Wonder car makes a big splash
On Sunday, Vinod took his wonder car for its first spin ? through the backwaters of Thiruvallam in the outskirts of the city. As his modified 1985-model Maruti went into cruise control, gaping tourists and locals followed him everywhere, reports Ramesh Babu.Updated: Feb 14, 2007 00:48 IST
Is it a boat? No, it’s the car that has taken the city by storm with its ability to run both on land and on water.
Trapped in his car on a flooded street during the monsoon, city-based auto mechanic PS Vinod had only two things on his mind — how to get home and how to make sure he isn’t caught in a similar situation in future. Get home he did, though with much difficulty. But safe and dry at home, he didn’t forget how it felt to be trapped for hours on end. Then followed three years of exhaustive research, the end result of which is the amphibious car.
On Sunday, Vinod took his wonder car for its first spin — through the backwaters of Thiruvallam in the outskirts of the city. As his modified 1985-model Maruti went into cruise control, gaping tourists and locals followed him everywhere.
The ability to drive on water cost the 28-year-old Rs 8 lakh. So, how does the car work? “The body is light metal. On the road, the petrol engine works; in water, an outboard Yamaha engine automatically takes control,” says a proud Vinod. “Driving in deep waters is really smooth and fuel-efficient. Once the car lands in water, the propeller becomes active and there is an automatic water disposal system to prevent water getting into the engine,” he says.
The car is made for two, can go up to speeds of 30 kilometres in water and 60 kilometres on land, is full air-conditioned, has a DVD player, high-tech horn and cozy interiors.
With his maiden trip a runway success, Vinod now plans to hit the Arabian Sea and touch Kanyakumari. And he has big plans for his invention: “First I will apply for a patent. Then I will approach some firms to fund commercial production of the vehicle.”
The new vehicle will be useful during natural calamities and in waterlogged areas, he says, adding that he has been “flooded with inquiries” about his car.
First Published: Feb 14, 2007 00:48 IST