£150,000 car-boat inspired by the Watercar Panther could make production, with a torquey diesel engine and £150,000 price tag
Mark Tisshaw
2 August 2018

David Richards’ Prodrive engineering company is developing an amphibious car that could make production.

The idea is inspired by the Watercar Panther, a US-developed amphibious car. Richards bought a Panther for his own use and has since made modifications to it. While Richards originally intended to carry his adapted design through to production, he now wants to create his own amphibious car inspired by the Panther.

He said: “I went to see one in Los Angeles and was pleasantly surprised with the quality, so I bought one with the intention of importing some into Europe. But there’s lots of legislation, and it’s tricky for the EU with emissions and crash testing. Even single type approval had some insurmountable problems.

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“Now I’m inclined to do our own. We know about them, and I have some young engineers working on it – we’re all excited by it. I have a boat engineer looking at the hull.”

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The brief, says Richards, is to create a car that can be driven on the road with sufficient ground clearance and be able to travel at speeds of up to 30 knots on water.

It would be priced around £150,000, and Richards has his eyes on a diesel engine to power it. “It needs torque, so a good torquey turbodiesel is needed,” he added.

Richards said that much like flying cars that are neither ideal cars nor ideal planes, amphibious cars can be “neither a great car nor a great boat”.

He explained: “Make it too short and you have a bad boat, too long and you have a bad car. That’s inevitably the case, so you err towards making it a better boat, but you can still make it a better car.”

Richards has tested his Panther extensively over road, beach and water. He has even used it for waterskiing, but found it not to be suited to choppy waters.

“You drive it from the road to the beach, then into the water. Press some buttons and you have a boat,” he said.

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Comments
7

2 August 2018

Probably a paragraph could have been spent explaining what this is - rather than expecting readers to know (they won't) or toddle off to Wikipedia.

289

2 August 2018

.....I never had a customer who said I wish I had/I need a car which I can drive into the water!

Most sane people buy a boat and a car both of which work really well....sure there is half an hour of launching/retrieving the thing to the trailer, but thats all part of the game.

The original Amphicar failed for this reason too...it was neither a decent car or boat and it was expensive....as is the suggested £150k here.

2 August 2018
289 wrote:

.....I never had a customer who said I wish I had/I need a car which I can drive into the water!

Most sane people buy a boat and a car both of which work really well....sure there is half an hour of launching/retrieving the thing to the trailer, but thats all part of the game.

The original Amphicar failed for this reason too...it was neither a decent car or boat and it was expensive....as is the suggested £150k here.

And because it is neither a car, nor a boat, it will not be as good as either would be if they were just a car or a boat alone.

And as you say, you have never had any customers for one, because even if there was a flood/the bridge was out/the ferryman was on strike, would you really dare drive it into the water and across the flood/the estuary? Especially given what happened recently with the tragedy involving yet abother duck/dukw vehicle, this time in Missouri, killing 17 people.

2 August 2018

They can be quite handy in 'floodable' places like Holland.

And maybe Bangladesh?

 

289

2 August 2018

.....or I suppose closer to home - Somerset plains!

Cheaper to move home I would have theought, and it wont work well with submerged barbed wire fences either.

Myk

2 August 2018
johnSF wrote:

They can be quite handy in 'floodable' places like Holland.

And maybe Bangladesh?

I would suspect most Bangladeshi's have £150k to splash out (geddit?) on an amphibious car.

Still, as soon as the ice caps melt we'll all need one...

2 August 2018

...quote the value of someone's house, even, or especially, when it's not related to the story but...

"£150,000 car-boat inspired by the Watercar Panther could make production, with a torquey diesel engine and £150,000 price tag"

Any idea what this car-boat thing will cost?

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