the 70s, the Opera Sedan had been repainted from gold to blue - that’s why for a long time it was thought that more than one car existed.

The restauration of the drivetrain turned out to be easier than expected: The students from the Freedom High School only had to overhaul the carburetor and fill the original tires back up with nitrogen - the 5-liter International Harvester V8 was still in good shape. The cosmetic work however caused more of a hassle: After stripping the blue and gold paint, they found several layers of metal-reinforced fiberglass - once marketed as a safety feature by Bruce Mohs, it now made the restauration a lot more difficult.

By mid 2009, the car had been painted in the original gold color and was ready to be presented to its inventor and owner. “For him, it was a walk down memory lane”, Beyer remembers. “He had tears in his eyes.”

Feel free to check out Episode 1 and Episode 2 of this series if you haven’t already!

What do you think of this crazy car? Comment below!
Tobi aka The Stig’s German Cousin


Carguyken 918

Really weird

02/04/2018 - 11:06 |
2 | 0

Indeed, probably the weirdest American car ever built!

02/04/2018 - 11:16 |
4 | 0


02/04/2018 - 11:07 |
2 | 0
German Perfectionist

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks 😊

02/04/2018 - 11:17 |
4 | 0
Rekord 86

I know, it’s weird, but I want it

02/04/2018 - 11:10 |
30 | 0
German Perfectionist

In reply to by Rekord 86

I know right? It’s weird, but that also makes it very cool!

02/04/2018 - 11:16 |
4 | 0
CarMonkey 1

Great read as always, but I think you mean whopping:

02/04/2018 - 11:13 |
2 | 0

Glad you enjoyed it! Also, idk why I always spell this word wrong - fixed it now, thanks ;)

02/04/2018 - 11:17 |
2 | 0
Richard the edition 100

looks bizzare

02/04/2018 - 12:56 |
0 | 0

Indeed! (BTW: This is a proper article, read and learn xD)

02/04/2018 - 13:40 |
2 | 0
hummerinator (Suzuki samurai, lada niva & iveco daily lover)

Is so weirddddd i just love it!!!

02/04/2018 - 13:12 |
2 | 0

This car is Doug DeMuro’s wet dream xD But yeah I also like it because of jow quorly it is!

02/04/2018 - 13:40 |
2 | 0
German Perfectionist


02/04/2018 - 16:29 |
0 | 0
Simon Wyatt (four arm squad)

Doug DeMuro needs to get a hold of of this car…

02/04/2018 - 18:30 |
24 | 0

A quirky machine for YouTube’s Quirkmachine! xD

02/04/2018 - 20:31 |
6 | 0

He would instantly nut from the amount of quirks

02/25/2018 - 00:08 |
2 | 0

how do you know of all these crazy unheard of cars?

02/04/2018 - 18:31 |
2 | 0
German Perfectionist

In reply to by ATOGI_28

Thanks to a lot of research in old car magazines and dark, dusty corners of the internet xD Or, as in this case, I remembered the name of the car because I once read an article about it, looked it up on Google, then found it in a car magazine from 2011 (which we still had lying around), and after some addtional reasearch I could write the article about it :D

02/04/2018 - 20:29 |
4 | 0
Freddie Skeates

Ostentatienne is a very appropriate name

02/04/2018 - 19:28 |
2 | 0

Indeed, “ostentatious” just describes it so perfectly xD

02/04/2018 - 20:32 |
2 | 0

Sponsored Posts