This may be a bit of a hot take to post here on Jalopnik Dot Com, but I personally think vehicles should be fun. Sure, you could get a Corolla, or you could spice it up a bit with a Civic Si. You could buy a Boston Whaler, or spend that same money on a used wakeboard boat. But what about you lovers of Amphicars or Schwimmwagens? Is there no performance alternative for you?
Never fear: we’ve got you covered. How does a 450 horsepower, LS-engined, manual transmission, two-door drop top sound? One that, unlike a Camaro, doesn’t sacrifice your love of driving a car straight into a lake without calling your insurance agency. Even better, we’ve found you one for a steal — marked down from $275,000 to a current bid of $5,890.
I present: The 2008 CAMI Hydra Spyder. It’s tested up to 125 mph on the streets, and 46 knots (about 53 mph) on water, so its performance credentials are legit. Its five-speed manual transmission send power to the front wheels, but CAMI used the originally-longitudinally-placed LS2 rather than the designed-for-transverse-layouts LS4. Is this a Saab-style longitudinal FWD layout? CAMI’s website doesn’t say, so it seems I have no choice but to buy this and find out for myself. I’ll have to start a GoFundMe.
CAMI’s brochure brags that the Hydra Spyder “looks like a car,” which is both generous and understated — it doesn’t look like a car, it looks like many. Also, it still looks unmistakably like a boat. The Hydra Spyder’s overall shape echoes the New Edge Mustang, but with headlights from an alternate universe where Oldsmobile made the Viper. The tail end is somewhere between a Meyers Manx and a Barbie Jeep, but with all the width and flares and weird bumpers of a car meant to sail the seven seas.
Awesome Joe Auctions claims this Hydra Spyder is one of only six cars built, though CAMI never seems to give an indication of how many amphibious two-doors they’ve unleashed on the world. The company’s 2019 catalog shows photos of at least five distinct cars, none of which match this particular example.
Interestingly, this color combination and weird horizontal rear bar appears to most closely resemble a Shock Top Lemon Shandy promotional vehicle featured in a 2013 local news segment. If the Awesome Joe numbers are accurate, this has to be the same vehicle — and if they aren’t, there’s still a good chance.
When the Hydra Spyder was new, it cost a whopping $275,000, but this one has only been bid up to $5,890 with one day left on the auction. It’s even located just outside St. Louis — maybe you could take it down the Mississippi on the route home.