What can you do when your neighbour has a Lamborghini Countach just like yours? One answer is to find one that will swim! Mike Ryan has a bit of a thing about amphibious cars – he even runs a company (called SeaRoader) that builds them. Back in 1995 he decided to turn his hand to producing a floating Countach, having already set various water speed records with his Streamline in 1984.
The basis of the amphibious Lambo was a kit; Mike picks up the story: “I don’t remember which kit it was, but I do remember that pretty much every Countach replica available featured a roof line that didn’t have the slope of the original. That’s why I had to comprehensively re-engineer the kit so the lines were more convincing. That was the easy bit though; far harder was getting the car to swim. The first step was to seal the floorpan along with the driveshafts and steering column. The inboard suspension was by pushrod-operated coil springs and telescopic dampers, while there was an adjustable hydrofoil at the front. To propel the car through the water there was a power take off between the two seats, which drove a pair of propellers at the rear of the car via chains”.
Mike continues: “In the middle there was a 4.2-litre Rover V8, and thanks to its light weight some who drove the car reckoned it handled better than the real thing. It certainly did in the water! Thanks to all the scoops and ducts (as per the original design), the floating Countach also didn’t overheat – something that many amphibious cars are prone to”.
The car was pretty convincing, with a lot of Lamborghini bits being used for added reality. All the glass, dashboard and wheels/tyres were genuine Lamborghini items and anybody who saw the car assumed it was the real thing – they also didn’t guess that it could swim. The car was so successful that it spent two years in Hollywood appearing in various films and TV shows, although Mike had to move the steering wheel from the right-hand side to the left when it was exported. He retained ownership throughout though, and when the car returned to the UK in 2000, the steering wheel was moved back over and the car was sold to a British Airways pilot from Northampton. That’s the last Mike ever saw of the car, so if you know where it is please add to the story below as it would be great to know what happened to the floating Countach.