Massive performance on land or sea - the amphibious WaterCar Python
By Loz Blain
November 10, 2009
We've dealt with plenty of amphibious vehicles here at Gizmag, and they've tended to fall into two camps - practical but unexciting, or cool but nonexistent - at least in a production sense. So the WaterCar Python comes as a bit of a surprise, looking for all the world like a pimped-out pickup truck, but offering blistering performance both on land and water. With the right engines built in, this hot rod can make mid 12s at the drag strip, hit 60mph in 4.5 seconds, and burn up the highway at well past 120mph - and it's capable of more than 60mph on the water as well - a true performance boat once the wheels are lifted out of the way. Crazy stuff!
The Python has a completely different focus from humble, practical amphibians like the Sealegs. Its primary aim is to turn heads wherever it goes - and it's got this part nailed. It's a monster on the road, all smooth lines, grunty performance and gleaming paint. Then you drive it straight down the boat ramp into the water, and watch as bystanders start picking their eyeballs up off the ground.
Once in the water, you press a button that retracts the wheels on an angle, you engage the jetboat engine and away you go - the Python absolutely flies once it's in the drink. Getting in and out for a swim or a waterski is easy - just open the doors and climb down. It's the kind of craft that's impossible NOT to notice, and its inventors clearly see it as some sort of rolling party machine: the ultimate big boy's toy.
From a practical standpoint, the Python has highway-legal and nautical lighting built in. In the U.S., it needs to be registered both as a car and a boat. It can easily be driven in and out of the water at any boat ramp and, if the conditions are favorable, at many natural shorelines, too. Maintenance-wise, it's roughly the equivalent of maintaining a boat and a car - although more time and care needs to be taken if you use it in saltwater.
The Python comes as a rolling chassis for around US$170,000 from the California-based WaterCar company, which is looking to extend its dealer network internationally. You buy it as a fully-customized shell without a road engine or transaxle, and then fit the biggest, nastiest Corvette LS motor you can afford to provide the ponies. On water, the Python uses a Dominator jet.
So, once your engine is fitted, you're looking at upwards of US$200,000 worth of amphibious fun machine - definitely not for the shy or faint-hearted. Whether or not you appreciate its in-your-face aggression, you've got to admit this machine is one heck of a technical achievement. Well done lads!