What It’s Like To Drive The Weirdest Amphibious Car Ever Built

This amphibious 1994 Hobby Car is the pre-production prototype of only 52 actual Hobby Cars built. It was insanely overpriced in its day—about the cost of two contemporary BMWs or Jaguars—but then again, it’s an amphibious, mid-engined, roofless, doorless cab-over slab of crazy that you can drive right into the water. How do you put a price on that?

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Welcome back to a new season of Jason Drives! This time around I got to drive some gloriously bonkers stuff, but it’s hard to beat the Hobby Car for raw bonkersism.

For all you hardcore amphibious vehicle enthusiasts, though, this episode has something special, something I’m pretty sure has never been recorded before: a drag race between the best-known, most successful amphibious car—the Amphicar—and the Hobby Car. On water and on land.

I’m pretty sure the result of this will be a horrific flame war erupting in the comments between the Amphicar camp and the Hobby Car cultists, but I think it’s worth it, for science.

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Also, two things to note: as you watch, see if you can figure out what car the taillights of the Hobby Car are from, and also see if you can guess how horribly sunburned I got from being in a roofless car all day in the intense Tennessee sun.

And, as always, a big thanks to the Lane Motor Museum for loan of the car, and for the staff (and Jeff Lane himself) for coming along to help out! What a sport.

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)