Molecular and electronic structures for four p-carborane derivatives were studied in the context of their liquid crystalline properties. Thus molecular and crystal structures of diheptyl and diheptynyl derivatives of 10- and 12-vertex bi-p-carboranes were determined by X-ray crystallography and compared to the results of ab initio calculations at the HF/6-31G* level of theory. Experimentally observed significant positional disorder of one of the substituents in the 10-vertex derivatives, 2a and 2b, was related to conformational properties of the alkyl-carborane bond. Experimental and theoretical studies of the electronic structures were conducted for the four compounds using UV and NMR spectroscopies. The nature of the unique long wavelength absorption band at 232 nm in the diheptynyl derivative 2b was explained using INDO/2//HF/6-31G* analysis. The complete assignment of the 13C signals was accomplished using a long-range coupling technique and was supported by the calculated (HF/6-31G*) isotropic shielding tensors. Analysis of absorption spectra, NMR substituent effects, and trends in bond lengths shows generally strong cage-acetylene electronic interactions for the 10-vertex p-carborane, while the 12-vertex p-carborane remains largely electronically isolated. Ab initio calculations revealed that 12-vertex p-carborane has significantly larger electronic polarizability and quadrupole moments than the 10-vertex analogues, which are larger than those for bicyclo[2.2.2]octane compounds. All these results on packing, conformational, and electronic properties form the basis for the discussion of thermal behavior of the four carborane compounds, bicyclo[2.2.2]octane analogues, and some related compounds.