As cars transition from combustion engines to gradual electrification, never have they been more advanced, luxurious and desirable than they are now. But that's not enough for some. The founder of Prodrive has just announced plans for an amphibious car to be put into production. Prodrive is a UK-based motorsport and advanced engineering group which designs, constructs and races cars for companies and teams such as Aston Martin, Mini and Volkswagen. Prodrive founder Dave Richards is also a member of the consortium that bought Aston Martin from Ford in 2007.
The idea to produce an amphibious car appears to have come from the Watercar Panther, an amphibious car developed in America that Richards owns and has now modified. His original intention was to take his modified design into production, but now he wants to create an entirely new amphibious car inspired by the modified Panther.The 2017 Watercar Panther. (Image: AFP Relaxnews)
Richards explains: "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." He then goes on to add: "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."
This isn't just a pipe dream, as a price of £150,000 ($196,000) is already being mentioned for a model that can be driven on the road, but with enough ground clearance to be able to enter the water and achieve speeds of up to 30 knots. A lot of torque is going to be needed for this dual-use model, so a powerful turbodiesel is likely to power the craft. On a realistic note, Richards admits the vehicle will inevitably have its limitations. Just as flying cars are not great cars or great planes, amphibious cars end up being "neither a great car nor a great boat."