This past weekend, Fiat debuted an all-new crossover in San Francisco– and no, we are not talking about the all-new Fiat 500L. Rather, a handful of Fiat 500’s were converted into sea-going subcompacts.
These vehicles descended upon McCovey Cove outside AT&T Park. Little information was given, and it looks like the vehicles are for water use only, but it got us thinking, what are some of the coolest and most unique water-faring cars of all time? Here are some of our favorite amphibious cars:
In a list of absurd vehicles, this is an exceptionally absurd ride. The Python has a Corvette engine allowing it to get from zero to 60 mph (on-road) in just 4.5 seconds. It also has the visual rear end of a Corvette, but the front clip of a RAM 1500. It can hit 60 mph on the water, but looks like you need a bald spot, beer gut, and bowling shirt with flames on the sleeves to operate one.
Where would the world of amphibious cars be without the only mass-produced automobile to be built for the water? Between 1961 and 1967 more than 3,800 were built, and featured a Triumph 4-cylinder engine, mated to a specially designed 4-speed gearbox. It has four forward gears, a reverse gear, and a “Water Gear,” that sent power to a propeller. On the road it could reach 70 mph, and in the water it could cruise at a top speed of 6 knots.
While not nearly as fast as the Python, the Hydra Terra is far more practical, as it can carry 49 passengers. CAMI calls it unsinkable, and one was built for the prince of Saudi Arabia. Road speed is 75 mph, and can reach 7 knots on the water. Perfect if you want to start your own water tours company.
Land Rovers are already considered some of the most capable vehicles on the planet. Though they are known for traversing all manner of terrain, water is not theater of transportation for which the Landie was previously known. In 1990, Land Rover created this functional vehicle, which uses floats for buoyancy.
If there is one vehicle that trumps Land Rover in capability, it may be this Russian monster 4X4. It’s massive wheels double as floats, and uses a jet propulsion system for water travel. At 15 km/h (9.3 mph), it’s not terribly fast, but looks like it could drive through or over just about anything in its way.
Made by the same people as the aforementioned Python (which is likely used as a euphemism by the middle-aged white folks that drive them at Lake Havasu), this is a far more subdued water car. It uses foam-filled body panels for buoyancy, and combines Volkswagen mechanicals with a special power takeoff transmission that propels the Gator in water.
Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International LLC (or CAMI), unveiled this Corvette-powered floating sportscar in 2006. The 6.0-liter LS2 engine makes 400 horsepower and 400 pound feet of torque. CAMI claims the Hydra Spyder is fast enough to pull a jet ski.
Rinspeed has been known for restoring classics and tuning supercars, but also has made a name for it with wild concepts. Arguably the most impressive is the Splash, which set a record for crossing the English Channel in a hydrofoil. It is powered by a pair of 750cc two-cylinder turbocharged natural gas engines, making a total of 140 horsepower. It can set speed records on the water, and on the road can reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 5.9 seconds.