Recreational amphibious vehicles are nothing new, but most are one-offs, and most tend to be boats that can creep on land, or cars that slosh slowly through water. There are exceptions, notably entries from Gibbs, but arguably, amphibious vehicles have not made the grade as true all-round vehicles that can be driven to work during the week, and on the lake on weekends. WaterCar’s new Panther straddles the divide.
Honda-sourced 3.7-liter V6 unit, which serves a number of purposes, including being used as an outboard motor. It makes around 250 hp, and drives either the rear wheels or the patented “Panther Jet” water propulsion system – the switch is made via a (four-speed manual!) gearbox-mounted transfer case.
Performance should not be at all sluggish, as the Panther isn’t really a heavyweight, sliding under the 3000 lbs (1360 kg) mark. It comes with two top speeds, reaching 80+ mph (128+ km/h) on land and a very impressive 44 mph (70.5 km/h) while in boat mode, when the wheels actually retract (in around 15 seconds). In case they haven’t called it boat mode yet, they should, because it just works, and in the spirit of WaterCar’s bikini-filled promo video (don’t worry, you can watch it after the jump), imagine telling your female companion to brace herself for boat mode – it will make you look like some sort of cool futuristic boat captain.