The WaterCar Panther has a manufacturer-claimed land top speed of 80 mph and maxes out at 45 mph on the water. Panther was Fountain Valley, California-based company that built the amphibious WaterCar for people of means who needed something a little different in their on-road and on-the-water transportation. Christoffer tells me to take it out of first gear and push down a separate alloy lever on the floor. gearbox-mounted transfer case. With no power we are a sitting duck. "It'll never be the world's best car, and it'll never be the world's best boat," Selby said. "Here in southern California, it's a natural progression that we would go off-roading in the wintertime and watersports in the summer.". Under its lightweight skin, WaterCar recommends that owners endow their Panthers with either a 3.5- or 3.7-liter, six-cylinder Honda engine. The first thing you notice about the Panther is its distinct resemblance to a Jeep pickup truck, down to the flat-faced front and its signature taillights. On the street, the Panther is unremarkable as a vehicle. WaterCar doesn’t advocate using it for much more than local drives and really not for freeway use. This one is their runabout.
On the dash, right by a sign that says ‘Land’ (which reverses the process), is the Water button. The Panther is, in most regards, as easy to drive as any passenger car with no power steering and a manual gear box. Avoiding the barnacled yacht tied up on the same slipway we are using to access Dublin harbour, watching out for a swan nuzzling seaweed at the water’s edge and aware of a 40,000-ton cruise liner almost filling my further field of vision I engage first gear and drive, as you do, into the ocean towards the ship. “The most important thing,” he says in a sing-song Scandinavia accent but with an undertone of Viking threat, “is to remember you need power to steer on water.” He is not wrong. Christoffer will be his driver. Keen eyes will notice that the Panther's grille has only six slots, instead of the Jeep's signature, trademarked seven-slot grille. #1 Water Car Panther . The WaterCar Panther has wheels that retract for less drag when on the water. If it comes off, the deceleration is acute and coming off the plane almost immediate. Selby and March dabbled with engines from Subaru and Chevrolet, but settled on the Honda engine because of its strength and its copious horsepower – around 250, sent to the rear wheels through a transaxle from a Volkswagen Bus. For $75,000, WaterCar will deliver the basics to owners who prefer a do-it-yourself approach: a rolling chassis with most of the mechanical componentry. The WaterCar Panther is not the best boat and not the best car but, if commuting either from your private island or through your home city is proving a chore, then it might make sense. With the supercharger, it can get on plane no matter how much weight you put in the car and it does it with ease. 4. Entering the water, the Panther's effortless transition from car to boat is a double shock to the eyes and the mind. 365 Bloor St East, Toronto, ON, M4W3L4, www.postmedia.com. Around a hundred of these US$150,000 amphibians have been hand-made at March’s Los Angeles workshop. The Panther represents the most recent saleable fruit of WaterCar's labor, and the company claims that there are enough orders on the books to justify production. Smiley Autowerks estimates that this car produces around 500 HP! Yet the Panther is, in most regards, as easy to drive as any passenger car with those same characteristics. In a first for a car test drive, I am wearing a life jacket, just in case. On a quiet street in Long Beach, Calif., where we experienced the Panther's on-road performance, tourists eagerly reached for smartphones and cameras. Every WaterCar is unique, because you …
Built in Fountain Valley, California, the WaterCar Panther is a fully functioning car and boat, which can raise its wheels up and propel itself through the water at the flip of a switch. Fore and aft (sorry, we’re not in the water yet; front and back in car parlance) something mechanical and whirring is happening, but not that I can see.
For me and Christoffer, our next challenge is to cross the English Channel in it. Picture this: You're enjoying an afternoon on a calm beach out in the Hamptons, splayed out lazily on a beach towel. The Panther's spare interior bears little similarity to the Jeep's, allowing owners room for customization and individuality. The WaterCar Panther is not the best boat and not the best car but, if commuting either from your private island or through your home city is proving … There is no power steering, braking requires a steady plan, and operating the manual gearbox takes some mental adjustment. Then you’re ready to drive in the sea.”. “Wait a second for it to beep. Add in the bumps and jumps as it bounces across the waves, keeping your foot on the accelerator is not easy.
The snaps, pops, and burbles of the exhaust are a cacophony of the most adored sounds to any enthusiast's ears. The accelerator for land is the same for sea. Thanks to the vehicles 3,7 liters 6 cylinders Honda V-Tec engine, which produces 250hp, it reaches a maximum speed on water on 70 km/h. And that was before we turned left, drove onto the boat loading dock, and straight into the water. In Dublin we are limited to just below 50 km/h.
In seconds, the free-revving Honda 3.7-litre motor mounted deep in the hull is no longer powering the knobbly rear wheels it uses on land but now the jet. Selby and March enlisted the guidance of naval architects to help them design a proper hull for the Panther, in order to ensure smooth sailing as well as seamless integration into the vehicle's design. The wheels and tires ascend into the wheel wells, resulting in a whiz-bang marvel of engineering. This is one of the first WaterCars made and part of a stable of exotics owned by a member of the Lego toy family in Denmark – he has two. And it is in Ireland to star in a film for Circle K filling stations by towing a champion British wakeboarder up the River Liffey. The reason many buy them, says March, is to be able to pop the across the water from a private islands to the shops or for a meal and, unlike a boat, be able to drive into town when you get there. Panther was Fountain Valley, California-based company that built the amphibious WaterCar for people of means who needed something a little different in their on-road and on-the-water transportation. Getting onto the plane takes some grunt to break the suction of the hull on the water. The Panther's body is constructed of fiberglass, rather than steel, for the sake of lightness, and is coated in anti-corrosion sprays to ward off the effects of salt water. I learn fast that steering comes as much from the accelerator as the wheel. – Build in fiberglass, and with a weight on barely 1400 kg. As on land, on the sea the WaterCar takes some muscle to change direction. Unlike a boat with a V-hull, it skims like a stone or slides like a rally car when turning. The question remains unanswered if WaterCar's latest effort is enough to convince purists. 3. All of these figures seem trivial, though, once you watch the WaterCar turn from a car into a water vessel for the first time.
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles using Facebook commenting, First Drive: Porsche's 911 GT3 Cup, GT3 R and RSR, Motorcycle review: 2017 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. Onlookers in Dublin’s city centre couldn’t quite believe their eyes when they saw a car literally driving up the River Liffey! For the full experience, however, the windshield is collapsible.