Forget Flying Cars, Let's Talk Water Cars

Amphibious vehicles or water vehicles, once relegated to the world of war, have gone commercial. Here’s what one company came up with.
Written by Alex Reale
Reviewed by Serena Aburahma
Amphibious vehicles, those wreckers of Paul Revere’s “one if by land, two if by sea” binary, isn’t exactly new to the scene. 
During World War II, the
U.S. Army
employed two major tank/boat combinations, one of which evolved into an amphibious vehicle that’s still in use today. Island-hopping, made possible by these clever fusions, turned out to be a crucial part of a winning war strategy.
But there’s something about the seamless transition from land to sea that appeals to hawks and doves alike.
looks at this
car technology
and how one company is putting the amp in water vehicles.

WaterCar gets its start

In 1999, a Southern California company called WaterCar began working on a project that, yes, involved putting cars on water. Its goal was to “build the world's fastest amphibious vehicle.” 
By 2010 the company had achieved its goal, with a model called Python, and was ready to take on the commercial sphere. 
This effort produced the Panther, and by 2016 Jay Leno was racing it across Castaic Lake, calling it “stupid fun,” reports
. And in 2022, WaterCar upped the ante once more, releasing the pretty crazy H1- Panther, which might just justify its $465,000 sticker price.

The H1-Panther

The H1-Panther is built from a Humvee base, and it shows: it looks like a cross between a Hummer and a Wrangler. The key difference is in the weight—and buoyancy. 
To float the H1-Panther, the heaviest parts of the Humvee base are switched out for lighter materials like aluminum and stainless steel, says
Auto Evolution
, and then foam cells provide the flourish. And we’ll all float on, alright.
But the H1-Panther doesn’t just bob around in the shallow end. WaterCar made the H1-Panther a bit of a monster.
It’s powered by the one-two punch of a Chevrolet LS3 Gas Engine and a Mercury Marine Bravo 2 Outdrive, says Auto Evolution, and can generate 395 hp. Translation: 70 miles per hour on land, 35 knots on water. 
And in case you were yawning at any of this, the H1-Panther will also happily take on your knottiest trails, thanks to its mud tires and four-wheel drive.
The water vehicle can go from a fearsome land crawler to a formidable seafarer in 20 seconds, which in practice means driving the car directly into the tide without stopping. It’s the stuff of science fiction. Plus, it’s approved by the Coast Guard!

Not quite ready for amphibious antics

The H1-Panther is, at this time, still in production, but you can get on the waitlist. And WaterCar doesn’t do financing, so be prepared to fork over a big pile of cash when your car-boat is ready. Then we’ll challenge you to two-thirds of a triathlon. 
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