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
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
But never has there been a sports amphibian – one that can run fast on both
roads and water. Until now.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
...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.
Did you enjoy this article?
Please consider supporting AutoSpeed with a small contribution. More Info...