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   Undertoad  Thursday Sep 4 10:48 AM

9/4/2003: New land-sea vehicle



They introduced this in Britain yesterday to enormous fanfare. It's called the "Aquada". It's shown on the river Thames, where it can go 30 MPH, but what's interesting about it is that it can go 100 MPH on land, and converts from moving on one to the other with a press of a button. It drives right into the water, becomes a boat, and then drives right out of the water again and becomes a car. The driver uses the same wheel to steer and the same accelerator pedal to go faster.

The makers say it beats out all previous attempts to do things like this because of how fast it goes. It's kinda made possible, I gather, from the jet-ski approach to getting through the water.

Two years ago I rented a four-person jet-ski type vehicle made by Yamaha while vacationing in Ocean City MD. With four people aboard it could do 40 MPH on the water, and the folks there said it cost about $20,000. (It was $100 for an hour to rent. It was worth it... hella fun)

This vehicle is more like that thing than a car. For one thing, there's no roof or doors on the Aquada. It is meant to be waterproof, so if it's rainy on the roads you have to pretend you're out on the bay.

And then there's the price tag: over $200,000. Now it starts to make less and less sense; for WELL under that price you could have a much better car, one of those Yamaha jet-ski boats, and slips at many different locations.

The other problem is that there will be a learning curve for people driving this thing. Boats don't drive like cars -- not even like big boaty American cars. That's what confused me when I drove the rented jet-ski thingie: without propulsion, you have no steering.

So who buys this item? I guess, only two types: one, commuters who could see a huge gain by straddling a body of water that doesn't have a bridge. Two, idle rich who want another toy to brag about.

Hmm, or three, people who want to boat on two different bodies of water without hauling their boat from point A to point B. But it really is a silly thing.



Beletseri  Thursday Sep 4 01:19 PM

The commuter potential has appeal to someone living in NJ and commuting to NYC but then I don't really want to arrive to work wet.

It would be one nice way to get off this bloody island in a disastor though.



Torrere  Thursday Sep 4 01:27 PM

Eh, those silly British don't know how to drive! Look at that! He's not even sitting on the right side!



quzah  Thursday Sep 4 02:11 PM

Until you flip it and it sinks like a rock. But at least you'll look cool while you drown. I wonder if seat belt laws apply since it's a car. I hope they're not electric.

Not too long until they make the SUV version. Then you can drive over the mountain and through the lake, to Grandmother's house you go...

Quzah.



Leus  Thursday Sep 4 04:45 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Torrere
Eh, those silly British don't know how to drive! Look at that! He's not even sitting on the right side!
Actually, he is


Jacque Strapp  Thursday Sep 4 04:52 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Leus

Actually, he is
Actually, it looks to me like he's sitting on the center line of the car.

They've been advertising this thing as a boon to congested London streets, since as the carmaker says 'there's no speed limit on the Thames'. Unfortunately for him:

1- There IS a speed limit on the Thames.
2- This thing still needs a boat launch or ramp of some kind to get in and out of the water. You can't just look at the traffic, decide it's too much, and leap over into the river.
3- It's only convenient if you are going between two places that are near bodies of water.


Leus  Thursday Sep 4 05:34 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Jacque Strapp
Actually, it looks to me like he's sitting on the center line of the car.
Yes, I was playing with the "right" word. (using it as "opposed to left" instead of "correct")

Quote:
Originally posted by Jacque Strapp
You can't just look at the traffic, decide it's too much, and leap over into the river.
Now that's a bummer.


ChrisD  Thursday Sep 4 05:49 PM

Seems to me it would have great appeal in bridge heavy areas like Tampa Bay where getting around (espescially during traffic) is a real pain. Imagine if everyone had these, and some sort of ruleset was set up for driving on the bay/lake/ocean as well as on land with easy access roads to get on/off that simply merged with highways. I'm sure it would be a kick, plus then think about all the fun little vacation places you could just drive to.

Of course, getting into an accident in the water would probably suck.. Even a minor fender bender could be a total loss.



gossard187  Thursday Sep 4 07:27 PM

work fine in rush hour if it weren't for the boat traffic in the bay/river. Can't imagine having every person with one of these trying to get past barges in San Fran Bay and having it HELP traffic...



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Sep 4 08:30 PM

Quote:
there's no roof or doors on the Aquada. It is meant to be waterproof,
Uh...there's no roof to keep out the rain and it's waterproof so the water can't get out. I wonder if it comes with a rubber ducky and soap.


tw  Thursday Sep 4 08:51 PM

It is reported to be run on a jet motor. To achieve those water speeds, wheels fold up beneath the car. Britian has a long history of making such vehicles. None has yet been successful. But it is an island nation. Some talk about crossing the English Channel which is really about the range of its gas tank. And driver does not sit on right or left. Driver sits in center.



99 44/100% pure  Friday Sep 5 12:17 AM

All together now:

"Oh, you, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, pretty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you . . ."



bjlhct  Friday Sep 5 12:58 AM

Get a plane. More fun, and, perhaps, even more practical.



warch  Friday Sep 5 12:33 PM

"...high Chitty, low Chitty, everywhere we go Chitty, on Chitty Chitty we depend! Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, my fine four fendered friend!
Damn you 99.44!



chrisinhouston  Friday Sep 5 12:44 PM

There used to be a car in the 1960's that went from land to water, can't remember the name or who made it but it was a funny little thing, looked like a little Fiat or VW, I think it was a convertable too.



Griff  Friday Sep 5 01:03 PM

I think it was Amphicar. I know a guy who had one. He used to beat the traffic in Boston with it.



chrisinhouston  Friday Sep 5 01:32 PM

Thanks to Griff for the info. Here is a picture of the car



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Sep 5 05:24 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Griff
I think it was Amphicar. I know a guy who had one. He used to beat the traffic in Boston with it.
I used to see one on the Charles River once in a while. Mid 60's?


elSicomoro  Friday Sep 5 06:01 PM

Jesse James turned a school bus into a pontoon boat on Discovery's Monster Garage...that was pretty phat.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Sep 5 06:34 PM

I druther go in style.



Griff  Friday Sep 5 06:51 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by xoxoxoBruce
I used to see one on the Charles River once in a while. Mid 60's?
I asked Pete, that time frame seems about right. She thinks it was a red one.


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Sep 5 11:14 PM

Yeah, red sounds right. They moved so slow in the water, in order to beat the cars it would have to be a hell of a traffic jam.
When I would see it, I'd be on the Cambridge side, running outbound (usually) toward Watertown. I was going by it, rather than the other way around. Of course I wasn't wasting any time in either my '65 Mustang or '66 Sprint(GTO).
Unusual vehicles abound, at that time/place. I knew TWO guys that drove 3 wheeled messerschmitts in rte 9 (Huntington Ave.) from the 'burbs every day.



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