Amphibious Dobbertin HydroCar goes under the hammer
By Darren Quick
January 4, 2011
If you’re looking for a car that doesn’t mind getting its feet wet then you might want to head over to eBay before January 13 where this one-of-a-kind amphibious vehicle is up for sale. The Dobbertin HydroCar was designed and built by Rick Dobbertin and changes shape at the flip of a switch, transforming from land mode to water mode in a matter of seconds. Although Dobbertin says his HydroCar is fully functional, it hasn’t been fully tested, so he recommends the vehicle as more of a collector car rather than a daily driver.
The HydroCar’s amphibious capabilities come courtesy of its two articulating sponsons (or pontoons) that run the full length of the vehicle. On land, the sponsons are raised to form the vehicle’s fenders, but when entering water a flip of a switch will lower them almost eight inches (20 cm) to transform the vehicle into a tunnel-hulled watercraft.
ConstructionThe center body section of the vehicle is covered with a 5086 marine-grade aluminum skin built around a space fame and roll bar constructed from 304 stainless steel, while the frames within the articulating sponsons are constructed from 6061 aluminum. It is powered by a fully dyno-tuned World/Merlin all-aluminum roller-cammed 572 cubic inch Chevrolet engine, which produces 762 hp at 5,800 rpm and 712 lbs of torque at 4,200 rpm.
While the four test-launches the HydroCar has completed have all resulted in improvements, the craft is still short of the 60 mph (96 km/h) Dobbertin says it should be capable of surpassing. However, with Dobbertin citing the cold weather in upstate New York for restricting attempts to carry out another test launch before spring 2011, it seems any further improvements will be the responsibility of the eventual buyer.
Dobbertin has his sealegsThe HydroCar isn’t Dobbertin’s first amphibious car, having built a 32-foot long stainless steel amphibious vehicle known as the Dobbertin Surface Explorer out of an old milk tanker that traveled through 28 countries, logging up 30,000 miles (48,280 km) on land and over 3,000 miles (4,828 km) on the open sea. He also designed and built two hot rods that were awarded Hot Rod magazine’s car of the year.
Dobbertin spent over 18,800 hours over a period of nine years designing and building the HydroCar, but says he is being forced to sell due to a lack of funds resulting from the global financial crisis.
Update (Feb 6, 2012): The Dobbertin Hypercar has been relisted on eBay with a buy it now price of US$149,000.