This is the Sea Lion, and its maker Applied Design is claiming it's the fastest amphibious car in the world. Not only that, but it's up for sale…
This is the Sea Lion, and its maker Applied Design is claiming it's the fastest amphibious car in the world. Not only that, but it's up for sale - yours for a snip at $259,500 (RM830k)
Although it's named after one of the most cumbersome animals around, the Sea Lion is actually remarkably swift. It's powered by a 174hp '13B' rotary engine from a 1974 Mazda RX4 - not the most auspicious power plant, but enough for a theoretical 179mph on land and 60mph on water.
The Sea Lion's prodigious turn of speed - regardless of the state of the surface it's travelling - on stems from its lightweight aluminium construction, which makes it over 580kg lighter than its closest competitor.
On land, drive is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox. On water, the Sea Lion uses a highly modified jet drive pump, forcing liquid through a three-inch nozzle for propulsion, as well as to control pitch and steering.
A conventional steering wheel and pedals arrangement is employed in normal driving, while moving to water sees a switch to a fighter jet style joystick control to dictate the attitude of the Sea Lion's water jet.
The developer has designs for an even more powerful version using a specially built Mazda RX8 engine churning out anywhere between 300 to 600hp and has been experimenting with different hull designs to help improve speed and stability.
The Sea Lion's front wheels retract up into the arches when things get wet, with two aluminium covers plugging the holes, while the jutting front spoiler moves into its upward position to deflect any serious waves.
The car's water speed is actually limited by its horsepower output, so here's hoping the new owner drops a more potent engine into the Sea Lion's engine bay to further progress on the high seas. Monaco harbour here we come.
Any new motor would still have to offer an excellent power to weight ratio as the Sea Lion has been designed with a certain buoyancy balance in mind. A drastic change in power plant might see the need for a few bailing buckets...
The chassis was designed by Mark Witt of Applied Design and is a fully waterproof (thankfully) bespoke design that borrows few components from other road cars.
It's only a single seater, so you won't be able to take your mates out for a spin - shame, as this is has to be one of the coolest vehicles known to man.
Applied Design doesn't seem all that bothered about securing the title of the world's fastest amphibious vehicle, claiming, 'the sport has virtually no rules, and is much more of a competition against physics, than it is a competition against drivers. And for some, that is what competition is actually about.'
It's a confident approach, and given what it's got in the pipeline, it could be taking that crown simply as a by-product of striving to push the boundaries of cross-discipline engineering.
For a one-man effort by Witt (he basically is Applied Design) it's a brilliant piece of design and manufacturing. He says he's 'happy to stay on as a consultant for the new owner, helping to improve the Sea Lion's performance further.'
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