Crave an amphibious car but don’t fancy bidding on James Bond’s Lotus? Well the WaterCar Panther has your name on it.
The Panther is based on a Jeep CJ8 Scrambler and retains its roll cage, steering wheel and chunky tyres, but this particular beast has a split personality. It can go from land-lubber to sea-faring vessel in just 15 seconds ─ all the secret agent (sorry, driver) has to do upon entering water is find neutral, pull a knob to engage the jet, push a button to raise the wheels and off it’ll sail.
Unlike a typical Jeep, it has a custom built Honda 3.7-litre V6 engine capable of producing 305bhp at 6,300rpm. That provides a top speed of around 80mph on land and 44mph (39 knots) in the sea – fast enough to keep up with some speed boats, then.
Creator Fred Selby, from California, spent 11 years honing the 4-speed aquatic machine, including its use of chromoly steel to save weight and keep it from sinking. The fibreglass hull is stuffed with US Coast Guard-approved Styrofoam to aid buoyancy (it’s reportedly ‘unsinkable’) and the patented transfer case allows power to be shifted from the engine to the propulsion jet and transmission.
Just in case you think a car that can turn into a boat isn’t extravagant enough, WaterCar offers customisation options for the interior and exterior of the Panther. They can build one in right-hand drive, install fishing rod holders or finish it in pink with yellow spots if you so desire. A version with a roof is being considered for rainier climates like the UK.
Prices start at £49,800 for the ‘Rolling Chassis’ package, which comprises all the ‘unique and patented components’ and instructions to build it yourself. Then there’s the ‘Turn Key Minus’ package that also lacks an engine but you can put any Honda 3.5 or 3.7-litre V-TEC in and you’re good to go for £70,000. Lazy wannabe sailors can buy a complete Panther for £89,000.
Scantily clad bikini babes are not included.
Scroll on down to see the WaterCar Panther in action.