Up for auction is one of the most innovative amphibious projects ever conceived!
The Dobbertin HydroCar
Designed and Built by Rick Dobbertin
If your private collection is in need of something radical, unique, one-off, hand-built, and surely never to be duplicated – you just found it.
The HydroCar made its debut on the cover of
Popular Mechanics Magazine
Then went on to appear in Forbes Magazine,
as well as two Monster Garage publications.
The Dobbertin HydroCar is a stainless steel framed, aluminum-bodied, meticulously crafted amphibian that literally transforms its shape from ‘LAND MODE’ to ‘WATER MODE’ with the mere flip of a switch.
On land, its full-length articulating sponsons (or pontoons) are raised and become the car’s fenders. Upon entering the water, the sponsons are lowered nearly eight inches to transform the car into a tunnel-hulled watercraft within a matter of seconds.
Rick Dobbertin, the builder of two ‘Cars of the Year’ for Hot Rod Magazine, designed and fabricated the craft over a ten-year period, investing over $172,000.00 in parts and over 19,000 man-hours.
Realistically – if the HydroCar had been commissioned as a project, the $172,000.00 in parts – along with $760,000.00 in labor (That’s 19,000 man-hours @ $40.00 per hour) would have a total cost of $932,000,00.
The car was originally sold in June of 2011 for considerably more than it is being offered for at this time, and was subsequently taken off of the market for over a year.
In the thirteen months that followed, the buyer only made a few sporadic payments and never took possession of the craft – do to some very difficult financial circumstances on his end.
Last month, the sale was mutually dissolved and the HydroCar is now being relisted at a substantially reduced price:
The HydroCar is not being sold as a 100% completed craft – but rather as a nearly completed project that still needs some additional water testing and ‘dialing-in’ to achieve its full potential and get it up on plane.
The several times that the craft has been water-tested, the growing consensus is that the prop is a major part of the problem. Getting it up on plane will most likely require modifying the bow to a more hydrodynamic shape and experimenting with some additional props to find the optimal pitch and diameter.
The HydroCar is also not being sold as a daily driver – for either land or water. It would be a handful to drive on the road – due to its size and its limited driver visibility.
However, the HydroCar is also not being offered at a cost of nearly $1,000,000.00 – which more accurately represents the actual cost of its parts and labor
Even without making any changes, or replacing a single bolt, imagine the HydroCar’s advertising potential:
The HydroCar will fit neatly into any car, boat, custom, or high-tech category, yet remain unique enough to establish a category all its own.
The HydroCar is a natural for a Trade Show. If it’s in your booth, you can be sure that everyone attending the event will find the time to make it over to your display.
How about putting the HydroCar in the window of your dealership – slightly angled, with a hint of the prop facing the storefront? Curiosity is going to get the best of just about anyone passing by.
How about a movie? With its articulating sponsons and futuristic styling, the HydroCar would make a great addition to any high-tech, action-adventure or science fiction film.
– TECHNICAL INFORMATION –
THE DESIGNER / BUILDER:
The HydroCar was designed and built by Rick Dobbertin.
Rick’s former projects include a 32’ long stainless steel amphibious craft, dubbed The Dobbertin Surface Orbiter, which was completed in 1993 and traveled through 28 countries and 38 states, logging in 30,000 land miles and over 3,000 miles on the open sea.
Before the Orbiter project, Rick had designed and built two of Hot Rod Magazine’s Cars of the year.
The first was Hot Rod Magazine’s “1982 Street Machine of the Year” – a 1965 Nova SS featuring a twin turbocharged, 6-71 supercharged, nitrous-injected 454 Chevrolet engine, a full tube frame and roll cage, with massive ‘pro-street’ tires in the rear.
Rick followed the Nova by designing and fabricating Hot Rod Magazine’s “1986 Street Machine of the Year” – a 1985 Pontiac J-2000 featuring a twin turbocharged, twin supercharged, nitrous-injected all-aluminum Chevrolet 350 engine, a polished stainless steel frame and ‘wall to wall’ tires in the rear.
The center body section of the HydroCar is built around a space frame and roll bar constructed completely from 304 stainless steel.
The articulating sponsons, which become the vehicle’s fenders while in land mode, have frames fabricated entirely from 6061 aluminum.
Both the center body section as well as the side sponsons are covered with a 5086 marine-grade aluminum skin. The wall thickness is .125".
The front wing as well as the roof mounted wing and air scoop are also fabricated from 5086 marine-grade aluminum with a wall thickness of .090".
The auxiliary sponsons are constructed of .125" wall thickness 5052 aluminum and are braced with aluminum bulkheads for added strength.
The entire body is covered in nearly 14 gallons of duPont Imron 2006 Corvette Velocity Yellow.
The center body section has closed-cell urethane foam added to many open areas within the wheel wells to aid in the floatation of the craft.
The articulating sponsons are filled with marine-grade cavity-filling foam from RHH.
The auxiliary sponsons are filled with closed-cell urethane foam that can easily be removed or installed to change the floatation characteristics of the craft.
The HydroCar produces power from a fully dyno-tuned World/Merlin all-aluminum roller-cammed 572 cubic inch Chevrolet engine, producing 762 Horsepower @ 5,800 rpm and 712 Pounds of Torque @ 4,200 rpm.
A 16" x 3" K&N high-flow air filter supplies the carburetor with adequate air flow.
A single AED 1050cfm "Pro-Street" Dominator carburetor feeds the engine.
The intake manifold and valve covers have a show-quality polished finish.
The crankshaft is a 4340 forged Eagle unit.
The connecting rods are Eagle H-beam 4340 with L-9 bolts.
The pistons are Mahle-coated by Manley.
The piston rings are by Total-Seal.
The bearings are Clevite H-bearings.
The camshaft is a Comp Cams hydraulic-roller with .647 lift on the intake and exhaust.
The valves are Manley Race-Masters. The intake is 2.300" and the exhaust is 1.880".
The rocker arms are made by Scorpion.
The oil pump is a high-volume unit made by Melling.
The Moroso oil pan is a high-capacity design.
The distributor is an MSD billet marine unit.
The ignition controller is an MSD 7-ML-2 Pro Race Marine unit.
The ignition coil is an MSD HVC-2 unit.
The charging system comprises of an MSD 5111 APS 160-amp one-wire alternator.
The starter is a 3-horsepower high-torque MSD 5095 unit.
The main battery is an Optima D31T with 900 cold-cranking amps.
The auxiliary battery is a Bosch 78/77B with 770 cold-cranking amps.
The all-aluminum, multi-core Afco radiator measures 18.5" x 35.5" x 6" and is mounted in the front compartment.
The radiator has a custom made shroud with dual 16" diameter electric fans.
The radiator transfer tubes tie into two of the main stainless steel frame rails, running from the front compartment to the engine compartment.
Below the craft is an aluminum, 16-row keel cooler which adds an additional 3-gallons of coolant and acts as a very efficient secondary radiator.
Under the engine there is an auxiliary coolant tank, which contains an additional three gallons of coolant to increase the overall coolant capacity.
A Derale 15820 8-pass oil cooler complete with a 10" cooling fan aids in the cooling.
The exhaust begins with JBA large-tube stainless steel headers and a titanium coating.
There are dual 3" stainless steel exhaust tubes – outfitted with two expansion bellows on each side, covered their full length in exhaust wrapping by Thermal-Tec.
Dual Supertrapp 3" stainless steel racing mufflers keep the sound level to a legal limit.
The power is transmitted through a fully manual Quadzilla 4L80-E 4-Speed racing automatic transmission specifically built for the HydroCar by Performance Automotive & Transmission Center.
A Derale 13720 8-pass transmission cooler complete with a 10" cooling fan helps to cool the transmission fluid.
A B&M Magnum Grip Street Bandit shifts the transmission.
Behind the transmission is an Atlas fully gear-driven transfer case splitting the power to the front wheels for LAND MODE or to the prop in WATER MODE.
Levers up front also let the driver select both front and rear driveshafts simultaneously during launchings or landings to make entering or exiting the water much easier. The low-range ratio is 3.0:1.
The front axle is a Currie Enterprises RockJock all-aluminum Dana 60 with a 3.54 ratio. It houses a Dana limited-slip, heavy-duty shafts steel and aluminum one-ton F-350 Ford style axle hubs with six half-inch studs on a 6.5" bolt circle for the wheels.
The rear axle is a straight tube type with an open center for propshaft clearance. It is also equipped with one-ton axle hubs and six half-inch studs on a 6.5" bolt circle for the wheels.
The custom-made three-piece 3" FleetPride driveshaft, powering the front axle, features heavy-wall construction and 1350 series U-joints for strength. There are also three pillow-block supports, which help to keep everything aligned properly.
The rear propshaft is also a custom-made 3" FleetPride unit, powering the Arneson Surface Drive. The propshaft uses 1410 series U-joints.
Both the front and rear axles are supported by three Firestone Ride-Rite air bags on the top for suspension in LAND MODE and two air bags on the bottoms to raise them in WATER MODE.
Stainless steel 4-links and stainless steel panhard rods locate both axles.
There are two Sensa-Trac shocks at each corner of the vehicle, yielding a total of eight.
WHEELS AND TIRES:
The wheels are Alcoa forged, polished aluminum 17" x 8" rims with eight round holes.
The tires are P265/70R17 Michelin LTX Mud and Snows.
The brakes are Stainless Steel Brake Corporation’s Elite aluminum 4-piston calipers clamping onto plated and vented rotors on all four corners.
There is one cable-actuated auxiliary driveshaft brake for the front axle.
There is one cable-actuated auxiliary propshaft brake for the prop.
The brake lines and brake line fittings are all stainless steel from Classic Tube.
There is an auxiliary brake vacuum pump by SSBC, to make sure there is always plenty of vacuum in the braking system, even when the car isn’t running.
FOUR-WHEEL STEERING ON LAND:
The steering operates through a single Flaming River stainless steel tilt column, with a heavy-duty chain drive engaging two Superwinch locking hubs, mounted below the dash, enabling the driver to select the front axle steering, the rear marine drive steering or both at the same time for launching and landing.
The steering box is a Flaming River manual unit for the front axle.
The rear axle utilizes an electric actuator for the rear steering. The front and rear axles may be turned independently of each other, so they can be used to either decrease the turning radius or ‘crabwalk’ the HydroCar to either side. (It’s great for parallel parking.)
The ‘750-Horsepower-Upgraded’ version of the ASD-6 Arneson Surface Drive, from Twin Disc is equipped with a 1.56 ratio gear-drive for reliability.
The Rollo 6-blade, stainless steel propeller measures 17.5" Diameter with a 22.5" Pitch.
The trim pump is a 12-volt electric/hydraulic Parker unit delivering the fluid through high-pressure stainless steel braided lines to the trim cylinder.
An extra long trim cylinder was custom fabricated by Nu-Way Hydraulics to enable the Arneson Surface Drive to be raised adequately for driving on the street.
A March power steering pump and serpentine pulley kit pressurizes a Char-Lynn hydraulic helm unit for effortless steering on the water.
The fluid transfer is handled through Parker and high-pressure stainless steel braided lines to the steering cylinder.
There are twenty-five VDO Cockpit instruments on the dash.
The three instruments over the steering wheel include a programmable speedometer for the land, a tachometer and a pitot speedometer for the water.
Other VDO instruments include, oil press, oil temp, water temp, trans temp, engine vacuum, brake vacuum, voltmeter, ammeter, left fuel level, right fuel level, rear axle steering angle, Arneson Surface Drive trim angle.
In addition, there are ten air pressure monitors, including the main air pressure, regulated air pressure, sponsons up air pressure, sponsons down air pressure, axles down air pressure axles up air pressure, auxiliary front axle air pressure, auxiliary rear axle air pressure, sponson doors open air pressure and sponsons closed air pressure.
Below the instruments are the three levers that control the sponsons, (up and down) the axles, (up and down) and the wheel well doors, (open and closed).
There are forty-five Oslo Controls and switches to activate all of the systems.
There are 16 LED indicators for the sponson doors, so the driver can be sure that they are fully opened or fully closed.
The steering wheel is a Flaming River 13.8" Revolution.
There are two Superwinch locking hubs under the center of the dash to select the steering between the front axle, the marine drive, or both.
A B&M Magnum Grip Street Bandit shifts the transmission.
There is a horn button for the electric horn and a lever for the air horns under the dash.
The headlights are hidden. They are raised and lowered with the touch of a button located inside the cockpit.
The headlights are Hella Xenon Blue bulbs.
The taillights have double sockets in each position, so there are a total of twelve bulbs in the rear assemblies. These include four amber turn signals, four red stop lights and four white reverse lights.
The radiator compartment has two lights.
The front suspension compartment has four lights.
The passenger compartment has two lights.
The engine compartment has six larger lights.
The rear suspension compartment has four lights.
There are also three Navigation lights – Red on the Port side, Green on the Starboard side and a Clear one for the Stern light.
The Superwinch locking hubs that are used to engage the steering shafts are safety-rated for a 1-Ton truck axle, so there is no chance of failure.
Every piece of glass on the HydroCar is PGW Solex laminated glass for added comfort and safety.
The car is equipped with Deist 4-Way seat and shoulder harnesses on both seats.
There are two fire extinguishers mounted in the cockpit, behind the seats.
There are two safety latches on each door, the hood and the rear deck hatch.
There are two stainless steel safety pins in the front of the rear deck to make sure it doesn’t open at the wrong time.
Length – 268.5" (22 feet, 4.5 inches)
Width – Without the auxiliary sponsons – 96" (8 feet)
Width – With the auxiliary sponsons – 124" (10 feet, 4 inches)
Sponson vertical travel between Land and Water modes – 7.5"
Height – 63.5" (5 feet, 3.5 inches)
Ground Clearance – 7"
Wheelbase – 137.5" (11 feet, 5.5 inches)
Track – 72.5" (6 feet, .5 inches)
Weight – 8,500 Lbs
Engine Oil – 9 Quarts
Transmission Fluid – 15 Quarts
Transfer case: 2 Quarts
Front axle – 2.5 Quarts
Cooling system: 9 Gallons
Surface Drive – 3 Quarts
Marine Trim – 1.5 Quarts
Marine Steering – 4 Quarts
There is over a mile of wiring in the HydroCar.
There is one 500-amp fuse right on the main battery that protects the entire electrical system.
There is over 450 feet of air, vacuum, hydraulic and coolant hoses on the HydroCar.
There are 36 Fuses in the craft.
There are 16 Relays in the craft
There are 599 powder-coated parts on the craft.
The HydroCar is equipped with two horn systems. It has a very meek 12-volt horn that can be used if someone is blocking your way, or you want to get someone’s attention.
There is also a 4-Trumpet ‘train style’ air horn that can be used if a little more attention is required – from someone a mile or two away.
There is a full set of ‘KITT’ lights just in front of the windshield to give the HydroCar a high-tech ‘Knight-Rider’ look.
There was over fourteen gallons of DuPont Imron used to paint the HydroCar.
– Not Included in the Sale but can be purchased for $25,000-
– 2009 – 34’ CLASS ACT GOOSENECK TRAILER –
This trailer is best way to transport the HydroCar, safely and securely, from one place to another –within the United States, or overseas.
There has been $29,747.99 invested in the trailer, plus hundreds of hours to make everything just right for the HydroCar.
The trailer has only been used three times and has very few miles:
One round-trip from Syracuse, NY to Charlotte, NC – 1,456 miles
One round-trip from Syracuse, NY to Chicago, IL – 1,358 miles
One round-trip from Syracuse, NY to Detroit, MI – 804 miles
Total trailer miles – 3,618 miles
One of the problems with having a vehicle that measures 96” wide is finding a safe and secure way to transport it.
After some extensive searching, Class Act Trailers was commissioned to custom build this one-of-a-kind trailer.
The composite sides are only about 1” thick, so this 102” wide trailer actually does yield a full 100” inside – even at the rear door frame!
To make sure that the trailer was unique and well suited for the HydroCar, it was fabricated with three massive 90” wide concession-style doors on the left side and a 60” wide double-door on the right. There is extra steel bracing between the concession doors, so there are no issues with it flexing as you travel down the road.
The three concession-style doors are great. Once you have a trailer outfitted like this one, you’ll wonder how you lived without them. Not only do they give incredible access to the car, but it can be even be displayed without ever removing it from the trailer.
Of course, the driver can easily get out of the car from the center trailer door, or even from the rear trailer door, while the car is still being winched in. Loading the trailer with other gear is also made easier by opening the front concession door along with the conventional double-door on the right side of the trailer.
The ramp-overs (the raised areas over the trailer’s inner fenders) are very solid and another area that makes the trailer very useful. Pulling a car inside the trailer for a quick inspection between races or routine maintenance on a vehicle is a lot easier with these ramp-overs. They are each 24” wide, have 52” between them and stand 13.5” high. There is still 71.5” from the tops of the ramp-overs to the ceiling.
2009 Class Act Gooseneck Trailer.
34 feet overall, with 26 feet on the floor and 8 feet on the raised section in the front.
The outside height is about 9 feet, 8 inches overall.
100” Interior Width – front to back – even through the door frame.
85” Ceiling Height – with 71.5” over the ramp-overs.
The two diamond plate ramp-overs measure 24” wide and 13.5” high.
There are two removable wheel chocks on the ramp-overs, set up for the HydroCar.
The front gooseneck mount is height adjustable and requires a 2-5/16” ball.
Composite sides with no seams or screws on the exterior – truly a work of art.
One-piece roof with no seams whatsoever.
Polished stainless steel aerodynamic front trim package.
Diamond plate under the front gooseneck section.
A storage compartment under the front gooseneck section
Three 6,000 pound Dexter torsion axles – with electric brakes on all the wheels.
Six aluminum All-Star wheels.
Six ST235/80R16 tires.
A powered 10,000 pound front landing gear – double leg.
A separate battery for the front legs, winch and breakaway braking system.
Screw-less, fully vinyl lined interior walls and ceiling.
Two non-powered roof vents
Four 12-volt LED ceiling lights.
Six 110-volt 48” double fluorescent light fixtures with diffusers.
Dual light switches for the 110-volt lights – for the right and left banks.
One 110-volt outlet installed near the light switches.
Two 12-volt outlets installed near the light switches.
Ten D-rings installed in the trailer floor – four in the front and six in the rear.
Advantech 5-year flooring with a black chip-resistant coating.
An S-5000 Superwinch with a pulley-block for pulling a car into the trailer.
Two extra heavy-duty ramp-overs made from plywood and aluminum diamond plate.
Right side 60” x 72” double entry door with flush locks.
Three left side 60” x 90” concession doors with 6” between them.
REAR DOOR AND ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT:
Heavy-duty ramp door with a winch assist and a pulley block.
Modified rear door for extra capacity – 2” box tubing covered with diamond plate.
Diamond plate over the entire inside of the door.
Stainless steel rear door trim with custom taillights.
Aluminum cam bars and latches with keyed locks.
A separate battery and remote switch for the rear door winch.
Two 10’6” heavy-duty ramp extensions made from plywood and aluminum diamond plate.
Polyester covered urethane foam pads and custom made mounts to protect the auxiliary sponsons while they are stored in the trailer.