Amphibious Dobbertin HydroCar goes under the hammer


January 4, 2011

The Dobbertin HydroCar on a test-launch

The Dobbertin HydroCar on a test-launch

Image Gallery (14 images)

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.


The 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 sealegs

The 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.

The HydroCar is legally titled as a custom made boat in New York State and is listed on eBay with the Buy It Now price of US$777,000, which includes a custom-built trailer to transport the HydroCar.

Via Jalopnik

Update (Feb 6, 2012): The Dobbertin Hypercar has been relisted on eBay with a buy it now price of US$149,000.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

I really miss deep lakes and seas.

What a dream !!

Gonzalo Villouta Stengl

At the flick of \"a switch\" or twenty switches? Love the idea but can\'t see them being used except in exotic paradise islands by the mega-rich...


It looks really cool. It looks like something that was used in a Scyfy movie. I agree, something for the rich and/or famous to use but still cool.

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