During WWII, the Jeep was the workhorse of the U.S. Army. In 1941, 4,500 had been commissioned and they were highly successful thanks to their off-road capabilities. It became the military’s main vehicle.
Less successful was the Ford GPA, an amphibious version of the Jeep. (“G” stood for “Government,” “P” represented the 80-inch wheel base, and “A” was, of course, for “Amphibious.”)
Over the years, many ambitious souls converted surplus GPAs into land-to-water vehicles. These days, several companies have taken the GPA one step further, creating innovative versions of the “swimming car.” They’ve evolved into fantastic machines that will delight your spirit of adventure, but also annihilate your budget. Here’s a look at the latest breed of amphibious vehicles.
Aquada amphibious sports car
It’s the world’s first high-speed sports car capable of reaching speeds of nearly 100 mph on land and 31 mph on water. The 3-seater has no roof or doors and takes a mere 4 seconds to convert from a land vehicle to water craft. Aquada’s engineering philosophy is revolutionary, involving more than simply adding wheels to a boat design, or building a car that floats.
Quadski sea-to-land Jet Ski
This one rides more like an ATV than a Jet Ski. In just five seconds, the wheels retract up and sideways and the vehicle transforms into a utility vehicle. It can reach a maximum speed of 45 mph (on both land and water), thanks to its BMW engine and $40k price tag. Four-wheel disc brakes, independent springs, and a sturdy construction guarantee a secure and comfortable ride.
Motorcycle-Jet Ski hybrid
What do you get when you cross a Jet Ski with a motorcycle? This is “Biski,” a Jet Ski-style vehicle that once seemed like the next big thing. Even with Richard Branson’s endorsement, excitement soon fizzled out and only 50 were ever produced. Initial sale price started at $42K. It featured a land speed of 80 mph, and up to 37 on water. One big drawback is lack of storage. Where do you stow your leather jacket?
Terra Wind amphibious RV
This one is just flat-out mind-blowing. Inside, it features marble floors, leather furniture, mirrored ceilings, internet access, GPS navigation, Jacuzzi, granite countertops, 42-inch plasma TV, and full-size washing machine, microwave and fridge. The Terra Wind is customizable to be as luxurious and indulgent as you want. It can reach 80 mph on highway, 8 mph on water. The most lavish waterway to highway vehicle you can buy. If you happen to find yourself with an extra $850,000-1.2M this yacht on wheels is wildly impressive, but positively impractical.
The latest model, produced in 2017, originally sold $158,000-$198,000, depending on the level of upgrades you wanted like a V6 motor and custom paint job. The panther has a maximum speed of 80 mph on land, 33 mph on water. Lighter than a Jeep, the panther featured a Honda engine, and a 26-gallon gas tank that provides a range of 160 miles on land. Hydraulics take just 15 seconds to lift the wheels out of the water with the push of a knob. Made to swim in both fresh water and saltwater.
Its tires alone stand 6-feet high. And that’s not the most impressive thing about this vehicle. This monster of an ATV is more than an off-roader. It can tackle nearly any terrain including snow, ice, water, swamp or wherever you want to take it. Off land, the self-inflating, highly ridged tires act like paddles, propelling the vehicle at 3.7 mph. The body is hermetically sealed to prevent water from getting in. Based on its massive bulk, you’ll be surprised at the size of its engine: a tiny 1.5 liter and only 44 hp. Its price starts at $125K.
Photo credit: AwesomeStuff365.com