There have been many who had a vision for a car that could drive on land and also on the water. The concept of an amphibious car, in fact, has been around since the very beginning of cars and there have been capable mass-produced versions like the American LVT Buffalo during World War II. There was also the Amphicar in the 60s. Today, some of the most interesting amphibious models come from WaterCar, based in Southern California.
The company, founded by Dave March in 1999, holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest amphibious vehicle. WaterCar has 27 amphibious car-related patents and several models like the 2013 Panther with a Jeep Wrangler body. It was also featured in a Daddy Yankee music video.
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The most recent WaterCar ‘water car’ is the H1-Panther built around the original Hummer chassis. The team completely disassembled and restored it with new lightweight parts like aluminium or stainless steel instead of heavy steel and cast iron. The SUV was added with bespoke components that help it float, like a 6061 aluminium hull and closed foam-filled flotation cells.
WaterCar wanted the Humvee to perform on both land and water, for which the H1 needed adequate power which it gets from a Chevrolet LS3 engine and it gets a Mercury Marine Bravo 2 Outdrive complete with a heavy-duty, stainless steel propeller.
So, the amphibious Humvee boasts 395 hp and 508 Nm of torque from the Chevy powerplant alone. The floating truck can easily 112 kph on the highway and 35 knots (65 km/h) on water. According to the company, the transition from truck to boat and vice-versa takes close to 20 seconds.
The Humvee boat doesn’t lose its off-road capabilities either and continues to use it 4WD system on tough land terrain, riding on custom suspension that offers 10 inches of ground clearance, and 35-inch off-road tyres.