Prodrive, the Britain-based company known for building race cars and most recently supporting Subaru’s record-setting run up the Transfăgărășan highway, has aquatic plans in its future. The company’s boss, David Richards, wants to build an amphibious car.
Richards said so in an Autocar report published Thursday after he acquired a Watercar Panther. The Panther, a Jeep Wrangler-esque vehicle, surprised Richards and it spurred plans to import units from California into Europe. However, import laws, crash testing, and other regulatory red tape made him consider his own model.
“We know about them, and I have some young engineers working on it—we’re all excited by it. I have a boat engineer looking at the hull,” he said.
According to the report, the Prodrive chief has tasked engineers to build a car capable of driving on dry land with sufficient ground clearance and the ability to travel up to 30 knots when in the water. But, he said the team realizes they can’t make both a great car and a great boat.
Make it too short, it’s a bad boat, Richards said, but make the car too long and it will be a terrible on-road driver, he noted.
The development process is in its early stages, but the vehicle will likely feature a turbocharged diesel engine to ensure plenty of torque. Richards said he’s driven his Panther often and also tested it on the water for recreation, including water skiing.
Prodrive has set no timeline for when it may release its car-boat creation.