The Terra Wind Amphibious RV Can Drive 80 mph on Land and 7 Knots in Water

It sounds like a creation that could only exist in the details of a science fiction story. The Terra Wind is a vehicle that can move both as a camper and a boat. However, amphibious vehicles are a thing of the present, albeit at a considerable price point. These hybrid vehicles have come a long way in recent years as amphibious technology has improved, the most impressive of them being the Terra Wind from Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International (CAMI). Although there are still some restrictions to the products CAMI offers, they are still an incredible feat of technology and imagination. 

Amphibious vehicles have been around for a long time

The Terra Wind amphibious motorcoach RV model traveling through water
The Terra Wind amphibious motorcoach RV model | Mark Gail/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

The first example of amphibious vehicles arose as early as the 18th century when royals used them as carriages and they first became motorized in 1805. Amphibious vehicles took another leap in the 1870s after the invention of alligator tugs, boats that could pull themselves over short stretches of land with the help of a winch. 

In the 1920s, these vehicles began to find more utility as a military tool as search and rescue vehicles. During World War II, the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, which had a top speed of 6 mph on water and 50 mph on land, popularized the concept. They were also used to transport important goods. 

The most popular amphibious vehicle for civilian use is the Amphicar, which entered production in the 1960s. In modern times, manufacturers such as Gibbs and WaterCar have created vehicles that handle much better and can reach more impressive top speeds. (Gibbs’ four-wheel ATV, the Quadski, is now out of production.)

However, none of them compare to the extravagance of CAMI’s Terra Wind.

CAMI’s Terra Wind RV is extravagant


Modern Aquatic Amphibious Vehicles

John and Julie Giljam founded CAMI in 1998. Their company started by renting out personal watercraft from a LARC-V amphibious military vehicle. They soon got tired of that routine and sold off their rental equipment to start Cool Stuff Tours. The central piece of their new venture was the Hydra-Terra, a 49-passenger amphibious bus designed by John that managed to capture sales from all over the world. But their ambitions wouldn’t allow them to stop there. According to Jalopnik, the Giljans set out to make the Terra Wind an all-in-one RV and yacht.

The Terra Wind is 42.5 feet long, 102 inches wide, and has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. That makes the vehicle heavier than a school bus but lighter than a transit bus. The RV has a top speed of 80 mph on land and right knots on water. The Terra Wind can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 45 seconds, and while the right knots may not sound very fast, it is roughly the equivalent of a large yacht. 

The Terra Wind is fitted out with several amenities befitting the yacht comparisons. It has a large deck off the vehicle’s back that serves a dual purpose as a dock for personal watercraft. CAMI also goes the extra mile to ensure safety for people aboard the Terra Wind. It has a weather radar, sonar systems, onboard pumps, and inflatable pontoons to add stability. However, the main difference between a yacht and the Terra Wind is that the latter should not be taken out onto open water. CAMI recommends only using the vehicle in lakes and rivers. 

Other CAMI products include the Hydra Spyder, a four-seater amphibious roadster that has been speed-tested on land to 125 mph and reaches speeds up to 53 mph on water, and the Hydra Gator, a smaller vehicle in the style of a golf cart that is made for leisurely weekends with your friends. 

How much does the Terra Wind cost?

For all the features and capabilities that amphibious vehicles provide, the price to buy one for yourself is unsurprisingly steep. The Terra Wind is the most expensive example, starting at $850,000. Elsewhere, WaterCar products can be had for $158,000 or $198,000 if you want a custom job. These vehicles are readily available, but most of them remain out of the price range for most people. Amphibious ATVs represent a much more affordable option. For example, the Hydra Gator is available for about $60,000.