Great Inventions Come from Body Shops!
Say Hello to the Amazing WaterCar
Every once in a while, we find a body shop owner or a tech who comes up with a great invention and this is one. It’s called the Water Car, the brainchild of Dave March, owner of Fountain Valley Bodyworks in Fountain Valley, CA. March is a dreamer and an inventor. He enjoys thinking outside-of-the-box, or in the instance-- on top of the water. His brainchild is called the WaterCar, a hydro-friendly amphibious vehicle that can be used to drag water skiers and tubers at more than 40 miles per hour.
Inspired by the Amphicar of the 1960s, March started working on the WaterCar more than 15 years ago as a personal challenge to build the world's fastest amphibious vehicle. He had no plans to ever offer it to the public, March explained, but as he began refining his creation, he saw a need and a market for the WaterCar.
“We’ve designed several models over the years, with the goal to make it better every time,” March said. “Our first version of the WaterCar was a purpose-built vehicle, to be very fast on both land and water. “But when the WaterCar established the amphibious speed record with our Python model, our attention turned to reliability and we began designing a vehicle to offer to the public.”
After numerous successes and failures, 27 patents and literally thousands of labor hours later, March’s dream has been achieved. It’s called the Panther—and the very first WaterCar to be offered to the public. March and his all-star team consisting of top automotive designers and technicians have tweaked with the WaterCar’s design and by using state-of-the-art equipment at Fountain Valley Bodyworks, they’ve come up with the ultimate vehicle for both land and sea.
Is the WaterCar more automobile or more boat? Legally, amphibious vehicles need to be registered both as a car and as a boat in the U.S. and display both license plate and hull numbers. “In some states, the Department of Transportation is still a little confused about the concept, but more and more they’re embracing the WaterCar,” March said. “Arizona, California and Nevada have been a little tough in getting onboard, but eventually we’re confident that they will eventually embrace the idea. We’re getting them approved, but in some cases we have to jump through hoops to get it done.”
March recently received a ton of publicity when he drove his WaterCar all the way from his shop in Fountain Valley to Catalina Island. The story made page one of the Chicago Tribune and created a buzz worldwide. “We made the 30-mile trip at around 40 miles per hour and we used about 10 gallons of fuel one-way. Typically, a boat will get around four miles per gallon, so the WaterCar isn’t just fast, it’s also green and very economical. When we pulled into that harbor, the people were shocked and surprised when we drove up!”
Celebrities and billionaires are showing interest in the WaterCar, but anyone with $140,000 lying around can buy one, March said. “Wealthy folks are always looking for the newest toy and the WaterCar definitely fits the bill. These famous people make us sign non-disclosure agreements, so I can’t tell you any names. But, I can tell you that one individual who is awaiting delivery of his WaterCar is the founder of a very well-known tech company.” (And his last name isn’t Zuckerberg, Ellision or Wozniak!) The attention this vehicle has gotten is pretty amazing, to say the least.”