To some people, off-roading means getting off the main roads and heading out to trails, deserts, mountains …
To others, like former body shop owner Dave March, off-roading means being able to drive your car into a lake.
“The idea of going fast on water in a car has always intrigued me,” says March, an avid “high-performance anything” enthusiast (he builds and pilots fast cars, boats and planes). And because high speeds occasionally lead to accidents, March also developed a knack for repairing things.
So he opened a collision repair shop, grew it into one of the largest facilities in the world and co-founded Caliber Collision Centers. In 1998, he accepted an offer to sell his business and semi-retired. Suddenly March found himself with spare time and pent-up creativity.
“A dangerous combination for me,” he says.
Around this time, his youngest son became fascinated with amphibious cars so together, they found a 1964 Amphicar and restored it. But all the work wasn’t worth the reward. Once in the water, the Amphicar was slow and not as much fun as they expected.
Disappointed but not deterred, March threw himself into researching every amphibious vehicle in the world and learned that of all the amphibious vehicles ever built, no one had successfully built a true high-performance one. He also realized that everything he needed was right there in Southern California and that he could build a high-performance amphibious car from off-the-shelf parts.
Enter the WaterCar.
“When you go in the water, you simply drive in, put the transmission in neutral, engage the jet, flip the switch to raise the wheels, and you’re boating,” says March, who put 3,000 hours of work into the car’s shell and bottom alone. “When I’m in the water, the big question is, ‘Does it really drive on land?’ and when on land, ‘Does it really go in the water?’ “
Although March built the WaterCar as a recreational vehicle, I propose we take it one step further …
At one time or another, most of us have thought, “If I could just drive through this lake rather than around it, I sure would save some time!”
And that, my friend, is where we’ve been missing the boat. An amphibious car is not only fun, but efficient.
Fact is, in today’s fast-paced society, every second counts – you’ve got wrecks to repair and insurer bean counters on your back about cycle times, severity and labor rates. It’s also a well-known fact that driving around bodies of water is a waste of time.
Just like a new piece of equipment for your shop will streamline production, a WaterCar for your drive will streamline your daily commute – giving you more time behind a desk and less time behind the wheel.*
Writer Georgina Carson is editor of BodyShop Business and a harried commuter. Her goal in life: to find a faster means of transportation so she can sleep longer in the mornings.
*If you don’t encounter any creeks, rivers, lakes or oceans on your drive to work, an amphibious vehicle isn’t going to do you a darn bit of good.