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A Sports Car that Floats...

Fast on land and in the water!

Courtesy WaterCar

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Over the last 100-odd years of automotive development there have been plenty of amphibious vehicles – cars that can both roll on the road and also plough through the water. But most of them have been small, dorky cars that have been technically and commercially unsuccessful, with the best known being the 43hp Amphicar.

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Others, like the 6-wheel drive World War II military DUKW truck, performed very well in the specific – and unusual - conditions for which they were designed. The DUKW was powered by a 4.4-litre in-line six and weighed 7.5 tons.

But never has there been a sports amphibian – one that can run fast on both roads and water. Until now.

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The WaterCar – developed by American Dave March – can travel at road speeds of up to 125 mph (200 km/h) and still do 45 mph (72 km/h) on the water. Compare that with the Amphicar’s 75 mph on land and just 10-12 mph on water!

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The WaterCar is a fibreglass amphibious vehicle styled after the 2002 Convertible Camaro. The shell is based on a plug developed from a commercially available funny car body. However, the body has had massive modifications, including a 20cm nose extension to improve planing performance. A frame constructed of square section stainless steel tube provides the structural strength. The bottom is a shallow V-shaped fibreglass assembly with glassed-in timber strakes.

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The WaterCar is powered by a turbocharged 2.5 litre ex Impreza WRX 300hp Subaru engine that’s mounted in the boot. Yes, that’s right, this car is rear-engined! The transmission that drives the rear wheels is a Rancho Type I-4 speed manual.

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The four wheel independent suspension and brakes are based around late model C-4 Corvette with stainless steel rotors. Coil-over dampers replace the Corvette’s transverse leaf spring. The suspension incorporates 50mm diameter hydraulic rams that allow the suspension/wheel assemblies to be retracted while in the water. Bottom covers then extend over the wheel-wells.

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A Berkeley 12JE Jet Drive is used to push the WaterCar through the water. Interfacing the jet and the rear-drive gearbox with the engine is a custom designed transfer case that allows the wheels or the pump to be driven – or both at once, as is the case when entering and leaving water.

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The WaterCar has four usable seats and the doors are fully functional. The aircraft style lock assembly ensures the doors are completely water-tight for water operation. The WaterCar has a removable centre mount ski pole that makes it ideal for wake boarding or skiing.

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And if you want something that’s a bit more practical, check out the SUV-styled vehicle which is the latest March creation. Here’s what it looks like on land....

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...and on water where testing has indicated a top speed of 100 km/h!

About US$150,000 will get you a WaterCar – go to www.watercar.com for more details, including video of the car in action.

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