[lit-ideas] Re: One step closer to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 08:42:41 EDT

It would indeed be "pretty hype".  Unfortunately I have only the info  the 
article disclosed ...not being an engineer... you might ask  ...um....Mike?  
(Re. installing gas stations across the ocean not only  would it be a VERY bad 
idea, but I think undoable?
Julie Krueger
clueless but interested

========Original  Message========     Subj: [lit-ideas] Re: One step closer 
to Chitty Chitty Bang  Bang  Date: 10/18/2006 7:32:04 A.M. Central Standard 
Time  From: _erin.holder@xxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:erin.holder@xxxxxxxxxxx)   To: 
_lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   Sent on:    
Hm, how far can you go with it? E.g. if we were to  install gas  
stations on the ocean (a very bad idea, I might add),  could one drive  
across an ocean with it?  That'd be pretty  hype.


Quoting  JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx:

>         (http://ads.web.aol.com/link/93102604/aol) Okay,  how cool  is
> this?   And I thought I wanted a Hummer....!   (http://www.cnn.com/)
>  (javascript:void(printArticle());)
>     _Aquatic  car  drives with 'oooomph' - CNN.com_
>  (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/10/17/amphibious.car.ap/index.html)   
>    (javascript:void(printArticle());)
>  Aquatic car drives with 'oooomph'
> RIDGELAND,  South Carolina (AP) -- It's not terribly easy to  parallel park 
>  automobile on a lake.
> Now, John Giljam knows this to be as true as the  highway is long, and  for
> good reason: He's tried to park his car  on a lake -- and on rivers,   
>  ponds, even
> the  Intracoastal Waterway.
> Giljam, in fact, has practiced not only parking  on water; he's become  
> adept at turning sharply on it. (He no  longer gets drenched in a  curtain 
> spume when cornering, he'll  have you know.) And he's mastered  the art of
> steering clear of  critters -- geese, mostly, though gators have  a habit of
> surfacing  at inopportune moments.
> It helps, of course, to learn these aquatic  feats behind the wheel of  his
> latest creation, the "Hydra Spyder,"  an amphibious car that cruises   
> on  H2O as
>  easily as it does on blacktop.
> With its snazzy snout, convertible top,  Corvette V8 engine and jet
> "impeller" -- the stainless-steel cone  protruding from the rear that  
>   propels it
>  through water -- the Hydra Spyder is poised to become the   first,   
> mass-produced
> amphibious automobile in  America.
> "It's incredibly nimble in the water. The Spyder turns  smoothly, docks
> easily," the 46-year-old inventor boasts.
> It has  one shortcoming, he concedes. On the water, "the parallel  parking
>  really sucks."
> Giljam tingles at the idea of anglers taking their cars  out on lakes  for a
> day of fishing; of rush-hour commuters  bypassing congestion by    
> taking a river
> as an  alternate route; of water-skiers bouncing along in  the wake of a
>  speedboat with four wheels.
> "I honestly feel I've been born with a gift,  and it was for creating
> mechanical things," he says. "It's what keeps me  up at night."
> Ten years ago, Giljam operated a Jet Ski rental company on  Hilton Head
> Island. Business was brisk, he recalls, but one day two  customers   
> crashed  into
> each other. Though  they weren't hurt seriously, he shut the business  
>    down, he
> says. "I would not be able to function if something I owned  and    
> operated hurt
> somebody."
> Which then  got him to thinking: Could an aquatic vehicle be designed to  be
>  fast and safe?
> By 39, he had invented -- and patented -- the world's  first unsinkable  bus
> and the world's first aquatic, luxury RV.  Producing amphibious cars   
> on  a grand
> scale  would be, as he sees it, a "logical" new endeavor.
> Washout
> His  Hydra Spyder is not the first of its kind to crawl ashore.   Civilian,
> amphibious vehicles have been around for more than a  century,  and European
> manufacturers have long dominated the  trade.
> Yet, while some models have been able to raise dust on a  highway,  nearly 
> have been agonizingly slow in the wet, where  wheels create  drag. One
> well-known washout was the "Amphicar,"  which was mass-produced  in   
> Germany from 1961
>  to 1968. On roadways, the Amphicar got up to 70 miles  per hour but
>  disappointed in the water, mustering a dash speed of just 7  miles per  
> In the mid-1990s, Alan Gibbs, a New Zealand  inventor-entrepreneur,  founded
> Gibbs Technologies, of Nuneaton,  England, with the aim of    
> developing the first
>  high-speed amphibious car. (Gibbs had a 194-foot  yacht, which he  enjoyed
> outfitting with aquatic "toys" -- meaning anything  from a  Jet Ski to a
> submarine.)
> In 2003, after seven years of work with  70 British engineers and  
> Gibbs launched "Aquada," an  amphibious sports car, a la 007,  with   
>  retractable
> wheels and a jet drive that propelled it along water at  a  maximum speed of
> 32.8 miles per hour.
> To the acclaim of  the British media, it made its test-run at London's
> Docklands, scene of  a high-speed boat chase in the James Bond film   
> "The   World Is
> Not Enough." Not long thereafter, the Aquada made the  Guinness  Book  
>  of Records
> for the fastest  crossing of the English Channel by an  amphibious vehicle.
> (Sir  Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic,  planed across in    
> 1 hour, 40
> minutes and 6 seconds.)
> At the time,  Giljam's company, Cool Amphibious Manufacturers  International
> LLC,  which he founded with his wife, Julie, in 1999, was  turning out
>  amphibious buses, a dozen or so a year, at a factory in   Rochester,   
> N.Y. (Tour
> operators are the Giljams'  main clients; eight  "Hydra Terras" are   
> currently  in
> operation in New York City.)
> The Aquada's big splash threw  Giljam into creative overdrive. "I  suppose,"
> he told a reporter  once, "we just wanted to answer the Brits."  The 
> he  envisioned would have to be faster, tougher, and more  economical than  
> Aquada, which retailed for $300,000.
> And unsinkable.  "Safety," says Giljam, a 12-year veteran of a rescue  squad
> in his  native Lakeville, New York, "means everything to me."
> And so, he took to  the drawing board.
> History in the making
> Today, the factory  doesn't look like much from Interstate 95: a
> sand-colored,  corrugated-roof structure on an 11-acre wedge of   
>  property  covered in
> knee-high weeds and hemmed in by overgrown  live oaks.
> On the floor of this 20,000-square-foot building, though,  amphibian  
> is in the making.
> Near the far corner,  the lemon-yellow, fiberglass body agleam, sits a  
> Spyder --  the prototype, actually. It sold last November -- for  $175,000.
>  "This gentleman was insistent," says Julie, "and we needed the  cash   
>  for the new
> plant."
> A non-disclosure agreement  protects the identity of the buyer, one of  the
> wealthiest men in  America -- a "Forbes Top-50 kinda guy," Giljam says  -- 
> from  the West Coast, who took delivery before the Giljams could  test it 
at  a
> motor speedway.
> They did test the prototype in the  water.
> One afternoon, moments after rolling the Hydra Spyder smoothly  off a  dock 
> Bluffton, South Carolina, John Giljam remembers how  "a lady came  running
> pell-mell down the dock, screaming: 'Don't  worry! We've called  911! The 
> department is on its  way!"'
> John and Julie tried to explain what an amphibious vehicle was,  even  took
> the woman for a spin around the lake. Still, her  expression seemed    
> clouded as
> she walked away from  the dock, muttering.
> The Hydra Spyder "has that effect sometimes,"  Giljam shrugs.
> On this day, the mystery tycoon's Hydra Spyder is back in  the shop for
> adjustments: a new, 502 CID Chevy Race Engine that will  boost   
> horsepower  from 400
> to 500 -- one step  below dragstrip capability -- and new,    
> heavy-duty  mufflers
> to subdue the motor's roar.
> "Apparently," Giljam  explains, "it was hard to hold a conversation with  
> engine  running."
> In an adjacent pod, welders and mechanics are handcrafting  the  
> aluminum hull of Hydra Spyder No. 2, which will  have a  racing 
> "super chargers," and other  high-performance  features.
> These help provide what Giljam calls  "oooomph" -- which is something  
> racers most desire after  plowing their cars into a body of  water.
> To switch the Hydra  Spyder into "marine mode," the driver simply  presses a
> button,  which drops the clutch, disengages the road drive,  shifts the
>  transmission into aquatic duty, and retracts the wheels. The     
> jet-drive kicks in then,
> allowing the Hydra Spyder to plane  across water  like a speedboat at 
> than 50 mph.
>  Oooomph does come at a cost: Base price is $155,000 -- to which can be   
> all kinds of extras, including heated seats ($1,000), a  custom  
> system for in-Spyder cinema ($5,000),  Lamborghini door  systems ($2,000), 
> teak interior trim  ($1,500).
> And though not intended for use on open seas, this amphibian  can be  fitted
> with a fishfinder.
> So, even as Detroit  automakers struggle to survive, the future looks  
> for Cool  Amphibious Manufacturers. The Giljams have 6 orders for  Hydra
>  Spyders. Within five years, they hope to expand their new factory     
> and produce 75
> Hydra Spyders a year.
> Their top  competitor, Gibbs Technologies, for the time being at least,  has
>  withdrawn from the amphibian automobile market. Steve Bailey, a Gibbs
>  spokesman, says the company made 50 Aquadas, then stopped in 2005    
> because  the engines
> used were discontinued when their  maker went bankrupt.
> "We are looking for an alternative engine to bring  the Aquada back to  
> again," Bailey says. Still, he says,  Gibbs Technologies doesn't  plan to 
> in a dogfight with the  Giljams.
> "We'll be looking to license the technology out this time to  other  
> that might be interested in producing their own  vehicles," he  says. "We 
> a technology development  company."
> Which means the Giljams can focus on improvements to  performance and  
> As it is now, all cavities in the Hydra  Spyder's "hull" are packed with
> flotation foam, approved by the U.S.  Coast Guard. "You could flood   
> the  motor,
>  knock a 12-inch hole in the Spyder's bottom, and still it would   float."
> And, for the record, how good is it on gas?
> On land,  somewhere around 16 to 18 miles per gallon of premium gas.  (This
>  amphibian can also run on an ethanol mix without modifications.) Not   too
> shabby, Giljam says, for a 3,400-pound vehicle that is 18.6  feet   
> long  and a foot
> wider than the average  landlocked car.
> He adds: "When you put it in the water, you burn a lot  more fuel and  the
> odometer doesn't move. Tires don't rotate in the  water, you know."
> Which, perhaps, is why Julie Giljam always reminds  customers: "Before  you 
> into the water, fill her up."
>  Copyright 2006 The _Associated Press_
>  (http://www.cnn.com/interactive_legal.html#AP) . All rights   
>  reserved.This  material may not be published, broadcast,
> rewritten,  or   redistributed.


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