When the lessons learned with the Gator met with Dave March's ambition for a new design and amphibious car level in 2006, Selby said they had little idea what direction they would head in. "We knew we wanted to build the best amphibious vehicle we could," he said. "We just had to figure out how."
Rather than building from the ground up the company carried through the idea behind the Gator -- namely to use as much existing technology as they could (the Gator uses many components from the Jeep CJ series) and adapt it to what they wanted, which was a good strategy for a car company with limited resources. "We used a lot of other makes and models to inspire us," Selby said.
But that inspiration sometimes took an odd turn. Take for instance the wrap-around rear bench seat reminiscent of a cruiser -- more specifically a lake cruiser -- and the front seats are captain's chairs. "That's something we just toyed with," Selby said. "Right now the Python is going through an evolution and we don't know exactly what will work and what won't. We can give the customer whatever they want and whatever they find comfortable, so that's where it is for now."
When a buyer purchases a Python rolling chassis and selects the engine and transmission, he or she can choose to either have the components assembled at the factory, or assemble it at home as a do-it-yourself project. The car will then need to be issued a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) by the state it's registered in.
Next, the owner will need to register the Python as a car and as a boat, and obtain license plates and watercraft license decals as required by the state. Lights required for car and boat modes are already equipped on the Python. Insurance companies can offer two separate plans (one for each mode), and some insurance companies can even offer specialty amphibious car insurance.
WaterCar suggests having a trained hot rod mechanic (one with marine experience) work on the Python. Maintenance is generally the same as you would find with a boat or car, but combined in one vehicle. Taking the Python on the ocean means even more maintenance, similar to any other saltwater craft.
From Selby's perspective maintenance is simply part and parcel of the package. A unique vehicle calls for out-of-the-ordinary measures to maintain. And if a customer buys a Python they will likely be fine with the unique needs of the car, and the costs associated with those needs, too.
Selby said interest in the Python is growing and WaterCar has received inquiries from Turkey, the Middle East and China as well as other regions of the globe. WaterCar is close to its not-released number of orders which will allows it to step up production efforts from building one-offs to a speedier assembly line production system -- and maybe even a cost reduction. Until then, the company plans to move ahead with development and evolution of the Python.
For more information about cars, boats, amphibious vehicles and other related topics, follow the links below.
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More Great Links
- Amphicoach. (June 24, 2010)http://www.amphicoach.net
- Amphijeep. (June 24, 2010)http://www.amphijeep.biz/
- BBC News. "Branson sets cross-Channel record." June 14, 2004. (June 24, 2010)http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/coventry_warwickshire/3805275.stm
- Boat U.S. Foundation. "Boat Types and Uses." (June 24, 2010)http://www.boatus.org/onlinecourse/ReviewPages/BoatUSF/Project/info1b.htm
- Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International, LLC. (June 24, 2010)http://www.camillc.com
- Gibbs Technologies. (June 24, 2010)http://www.gibbstech.com
- Land, Air and Sea - Museum of Strange and Wonderful Vehicles. (June 24, 2010)http://www.landairandsea.com/
- Midwest Amphicar. (June 24, 2010)http://www.midwestamphicar.com/
- Schwimmwagen. (June 24, 2010)http://www.amphicars.com/schwimmauto/index.html
- Selby, Fred. Company Spokesman for WaterCar. Personal Interview. Conducted on Jan. 20, 2010.
- The International Amphicar Owner's Club. (June 24, 2010)http://www.amphicar.com
- WaterCar. (June 24, 2010)http://www.watercar.com