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Making an amphibious vehicle, but then had a problem... Answered

After watching that one episode of BBC's car show "Top Gear", the one where they do their first attempt at amphibious cars, I had a design idea for one. But after thinking about it for some time, my design brought up some classification questions.

1. In the US, any vehicle with less than 4 wheels is considered to be a motorcycle. If the vehicle I have in mind operates like a car, but has the classification of a motorcycle, AND it can operate as a boat, would it be legally appropriate to label it as an amphibious motorbike or an amphibious car?

2. Taking hydrodynamics, weights and buoyancy into account, the vehicle design so far could hold 2-3 people. If it was two, then the seats would be arranged vertically. If it was 3, then they would be arranged as a triangle. So if it was a three seater, would it be better to have two at the front or at the back?

That's all the questions i can think of right now.



3 years ago

If it has three wheels it will need to be registered as a motorcycle and a boat. Two reg. required.


4 years ago

I don't know about the rules and regulations in the various US states in regards to vehicle modifications, but I do know most countries will require an engeneering certificate if you want to register it.

If it is not just a toy for he use on private property I would start by checking if you actually can get your creation on the raod and into the water at all.

Seat arrangements should be considered after a proper weight cheack to determine the fulcrum point and make sure the center of gravity if correct.

A front engine car of small size is likely to be extrem front heavy.

Even if it is perfercty boyant the engine weight will cause it to act weird in the water as the mass simply won't follow instantly with the waves.

Without massive mods an amphibious car ends up to be an iceberg - most of it will be under water and very hard to push through the water.


4 years ago

1. Don't bother with labels until you get it working.

2. Think - if you only have one person on board, where is the best place for them to sit? Also, for road vehicles, the driver (usually) needs to be at the front.