If someone likes to be out on the water, at one point or another, they have likely thought, wouldn’t it be nice to drive the car into the water like a boat? Of course, the Amphicar was famous for actually having done it. The Amphicar is certainly noteworthy of its accomplishment. However, it is not the only boat-car. There have been several made since then. Here are a few of these marine quality specialty vehicles.
GMC Jimmy car-boat
Youtube channel, Barcroft Cars, found a boat-car in Atlanta. It was made as a cheer project for an individual recovering from Cancer. She had challenged her husband to create it and gave him a year to do it. So, the husband bought an old GMC Jimmy with a running a 4.3-liter, V6. He also bought the shell to an old boat and began working on the project. $10,000, and one year later, he completed it and still drives it often. The wife gets a lot of cheer from seeing people’s reactions to the car-boat when it drives down the street. But, to be fair, no mention is made as to whether or not it can be used in the water, and it is a one-off specialty project.
This one may not qualify as a car-boat either. It is more like a go-kart boat. It was a one-off project created by a young man with an amphibious vision – he wanted to drive his powerwheels into the water. This may be the most inexpensive way to accomplish a car-boat project.
James Bond Lotus Esprit submarine
Some might recall that there was a James Bond movie from 1977 called, The Spy Who Loved Me. In it, there was a Lotus Esprit S1 sports car that turned into a submarine. That, of course, was fanciful. But, that car certainly inspired many afterward to dream of such things. In fact, Elon Musk bought the car in 2013 from RM Auction Battersea, and planned to update the car with power from Tesla motors to make it a working submersible vehicle.
WaterCar Panther, the modern Amphicar
The Panther, comes from WaterCar. The company challenged themselves to make a fast and reliable car-boat for the public. So, this is an actual production vehicle, unlike the three above.
It looks a lot like a Jeep Wrangler with wild fenders. Of course, it is not a Jeep Wrangler. The body of the Panther is a fiberglass hull made with Coast Guard approved, closed-cell styrofoam. It runs via a Honda V6. The Panther can truly drive from land to water without a problem. This is probably the closest example to the old Amphicar.
The is a half boat and half RV hybrid. The Boaterhome was a low volume production in the 1980s. Only 21 were produced. The Boaterhome is a combination of Econoline van and an RV, complete with fridge, bathroom, bed, etc.. It has been equated to a floating partybus. But, the Boaterhome is not really an amphibious vehicle since only the boat portion floats. The Econoline van has to stay on terra firma. However, the two together are certainly amazing to see.
Gibbs High-Speed Amphibious Vehicles
Gibbs Technologies Limited makes a variety of amphibious vehicles. They create platforms from cars and ATVs, to mopeds. The Gibbs examples are also true to the Amphicar formula.
For this article, we will concentrate on their Miata-like vessel called the Aquada. According to their website, the Aquada is a small open-top car capable of reaching 100 miler-per-hour on land and 30 miles-per-hour on the water.
As far-fetched as the concept of amphibious car-boats sound, it has definitely been in the minds of many people to try and create a modern version. The Amphicar of years passed only served to inspire more people to try and create their own samples. From a young man with a go-kart engine and an idea to more professional manufacturing companies, all of them are taking a stab at the idea to fulfills people’s dreams.