Someone Needs to Buy the ‘World’s Fastest’ Amphibious Car (Video)
If you needed more proof that you can win a world record for just about anything, meet the Sea Lion. It’s an amphibious car capable of speeds of up to 180 mph on land and over 45 mph at sea, and it’s all yours for the bargain-basement price of $259,500.
On sale at Emeryville, California-based Fantasy Junction, the Sea Lion is the embodiment of our childhood dreams rendered in brushed aluminum and stainless steel, and powered by a 174-horsepower 13B rotary engine pulled from a 1974 Mazda RX3.
The Sea Lion was developed over the last six years by Mark Witt Applied Design (a one-man operation based in the San Francisco Bay Area), with the goal of setting both land and water speed records. Fortunately or unfortunately, there isn’t a governing body that officially recognizes such a feat, so the Sea Lion is destined to duke it out with other home-brew contenders for YouTube bragging rights.
According to the listing, “For the most part, a GPS display with a YouTube recording is internationally accepted as ‘valid’ for speed documentation. There has been talk of creating a corporate event, similar to Burning Man or Kinetic Sculpture Race, which records and awards the competitors with specific acknowledgements. This, however, may be more of a detriment than assistance. The addition of Rules and Requirements always diminish scientific achievement and exploration. And it just plain ruins all the fun!”
So let’s forget about the whole “world record” thing and focus on the engineering specifics.
Witt designed and built the entire vehicle with CAD and “spreadsheet calculations,” utilizing TIG-welded 5052 aluminum for the body and a host of CNC-milled bits and pieces to complete the Sea Lion.
The gearing has been set up to handle speeds of up to 179 mph, although the listing points out that the owner should swap in Mazda’s current Renesis rotary engine (donated from an RX8 and capable of putting out 250 horsepower in stock form or up to 600 hp when utilizing forced induction) to fully commit to chasing the amphibious vehicle crown.
A “highly modified” Berkeley 12 JC jet drive pump handles propulsion duties when things get wet, with a beautifully crafted fighter pilot-style stick controlling power in the water. Unsurprisingly, you can’t bring a friend along for your wet and wild ride as the Sea Lion is strictly a single-seater, but based on all the blunt metal objects strewn about the cabin, that’s probably a good thing.
The front wheels are hydraulically actuated to suck up into the wheel wells once you’ve ventured into the deep blue, with two aluminum covers plugging the holes and that massive chin spoiler actuating upward to split through the waves.
Witt goes on to state in the listing that he’s, “willing to continue working with the buyer on all future modifications [and] remain available as a consultant, engineer, machinist and psychiatrist for whoever decides to venture further into the amphibious record books.” All we ask is that you take us for a spin when you snag the keys.