Picture a world without cars. How did our great grandfathers cope without vehicles to get to their destination? The same way that we survived an era that didn't have mobile phones. We can all agree that life in the modern world would be almost impossible to survive without cars. That means we shouldn't take our cars for granted, as these magnificent vehicles allow us to accomplish goals that would be difficult to obtain if the four-wheel machines weren't around.
Cars have added a tremendous amount of value to our lives by allowing us to commute to work, pick up our children from school and rush a family member to the hospital. The advent of technology has changed our world and made goals that seemed impossible to obtain become possible. People were in awe when the first car graced the road. They couldn't believe that a machine attached to four wheels could operate the way it did. Since then, smart people have used technology to enhance the use of cars.
Although most drivers are content with the car's ability to operate on the road, some engineers wanted to optimize the use of cars by making some of them run on water and fly. Our list features cars that can operate on water or in the air, as well as on the road.
25 Water: Amphicar
The good news about the Amphicar is that many of the cars are available. Hans Trippet designed the Amphicar, manufactured in West Germany and launched at the 1961 New York Auto Show.
The manufacturer produced close to 4,000 units of the Amphicar. The car offered modest performance compared to most contemporary boats or cars. The car had navigation lights and a flag, which the Coast Guard mandated. The Amphicar had a 1.2-liter Triumph engine mounted in the rear. It cruised at 8 knots on water and 70 mph on the highway.
24 Fly: Ehang 184
Tourists who want to experience what it feels like to be inside a drone will get a chance with the launch of the Ehang 184. The passenger-carrying drone will transport people through the air without a pilot. Dubai's Roads and Transportation Agency Mattar al-Tayer announced at the World Government Summit that the Ehang 184 was the world's first passenger drone that will fly over Dubai.
The electric vehicle will be the first vehicle that is regularly used in the world.
23 Water: Gibbs Aquada
Consumers who wanted a more powerful amphibious vehicle than the Amphicar would have opted for the Gibbs Aquada. Alan Gibbs commissioned British automaker Lotus to undertake an engineering viability study for an amphibious car.
A 2.5-liter Rover engine used in the Gibbs Aquada is capable of pumping out 165 horsepower. On land, the Gibbs Aquada is capable of reaching a top speed of 99 mph and 27 knots on water. In 2004, a prototype had crossed the English Channel in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
22 Fly: PAL-V One
The PAL-V One was a Dutch design autogyro that brought style changes to these crafts. This magnificent vehicle has only one engine, and the power is automatically switched between the tires and the propeller, depending on if it's making contact with the ground.
The distinguishing feature about the PAL-V One is that the pilot is supposed to fly it below four thousand feet, meaning you don't have to file a flight plan to use it, which is a massive hurdle that flying cars need to overcome.
21 Water: VW Schwimmwagen
The name might be a mouthful, but the German vehicle was a four-wheel drive off-roader that VW produced from 1942 until 1944. The Schwimmwagen had a 1.2-liter air-cooled flat four, which drove a single propeller. The car used front wheels as rudders while in the water. When the car was on land, the propeller would swing up, thereby disengaging from the engine.
Considering the car was heavy, it was slow but had good traction off-road. The engine was capable of pumping out only 25 horsepower.
20 Fly: Terrafugia Transition
No, that's not a young Bill Gates pictured next to the car. The Terrafugia Transition had a successful test flight in 2009 and experienced several upgrades and remodels, resulting in new designs and a second successful test flight in 2012, according to Listverse. The magnificent invention can reach a top speed of 70 mph on land and 115 mph in the air.
The problem that the manufacturing company faced was that the Transmission was too heavy to comply with FAA regulations due to the extra parts needed for the car to be safe on the road.
19 Water: DUKW
Otherwise known as the Duck, the DUKW was a six-wheel-drive amphibious modification of the 2.5-ton CCKW trucks. If you were curious about the abbreviation for the DUKW, the D meant the 1942 year that the manufacturer produced it in while the U was for utility, K was GM's code for front-drive, and W was the code for two rear axles, according to Popular Mechanics.
The vehicle was capable of reaching 50 mph on land and 5.5 knots on water. GM had built 21,000 Ducks.
18 Fly: AirMule
The best way to describe the AirMule is that it is an airborne ambulance. Urban Aeronautics, an Israeli company, is developing the project that would serve in assisting search and rescue missions. The best part about the AirMule is that it can reach the same speeds as a helicopter but uses less than half the airspace, allowing it to fit into areas that a helicopter cannot enter.
The AirMule is flown remotely, meaning a person mans the AirMule from the ground.
17 Water: Terra Wind Motorhome
Commercial pilot John Giljam built an amphibious motorhome in 2004 that cost $1.2 million. The vehicle was 42 feet long, which a 330 horsepower diesel engine powered. The vehicle contained an all-aluminum body that used two propellers and two rudders while floating. The vehicle has two inflatable pontoons on its sides for stability but travels on water without it.
Giljam builds amphibious vehicles through a company called Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International, and also builds DUKW vehicles for tour companies.
16 Fly: Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL
The Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL is a three-seat electric vehicle with eight rotors for vertical takeoff and landing, as well as a fixed wing and a rear propeller, enabling more efficient forward flight than a multicopter, according to Forbes.
UAV Developer is testing out the product for Uber's planned air taxi service. Boeing acquired UAV Developer and provided the company with a large cash injection and engineering resources to make the best possible product.
15 Water: Dobbertin Surface Orbiter
At first glance, you would think that the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter is a spaceship. The name doesn't demystify the confusion, but the Dobbertin was the creation of Rick Dobbertin, who needed four and half years to build the 32 feet long, 7.5 feet wide and 10 feet high amphibious vehicle.
When fully loaded, the Surface Orbiter weighs nine tons. The V8 engine spurts out 250 horsepower and powers the six wheels. The Surface Orbiter sold for $200,000 in a divorce auction in 1999.
14 Fly: Skycar
Dr. Paul Moller is on a mission to change the world. He has invented a futuristic Skycar that is capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Moller believes that flying cars are the future and has ignored the naysayers who believe that he is wasting his time by trying to get his car to fly.
“The rotary engine is the essence of the Skycar,” Moller pointed out excitedly, “when you think about it, the rotary engine is not very different from a hummingbird in that it has a very high metabolism rate. Felix Wankel (inventor of the rotary engine which bears his name) was a genius. We took his principles and because our engines needed to operate efficiently at higher power, we made some basic changes," Moller said according to Huffington Post.
13 Water: Rinspeed Splash
The Amphicar was an incredible evolution in the manufacturing of vehicles, but engineers wanted to make amphibious vehicles that were fast on land and water.
The Rinspeed Splash was capable of reaching 120 mph on land and 45 knots on water. When under 30 knots, the Rinspeed can cruise in the water like a conventional boat. Push the Rinspeed above 30 knots, and the fold-down hydrofoils raise the car's lightweight carbon composite body shell twelve feet above the water. A propeller lowers into the water with the foils, and the wheels raise above the water.
12 Fly: Super Sky Cycle
While comparing the Butterfly Super Sky Cycle to Jess Dixon's Flying Auto, you'll discover many similarities. The Super Sky Cycle is a road-able gyrocopter that has a single folding propeller and a swiveling tail to steer the craft into the air. The manufacturer built the Super Sky Cycle in 2009 and made the craft legal to drive, provided that you have a motorcycle and a pilot's license.
The Super Sky Cycle folds down to seven feet, making it compact enough to fit in a garage. The craft is available for sale and costs about $40,000.
11 Water: SeaRoader
Some drivers are unsatisfied with driving a car on the road and want to experience the water, as well. One of those people was Mike Ryan, who built his first Land Rover based SeaRoader in thirty days in the 1980s.
Ryan was unsatisfied with only the amphibious Land Rover, so he also built an amphibious motorcycle, Lamborghini and three other vehicles that Top Gear featured in the floating cars segment. Consumers who wanted to purchase Ryan's first amphibious vehicle had the chance to do so for $42,000.
10 Water: LARC
The Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo was a massive vehicle, but the smaller versions were capable of transporting five tons. The manufacturer made just under 1,000 LARCs. About 100 LARC belonged to private owners and were used for tourism.
Considering that the LARC was a gargantuan vehicle, it achieved only a land speed of 30 mph while doing 7.5 knots on water. It can accommodate three crew members and around twenty passengers. The LARC is an amazing invention.
9 Water: Hammacher Schlemmer
Amphibious vehicles aren't capable of only functioning on water, but some of the vehicles look spectacular. One of those vehicles is the Hammacher Schlemmer, which has a Honda engine that is capable of pumping out 300 horsepower, resulting in the car reaching a top speed of 80 mph on land and 44 mph on the water, according to Hammacher Schlemmer.
The car operates like a normal vehicle on land with a four-speed manual transmission, a folding windshield, and four-wheel disc brakes.
8 Water: Rinspeed Squba
If you thought that a car driving on water was cool, then you'll be surprised to discover that a sports car can go underwater. The manufacturers built the Rinspeed Squba around a Lotus Elise, the famous car that submerged in the James Bond movie.
The car is a convertible and has a rotor driven thrust that propels the driver through shallow depths underwater. The car appeared at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, more than thirty years after the film inspiration.
7 Water: Lamborghini Countach
I mentioned that Mike Ryan had manufactured a Lamborghini that could operate on water. For those of you who were skeptical, well here is the proof. The Lamborghini Countach is Ryan's most expensive amphibious invention that he added to the SeaRoader fleet. Consumers who want a combination of a boat and a supercar will find the Lamborghini Countach to be a delight.
The Countach was available on eBay for $27,000, according to Road and Track.
6 Water: Sherp ATV
Watch out for this bad boy when you're on the water with your boat, as it will roll over you. Sherp is a manufacturer of all-terrain vehicles and produced the amphibious all-terrain vehicle. The massive vehicle can tow up to 5,000 pounds but can reach only 27 mph on land and 3 mph on water. Mass production of the vehicle in St. Petersburg, Russia began in 2015.
If you want to own this massive vehicle that trudges along land and on water, you'll have to part with $65,000.