Just when you think the world has shown you all she has to offer and you’ve allowed yourself to slip into that deceptive but warm hot tub filled with the bubbling waters of apathy, out from nowhere comes a blast of icy cold unexpected newness, waking your ass up from complacency and reminding you that this absurd planet still has surprises for you. For me, that blast of frigid water was an email we received this morning from a reader named Seb, currently in France, who informed me that he has spotted “boats with freaking tank treads.” Seb, you have my attention. My friends, allow me to introduce you to Iguana Yachts, the company building amphibious boats with deployable caterpillar treads.
Yes, a boat with caterpillar treads. This is the rarer sort of land-water amphibious vehicle, the one that’s a boat first and a land vehicle second, unlike the car-based designs like the wartime Volkswagen Schwimmwagen or the Amphicar 770 or the Gibbs Aquada or Watercar or any of those. In the case of these Iguana boats, the land-traveling part, which seems to be limited to about 4 mph or so, is mostly for maneuvering or getting into and out of the water, possibly driving to your waterfront home’s garage or your supervillian lair’s vehicle elevator that will lower your boat hundreds of feet under the dormant volcano you’ve repurposed into a clandestine launchpad for your rocket, ready to launch your GPS-scrambling satellite into geosynchronous orbit unless the governments of the world meet your demands.
Here, watch one of these in action!
Why risk sinking your land rover into the ocean by backing your boat trailer into the sea when you can just drive your boat right into the water? In fact, in the situation shown in that video, it’d be kind of absurd to connect a boat trailer to your SUV and drive about an eighth of a mile to the beach to launch your boat. But if your boat can just drive that distance, over whatever terrain? Perfect
Holy crap, look at this video:
You see a person like that whipping around the sea and then driving out onto the land like it’s nothing and you have to wonder who is this dude? The Emperor Of The Beaches?
Often when I’m sent links like this for novel engineering designs for exciting and expensive-sounding vehicles of some sort, further reading on those respective websites reveals that all the images are renders and the company is still in the process of convincing people to give them lots of money to get started. That’s not the case here! Seb sent us a picture of the Iguana treaded-boat he spotted in the wild:
And, there’s even some used ones for sale on sites like Yachtworld, where you can feel the sting of reading those prices:
Yikes, the cheapest one of those is house-priced at $328,303. That’s a lot. But, if you need a fully-capable boat that you can at least sort of drive on dry land, where else are you going to go? Also, I’m guessing the target market for these isn’t daunted by a six-figure price when this is a blurb in one of their brochures:
Yes, that island-owning demographic isn’t really one known to be pinching pennies, except perhaps for sport, or as part of some highly-focused workout/wellness program.
It’s hard not to let your imagination run wild when seeing pictures like these. Sure, the (optionally electric, which look like they have a battery life of about 3 hours – I’m not sure about the range of the combustion-powered variant) motors that drive those treads only will take it about 4 mph, but if you’ve already got the money for one of these, couldn’t you hire some clever engineer to get those babies up to, say, 50 mph? Then you could drive your boat out from your island/converted oil platform off the coast of California, then drive right onto the beach and take it through Malibu, sit in traffic on the 405 and then the 5, and meet your buddy at a diner in Echo Park before driving your land-boat through a fence and doing donuts in the Silver Lake reservoir? Sure you could!
I bet there’s some rich people towns where you could slowly putter your boat from your house, through residential streets and through town, and down into the water, then emerge later at some other coastal rich-people town and drive the damn thing right to a sushi restaurant. This feels like an achievable dream. I mean, not for a broke-ass like me, but for someone.
Look at that. It’s driving over loose rocks and little mossy boulders? All while being the color of the accent rug at a beach-community realtor’s office? Incredible.
Here’s what the treads look like as they deploy; when stowed, they conform to the shape of the hull:
Man, this feels like such a better way to blow a lot of money than, say, a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, which costs about the same but is absolutely ruined the first time you drive it off a beach and into the water. Who wants that kind of crap?
I wonder if Iguana does press trips? Or has press boats? I want to drive one of these through a Taco Bell drive through then straight into a lake so badly.