Boats – Silodrome https://silodrome.com Gasoline Culture Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:20:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 18077751 The Amphibious Dobbertin HydroCar – A $1 Million Dollar 762 HP Boat/Car Hybrid https://silodrome.com/amphibious-hydrocar/ Wed, 22 Aug 2018 07:01:51 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=82642 The Amphibious Dobbertin HydroCar – A $1 Million Dollar 762 HP Boat/Car Hybrid

The Dobbertin HydroCar is an amphibious vehicle that took 10 years to develop with over $1 million USD invested in research, development, and construction. The HydroCar can be driven on land for extended periods thanks to its articulated sponsons (side pontoons) that can be raised or lowered. In the raised position the four wheels are...

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The Amphibious Dobbertin HydroCar – A $1 Million Dollar 762 HP Boat/Car Hybrid

The Dobbertin HydroCar is an amphibious vehicle that took 10 years to develop with over $1 million USD invested in research, development, and construction.

The HydroCar can be driven on land for extended periods thanks to its articulated sponsons (side pontoons) that can be raised or lowered. In the raised position the four wheels are in contact with the ground, and in the lowered position the sponsons form a tunnel-hull speedboat.

Meet Rick Dobbertin

The unique amphibious vehicle is the brainchild of famed car designer, car builder, and previous amphibious car designer Rick Dobbertin. Rick spent most of his career building high-performance cars, he won the Hot Rod Magazine’s 1982 Street Machine of the Year and the 1982 (and 1983) Car Craft Street Machine Nationals.

Rick went on to win the Hot Rod Magazine’s 1986 Hot Rod of the Year award and won all four of the major national magazine-sponsored shows in 1986 – The Hot Rod Supernationals, The Popular Hot Rodding Super Street Meet, The Car Craft Street Machine Nationals, and the Hot Rod Super Cruise.

The Dobbertin Surface Orbiter

After this staggering slew of successes Rick turned his attention to designing and building one of the most remarkable vehicles of its time – the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter. This huge cylindrical amphibious machine was designed to circumnavigate the Earth – over land and sea with no outside assistance.

Rick and Karen Dobbertin covered 27,300 miles on land, 3,000 miles in the water, and visited 28 countries and 38 states before they ran out of funds and had to shelve the project. They had proven the capabilities of the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter, and with a couple more 0s on the end of their bank balance there’s little doubt they would have made it.

The Amphibious Dobbertin HydroCar

The Dobbertin HydroCar was designed by Rick using the lessons learned with the Surface Orbiter. This new vehicle wasn’t intended to circumnavigate the world – it was intended to be a cross between a GT car and a speedboat, and Rick Dobbertin is one of the few people on earth capable of making it a reality.

The central body section of the HydroCar is a space frame, with marine-grade 5086 aluminum used to create the frames inside the sponsons. The bodywork is attached to the spaceframe, giving both a low weight and excellent rigidity.

The HydroCar is powered by a Bill Mitchell Racing 762 hp V8 engine with a four-speed manual Quadzilla 4L80-E transmission, it has pneumatic suspension, and four-wheel power disc brakes. Behind the transmission there’s an Atlas gear-driven transfer case that can send power forwards to the front wheels for land mode or backwards to the prop when it’s in water mode.

Rick designed the HydroCar to have a potential top speed on land of 125+ mph, with a top speed on water of 60+ mph – though so far as we’re aware the top speeds haven’t yet been fully explored.

Inside the cockpit of the HydroCar you’ll find two seats and a dashboard that has strong aviation design influences, with 45 control switches, 16 LED monitoring systems, and 25 VDO gauges, while three hydraulic levers control the up and down movement of the sponsons, axles, and wheel-well doors.

The HydroCar is due to roll (or float) across the auction block with Worldwide Auctioneers on the Auburn Auction on the 1st of September, there’s currently no price estimate, and there’s no reserve. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

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1958 Ice Speedster – A Continental Aircraft Engine Powered Snow Plane https://silodrome.com/ice-speedster-snow-plane/ Fri, 03 Aug 2018 07:01:42 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=82029 1958 Ice Speedster – A Continental Aircraft Engine Powered Snow Plane

At first glance this 1958 Ice Speedster looks like a prop from one of the original Star Wars films. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if George Lucas had encountered one and used it as a base for the X-34 Landspeeder driven by Luke Skywalker on Tattoine. Snow Planes Those of you from...

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1958 Ice Speedster – A Continental Aircraft Engine Powered Snow Plane

At first glance this 1958 Ice Speedster looks like a prop from one of the original Star Wars films. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if George Lucas had encountered one and used it as a base for the X-34 Landspeeder driven by Luke Skywalker on Tattoine.

Snow Planes

Those of you from the north may recognize this has a snow plane, they first started appearing in the 1910s, and by the 1930s people were building them from scrapped aircraft fuselages with the engine and propeller moved to the rear for a pusher configuration.

Some of the earliest examples weren’t called snow planes as the name hadn’t been coined yet, they were essentially just horse drawn sleds with the horse removed and a motor mounted on the rear, the names varied though auto sleigh, aero sleigh, and aero sled were the most popular.

Igor Sikorsky would later become famous for his critical role in the development of the helicopter, but long before he perfected flying he was building Sikorsky Sleds and driving them around Kiev – much to the amazement of the locals.

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Side

It didn’t take long for the potential military applications of snow planes to become apparent, the Russians built a variety of armored aerosleds including the NKL-26, a two-man sled powered by a five-cylinder radial engine with a top-mounted machine gun turret.

Due to the climates in Russia, Canada, and the northern United States snow planes become commonplace and fulfilled a vital role transporting people, mail, supplies, and doctors to remote homesteads and remote villages.

The majority of snow planes were built by farmers in their own sheds, however a number of companies did spring up offering production vehicles. This was before snowmobiles existed (as we know them today), and the speeds offered by snow planes meant that significant distances could be covered in record time. The only two caveats being that they don’t have any brakes, and you really don’t want to be wearing a long flowing scarf.

“You have to plan your stops well in advance” – Snow Plane Pilot Clarence Davis

In the 1930s Bombardier developed a series of tracked vehicles with skis on the front for steering, they had a body similar to a bus allowing them to carry significant numbers of passengers or cargo. The designs continued to develop through the 1940s and by the 1950s snow planes were mostly being used for leisure, hunting, and fishing.

Surviving examples of original snow planes are now hugely collectible, and the vehicles have been enjoying a renaissance of sorts as winter leisure vehicles.

Ice Speedster Snow Plane

The 1958 Ice Speedster

The snow plane you see here is almost a snow-bound version of a period convertible sports car. Though information on these vehicles is typically scarce this one appears to have an aluminum monocoque body, it has seating for two behind the somewhat minimalist windscreen, with the steering wheel on the left side operating the single front mounted ski.

All three of the skis are independently sprung with a coil spring, they also have front-mounted shock absorbers to cope with the undulating terrain, and there’s a slow slung delta wing presumably for stability.

Power is provided by a rear-mounted, air-cooled, four-cylinder Continental airplane engine with a wooden propeller, engine capacity and horsepower is currently unknown though anything from 60-100+ hp is possible.

Top speeds on some snow planes exceeded 100 mph, a heady pace considering the unpredictable terrain. This one was built for a hotel on Lake Houghton in Northern Michigan, it has a Quicksilver throttle control, and a repurposed Ford steering unit.

RM Sotheby’s estimate the hammer price at between $25,000 and $30,000 USD, which seems like a steal for something this unusual, not to mention the potential fun factor for those who live in climates where it could be used each winter.

If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Rear

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Rear Ski

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Propeller

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Nose

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Main

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Fuel Tank

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Front

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Engine

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Engine Close Up

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Engine 4

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Engine 3

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Engine 2

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Continental Engine Heads

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Cockpit

Ice Speedster Snow Plane

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Steering Wheel

Ice Speedster Snow Plane Skiis

Images: Darin Schnabel ©2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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1970 Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge N007 https://silodrome.com/tupolev-a-3-aerosledge/ Mon, 18 Jun 2018 05:01:42 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=78754 1970 Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge N007

The Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge The Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge is an unusual curiosity from the depths of the cold war, the CIA and MI6 doubtless had thick folders on the craft as it was used for collecting both cosmonauts and crashed pilots in the remote areas of Siberia. Alexei Tupolev of the Tupolev Design Bureau originally developed...

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1970 Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge N007

The Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

The Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge is an unusual curiosity from the depths of the cold war, the CIA and MI6 doubtless had thick folders on the craft as it was used for collecting both cosmonauts and crashed pilots in the remote areas of Siberia.

Alexei Tupolev of the Tupolev Design Bureau originally developed the Tupolev A-3 in the early 1960s, the first production A-3 was delivered in 1964. The main problem that the Aerosledge had been built to solve was the difficulty of reaching remote communities and military bases in the wide frozen expanses of Russia’s wild eastern region.

Roads in Sibera are of limited use in the winter due to snowfall, and rivers freeze over for months at a time. Alexei Tupolev had been tasked with designing a vehicle to overcome these seemingly insurmountable obstacles – and he knew it couldn’t be an aircraft, as frequent storms, blizzards, and white outs would make it all but impossible to fly for days or even weeks at a time.

The design that Alexei and his engineers settled on was the aerosledge, a craft not dissimilar in function and design to the airboats commonly seen in the Florida Everglades and the Louisiana bayous. Unlike airboats, the Aerosledge has an enclosed fuselage and a bottom designed to operate on snow and ice as well as water.

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

The Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge – Engine – Frame – Construction – Speed

The first A-3 built in the 1960s were powered by a 100 hp M-11 5-cylinder air-cooled radial engine in a pusher configuration, later A-3s were fitted with a 260 hp AI-14R radial mounted on a shock-absorbing tubular frame, with a cowling to cover the oil tank and pipes for the lubrication system.

The Tupolev Design Bureau is best known for designing aircraft, and they didn’t stray far from their roots with the A-3. The craft has a aircraft-type frame constructed with longerons, ribs, and stringers onto which D-16 Duraluminium (an aluminum alloy) are riveted – ensuring that it’s both strong and lightweight.

The underside has replaceable panels of low friction 3.5 mm polyethylene attached, with three stainless-steel runners mounted to the hull base. Incredibly, the Tupolev A-3 has a draft of no more than 2 inches even when fully loaded.

Directional control is provided by twin rudders designed to vector thrust from the propeller, allowing the Aerosledge to turn even when not moving forwards. If the pilot pulls the yoke towards his or her chest, the rudders both rotate outwards into the airflow to act as an airbrake.

The latter 260 hp version of the Aerosledge was capable of 120 km/h on the snow and nearly 70 km/h on water – a vast improvement on the speeds that had previously been possible using tracked vehicles.

Over the course of its early ’60s to early ’80s production run, it’s thought that over 800 A-3 were built. Many have since been scrapped and there are very few surviving and functional examples left – possibly also due to the hard life they lived in some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth.

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

The Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge Shown Here

The A-3 you see here has had one significant upgrade that were never available from the factory – it’s powered by a Vedeneyev M14P air-cooled supercharged 9-cylinder radial aircraft engine with a displacement of 10.16 liters, twin propellers, and 360 hp.

Now licensed with the cold war appropriate tag N007, this Aerosledge was extradited from the USSR during perestroika, its fuselage was comprehensively restored by hand by a German specialist, and its engine rebuilt in Bacau, Romania.

Since crossing the Atlantic (not under its own power) and taking up residence in the USA it’s won the “Corinthian Awards”, awarded at the “Keels and Wheels” concours d’elegance, at Houston, in 2006.

It’s now being offered for sale by Artcurial on the 19th of June in Paris, the estimated hammer price is listed as €140,000 to €200,000. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here.

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tuploev Radial Engine

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Tupolev A-3 Aerosledge

Images courtesy of Artcurial

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Rapid Whale Mini Boat – An Electrically Powered Kit-Built Mini Boat https://silodrome.com/rapid-whale-mini-boat/ Tue, 06 Feb 2018 07:00:35 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=71360 Rapid Whale Mini Boat – An Electrically Powered Kit-Built Mini Boat

The Rapid Whale Mini Boat is a kit-built, single-seat watercraft designed to be assembled at home by novice builders. The main parts are all precision laser cut marine-grade plywood, and it’s held together with epoxy construction. The manufacturer explains that it’s designed to last a lifetime, not just a single summer at the lake or...

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Rapid Whale Mini Boat – An Electrically Powered Kit-Built Mini Boat

The Rapid Whale Mini Boat is a kit-built, single-seat watercraft designed to be assembled at home by novice builders. The main parts are all precision laser cut marine-grade plywood, and it’s held together with epoxy construction. The manufacturer explains that it’s designed to last a lifetime, not just a single summer at the lake or river, and it’s so small it can fit in the back of a pick-up truck, as well as some SUVs and station wagons.

How To Build The Rapid Whale Mini Boat

Josh Tulberg designed the Rapid Whale Mini Boat in his spare time, he’s an industrial designer by day and a recreational engineer by night. From the outset, the goal was to build a safe, stable, and fun single-person boat that could be driven by both children and adults (with an upper limit of 6’2″ and 200 lbs).

Once your kit arrives you’ll need to get out the epoxy and cable ties, the cable ties are used to keep the shape accurate as the epoxy dries, then they’re snipped and discarded. Once this is complete you’ll need to cover all surfaces in fiberglass cloth and paint it with resin, and then you’ll need to fill the bulkheads with foam – this ensures that the boat is unsinkable.

Rapid Whale Mini Boat

Once your sanding and painting is done, you’ll be ready to install the steering wheel and associated bits, fit the twin car batteries, and attach the electric trolling motor. Once completed your new Rapid Whale Mini Boat can be launched by two adults, or maybe one if you can manage the 67 lb weight by yourself – although it’s important to note that with both batteries and the motor fitted it weighs in closer to 120 lbs.

The top speed is listed as 3.5 knots (4 mph / 6.4 km/h) which isn’t going to allow you to tow a skier, but it does feel faster than it sounds due to your proximity to the water’s surface.

The Cost Of The Rapid Whale Mini Boat

Each Rapid Whale Mini Boat kit costs $950 USD. You will need to budget additional finances to cover items like the trolling motor and batteries, plus a few other bits and pieces – all of which are carefully laid out on the website as a downloadable Google Doc.

The Mini Boat In Action

The video below shows three completed mini boats in action (skip forward to 32 seconds if you don’t want to see the unveiling). It has to be said, they look like hugely entertaining little lake or river boats and they seem to be remarkably stable given their low centre of gravity and flat bottoms.

There’s a small voltmeter on the left side of the dashboard that you’ll want to keep an eye on, and the boats have been designed so that the car batteries are easily removable and replaceable. Meaning you can swap them out rather than waiting for a full recharge.

If you’d like to read more about the mini boat or order a kit so you can build your own you can click here to visit the Rapid Whale website.

Rapid Whale Mini Boat

Rapid Whale Mini Boat

Rapid Whale Mini Boat

Rapid Whale Mini Boat

Rapid Whale Mini Boat

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36 Litre Hispano-Suiza V12 Powered Hydroplane https://silodrome.com/v12-powered-wooden-hydroplane/ Fri, 26 Jan 2018 04:30:41 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=70633 36 Litre Hispano-Suiza V12 Powered Hydroplane

The idea of taking an aircraft engine capable of over 1000 hp and bolting it into the front of a hydroplane is clearly insane. But in the interwar years in Europe, the battles taking place on the water to set new records and win races had very few restrictions – particularly in the aptly named...

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36 Litre Hispano-Suiza V12 Powered Hydroplane

The idea of taking an aircraft engine capable of over 1000 hp and bolting it into the front of a hydroplane is clearly insane. But in the interwar years in Europe, the battles taking place on the water to set new records and win races had very few restrictions – particularly in the aptly named “Unlimited Class”.

The Hispano-Suiza 12Y V12 Aircraft Engine

The Hispano-Suiza 12Y was developed from its inception as an aero engine for the French Air Force, first appearing in 1932. Its design called for two cast aluminum cylinder banks angled at 60 degrees, with bevel gear driven single overhead cams per bank, and non-removeable heads.

The 12Y has twin valves per cylinder, directly driven by the cam, and unlike its predecessor the 12X, the 12Y used a master-articulated connecting rod system, rather than the fork-and-blade type.

When it was first introduced, the Hispano-Suiza 12Y V12 was capable of 760 hp, but it was clear from the outset that it was capable of 1000 hp or more – and development proceeded at a rapid pace in the lead up to WWII.

On its release, the entire French aircraft industry moved to centre around the new Hispano-Suiza. It would be fitted to the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 and Dewoitine D.520 and a slew of other aircraft.

The Soviets produced the engine under license as the Klimov M-100, the Czechoslovakians as the Avia HS 12Ydrs and the Swiss as the HS-77. The act by the Swiss of taking a design from the French and producing it themselves was the possibly the highest single act of flattery that the world has ever seen.

The Hispano-Suiza V12 Powered Hydroplane Shown Here

It took the peculiar genius of Emile Picquerez to choose the Hispano-Suiza 12Y V12 as the power unit for a racing boat. It had never been done before, and it was the leading aircraft engine in France at the time, so someone would likely have tried it (before the Germans rudely navigated their way across the Maginot Line), but Picquerez was the first.

Renowned powerboat historian Gérald Guétat described the motivation and beginnings of the boat in his 1997 book, Classic Speedboats 1916-1939:

“Classic Speedboats 1916-1939′ (Bay View Books, 1997) power-boat historian Gérald Guétat described how: “In France, the Tecalemit company was a major supplier of equipment for cars and aircraft. It was directed by Emile Picquerez, a great yachting enthusiast who ignored the barriers which normally separated sailing from motor boating.

“He had a large collection of both sailing and motor boats, among them some racing yachts of International class….as well as several large runabouts with two and three cockpits. Come winter or summer, his boats were to be seen at the Côte d’Azur or on the Seine. This businessman was behind a number of highly individual racers which allowed France to retain a presence in the great international classes up until the outbreak of war.”

“Picquerez was the man who ordered the greatest single-engine racer built in France in the ‘unlimited’ class. Boats of this class were the only ones capable of breaking the world water speed record. France had not held the record since 1926 with the Farman hydroglider, and in contemporary times only the English and the Americans had really taken up the challenge…”.

Picquerez would christen his new boat the “Aurora” after his beautiful Argentinian wife. It was handbuilt by the Chauvière boatyard at Vitry-sur-Seine with a strong double-diagonal mahogany planked hull using thousands of countersunk copper rivets.

Far from being just a financier, Picquerez personally piloted Aurora to a win in the President of the Republic’s prize at the Cannes Semaine Nautique, averaging 90.34 km/h over the 12 km course, and vanquishing rival Vasseur’s ‘Yzmona V’.

Aurora would continue competing both with Picquerez and in the hands of its next owner – Commodore Gerard. In the years since she’s been beautifully cared for, and still featuring her original hull and engine, the latter of which has been successfully run in the past few years.

If you’d like to read more about the boat or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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An Amphibious Classic: The 1963 Amphicar 770 https://silodrome.com/amphibious-classic-car-amphicar/ Wed, 24 Jan 2018 06:01:22 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=70504 An Amphibious Classic: The 1963 Amphicar 770

The Amphicar is a 100% amphibious car built by the Germans in the 1960s, and lovingly described by their owners as “the fastest car on the water and the fastest boat on the road”. This joke is a reference to the somewhat stately 7 mph top speed on water and 70 mph top speed on...

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An Amphibious Classic: The 1963 Amphicar 770

The Amphicar is a 100% amphibious car built by the Germans in the 1960s, and lovingly described by their owners as “the fastest car on the water and the fastest boat on the road”. This joke is a reference to the somewhat stately 7 mph top speed on water and 70 mph top speed on land – hence the name “770”.

The Designs the Amphicar

The design of the Amphicar was based on lessons learned in Germany from the aptly named Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, a WWII era amphibious car designed by Erwin Komenda – a man who would later design the Porsche 356 and Porsche 550 Spyder alongside Ferry Porsche.

Hans Trippel became fascinated with the Schwimmwagen and believed fervently that there would be a large market for an amphibious “fun” car in the United States. This turned out to be incorrect, but fortunately he didn’t know this at the time, and as a result we now have a few thousand Amphicars dotted around the world.

The Engineering of the Amphicar

Trippel developed the Amphicar with a steel unibody design, a folding soft top, two doors, a rear mounted engine, and twin propellers. The nose of the car needed to be rather boat like for hydrodynamic reasons, but also to ensure it would clear a boat ramp when driving out of the water.

A series of engines were tested in the Amphicar, and the best suited turned out to be a British design, not German. The little 1,147cc inline-4 from the Triumph Herald fit neatly into the engine compartment, and could produce 43 hp that was sent either to the wheels or to the propellers.

Rather than adding the complexity of rudders, steering is achieved using the front two wheels in exactly the same way that the car steers on land. This does work, though rather slowly, so some forethought needs to go into turning when out on the water.

The Amphicar In Popular Culture

The Amphicar launched at the 1961 New York Auto Show to much fanfare. Breathless newspaper articles wondered if it represented the future of all cars, and some even wondered if cars with fold out wings would be next – so people could fly themselves to work and avoid traffic.

In September 1965 a pair of Amphicars crossed the English Channel from France to England, tackling waves that were reported to be 20 feet high and gale force winds in the process. In the same year two other Amphicars would navigate the Yukon River in Alaska – proving conclusively that the little floating car was nothing if not hardy.

The most famous owner was doubtless US President Lyndon B. Johnson, who used to delight in terrifying his passengers on his ranch in Texas, by rolling down a hillside into a lake while yelling something about his brakes not working.

Sadly, the Amphicar didn’t sell particularly well. The manufacturers in West Germany had estimated that sales would be in the order of 20,000 per year, but by the end of production just 3,878 had been sold worldwide.

The 1963 Amphicar 770 Shown Here

The Amphicar you see here is currently residing in France, and it carries a French Carte Grise (a certificate to sail), meaning it can legally be piloted up almost any waterway in the country.

It’s recently been fitted with a new soft top, it had some recent work done on waterproofing the body, and it comes with invoices totaling almost €8,000.

Although only a few thousand were produced, there’s a thriving community of Amphicar owners around the world. Providing an invaluable resource for acquiring parts and advice, and swapping tips and tricks.

If you’d like to read more about this car or register to bid, you can click here to visit Bonhams.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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Van Dam Catnip https://silodrome.com/van-dam-catnip/ Thu, 30 Nov 2017 05:00:39 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=68563 Van Dam Catnip

Van Dam Boats Van Dam was founded in 1977 with a singular purpose – to build the best wooden power and sail boats in the world. The company is based in Boyne City, Michigan where two generations of the same family build classically-styled launches with craftsmanship at a level we more commonly associate with Lake...

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Van Dam Catnip

Van Dam Boats

Van Dam was founded in 1977 with a singular purpose – to build the best wooden power and sail boats in the world. The company is based in Boyne City, Michigan where two generations of the same family build classically-styled launches with craftsmanship at a level we more commonly associate with Lake Iseo than the Great Lakes.

Husband and wife Steve and Jean started Van Dam as a humble enterprise using epoxy and wood cold-molded boatbuilding techniques that Steve had learned working with one of the pioneers of the method in the 1970s. Today the company is run by Steve and Jean’s son Ben, who grew up building boats, and took over the company presidency in 2016.

The Van Dam Catnip

The Catnip project began at Van Dam in early 2016, it was designed to evoke the spirit and styling of the art deco era and the Ventnor runabouts that carved lines across lakes from California to the Carolinas.

People have been building wooden boats for thousands of years, but wood-epoxy construction is still relatively new in the long arc of maritime history. Whereas traditional wooden boats may be finished with oil, varnish, tar, or other sealants, wood-epoxy boats are sealed using modern epoxy resins. Cold molding is the process of laminating thin layers of wood together, with grains in opposing directions, to form compound shapes. These allow the boat to be sealed up watertight, the hull then forms a one-piece monocoque structure with exceptional resistance to rot, swelling, leaking, and marine borers like the Teredo worm.

In order to accommodate 5 people in comfort, the Catnip was designed to be 30′ long, with a beam of 8′ 6″. It has a total displacement of 6,200 lbs, a fuel capacity of 100 gallons, and a top speed of over 60 knots (70+ mph).

This speed is possible thanks to the installation of twin Ilmor MV8 engines, each with a displacement of 6 litres and 385 hp / 411 ft-lbs of torque driving through Borg-Warner V-Drives. To be clear, that’s approximately 41 horsepower more than a Lamborghini Aventador, and 315 ft-lbs more torque.

Interestingly, the Ilmor MV8 has built-in variable valve timing technology, dual-equal hydraulic cam phasers adjust camshaft timing at same rate for both intake and exhaust valves – advancing cam timing for low end torque and retarding cam timing for higher RPM-horsepower.

The engines are installed under the long sloping rear deck, a space that doubles as a sunbed when at anchor. Steering is accomplished with a pair of heavy-duty transom-hung rudders, and engine power is converted into motion thanks to twin raked ACME propellers.

Inside the cabin there’s seating for 5, or 4 with the rear drink-holder/armrest down, there’s also ample storage, a retracting Dietrich soft top that disappears below deck, an ice chest in the seat base, a flip up bolster for the helm seat, a custom banjo-steering wheel with tilt helm, and a hidden-retractable 12” chart plotter.

Catnip has a 150 mile range at a cruising speed of 25+mph, and has her own bespoke trailer matched to her bottom for a glove-like fit. She also has a full mooring and trailering cover to protect her from the elements when not in use.

If you’d like to see more from Van Dam you can click here to visit their website and view some of their other remarkable creations.

All images: Roe Photo, Ferndale, MI

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Nautilus Submarine: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea https://silodrome.com/nautilus-20000-leagues-under-the-sea/ Wed, 08 Nov 2017 04:00:40 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=67619 Nautilus Submarine: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

This is a model of Nautilus, the legendary submarine from the Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was created by Harper Goff’s close friend and protégé Tom Scherman, and presented to Goff as a gift. For the unfamiliar, Harper Goff was the cinematic art director who designed the Nautilus as it appeared...

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Nautilus Submarine: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

This is a model of Nautilus, the legendary submarine from the Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was created by Harper Goff’s close friend and protégé Tom Scherman, and presented to Goff as a gift.

For the unfamiliar, Harper Goff was the cinematic art director who designed the Nautilus as it appeared in the Disney film. He also designed the sets for all of the submarine’s internal compartments, and over the course of his career he would be art director for a slew of iconic films including Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Voyage, and Casablanca (to name just a few).

Interestingly, Goff was also responsible for many of the renderings and concept art for Disney’s proposed “Mickey Mouse Park”, which would of course go on to be known as Disneyland.

This model measures in at 33″ x 5″ x 7″, and Bonhams estimate that it’ll sell for between $5,000 and $7,000 USD when it rolls across the auction block on the 21st of November in New York.

If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to view the listing.

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Bootlegger Fitzke Paddleboard https://silodrome.com/bootlegger-fitzke-paddleboard/ Wed, 09 Aug 2017 05:00:18 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=64667 Bootlegger Fitzke Paddleboard

Kevin Fitzke runs Fitzke Paddleboards out of a one-man workshop in Minnesota, each of his creations are handmade in very limited numbers – and as a result you’re very unlikely to bump into anyone else on shore with the same board. The Bootlegger is named after the legendary Baby Bootlegger speedboat, a 1920s era racing...

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Bootlegger Fitzke Paddleboard

Kevin Fitzke runs Fitzke Paddleboards out of a one-man workshop in Minnesota, each of his creations are handmade in very limited numbers – and as a result you’re very unlikely to bump into anyone else on shore with the same board.

The Bootlegger is named after the legendary Baby Bootlegger speedboat, a 1920s era racing boat that won both the 1924 and 1925 APBA Gold Cups. Kevin builds each Bootlegger paddleboard from Lloyds registered marine grade mahogany plywood using cold-molding building techniques for a water-tight seal.

Each paddleboard measures in at 12’6″ long, 28.5″ wide, and they weigh in at between 36 and 39 lbs – meaning they can be loaded and unloaded by one fit adult. Kevin uses a touring-style design that includes a small storage compartment for supplies, so you can pack a lunch and a few necessities.

More Here

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27 Liter V12 Brown & Bassett Gentleman’s Racer https://silodrome.com/brown-bassett-33-ft-gentlemans-racer/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:01:23 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=64280 27 Liter V12 Brown & Bassett Gentleman’s Racer

I don’t think there’ll be any significant protest when I say that speedboat design peaked in the mid-20th century. Of course, the materials, engines, and hydrodynamics, have all improved considerably in the decades since. However, when it comes to style and design, you just can’t beat a svelte mahogany speedboat with brass fittings, analog gauges,...

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27 Liter V12 Brown & Bassett Gentleman’s Racer

I don’t think there’ll be any significant protest when I say that speedboat design peaked in the mid-20th century. Of course, the materials, engines, and hydrodynamics, have all improved considerably in the decades since. However, when it comes to style and design, you just can’t beat a svelte mahogany speedboat with brass fittings, analog gauges, and a flag hanging off the back.

The concept behind the creation of this boat was developed by Ken Bassett of Onion River Boatworks in Vermont and Tony Brown at Western Runabouts in California, they used the design of a 1920s-era Hacker-Craft named “Nick-Nack” as a basic blueprint – but many modifications needed to be made to accommodate the new engine and handle the power it develops.

The idea of fitting a Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 tank engine to a speed boat is exactly the sort of thing we’d associate with the folks over the pond in the United States. It’s why they’re our favorite cousins.

The Meteor V12 was a development of the legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine from aircraft like the Spitfire and P51 Mustang. The Meteor was developed for use in tanks, and it was so successful that it fundamentally changed the way tanks were designed. With a capacity of 27 liters (1648 cubic inches), no supercharger (as was used on the Merlin) and a power output of ~650 hp, the Meteor proved both reliable and easy to produce – in fact many early Meteors were built from the remains of crashed Merlins.

The original boat, Nick-Nack, had been a major icon in its day, it was owned by Commodore Humphrey Birge of Buffalo, New York and it shattered one-lap, 50-mile and 150-mile records at the Wood-Fisher race at Detroit, Michigan in 1921.

The Commodore’s vessel had a 200 hp Hall-Scott motor fitted – approximately 70% less powerful than the mighty V12 sitting in the new boat handcrafted by Brown & Bassett in 1997 from mahogany. The interior is upholstered from maroon leather and there’s a forward jump seat that is said to be for “brave passengers” – you certainly wouldn’t want to sit in it on a choppy day.

If you have a V12 speedboat shaped space in your garage the Brown & Bassett Gentleman’s Racer is due to be auctioned by Mecum between the 16th and 19th of August and it’s offered with a custom-configured trailer. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid, you can click here to visit the listing.

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