£431,420 of floatable motorhome
‘It is exceptionally unique,’ says John Giljam, the 6-foot 8-inch president and owner of Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International LLC (C.A.M.I.). Understatement of the century. Between him and his wife Julie, the couple have conceived a gigantic RV (Recreational Vehicle – American speak for motorhome) that has the ability to travel 85mph on motorways and not sink when you drive into a lake. In fact, it becomes a rather graceful seven-knot watercraft. At last, a vehicle where you can tap ‘shortest route’ into the sat nav and drive as the crow flies. Sort of.
‘The Terra Wind has been designed with ultimate luxury in mind’ adds Julie Giljam, with South Carolina gusto. ‘This vehicle offers state of the art electronics, marble floors, granite countertops and plush leather furnishings as just a few of the options. Each Terra Wind is a custom work of art. With every buyer being different they may customize exactly what they want to achieve with their coach. The land, the lake and the luxury are what we are here to give every owner.’
TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
As it transpires, the Giljams aren’t new to this amphibious game. Their relationship with water adoring land vehicles began when they used to run a tour company on Hilton Head Island, Carolina. Paying customers would climb aboard John’s ex-Vietnam War 1963 LARC V to be guided through various wet and dry terrain. Finding the ex-troop and supplies carrier somewhat cantankerous, John got his notepad out and designed what was to become the Hydra-Terra - an unsinkable amphibious tour coach. Not so much a car that can swim, but more a restyled boat with wheels. ‘I just wanted to be able to walk into a regular auto parts store to purchase bits for a new vehicle’ he said. Having successfully used his previous expertise with farm and construction machinery, John founded Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International in 1999 and started selling his Hydra-Terra for tourism as well as search and rescue purposes. But then he had another thought.
MIRROR, SIGNAL, BUOY
His confidence is backed by the fact his vessel is built on a 100 percent aluminium hull, with all of the weight carefully distributed in the bottom of the boat. Even the bay window rooms can be extended out on water, thanks to inflatable pontoons for extra balance. In full swim mode, the Terra Wind’s lower three and a half feet of body is under water, so expect an algae tide line beneath the front bumper. Although it’s meant for lakes and rivers as opposed to the open sea, the Terra Wind can tackle three-foot waves/ship wakes and 40mph gusts. All metal parts such as the axle and suspension have been doused with the same marine grade coating as used in cruise ships. Should you get caught in a slosh, there’s always a three-zone bilge pump system and an anchor stashed under the rear deck.
‘WE’RE BUILDING A FLOATING TRAILER…’
Have you noticed how genius thinkers don’t always channel their talents towards constructive thoughts. Terrorists, for example, may be evil pieces of work but often they’re cunning, clever folk. I once went to school with a ginger haired Scottish-Somerset cross breed called Blair. He could breeze through science class without so much as listening to the teacher, all the while spending time sketching detailed schematics of home brewed bombs made of household cleaning agents. He did, I believe, build a prototype. I have absolutely no idea if he’s still alive. The point is, he could have designed something as clever as this - the Terra Wind: a bond baddie-cum-lottery winner spec amphibious all terrain palace. More likely, he’s probably still crashing Astra GTEs.
Size: 42’ 6” long, 8’ 6” wide, 12’ 6” high, 273” wheelbase
Weight: 31,000lbs (14.061 metric tons) fully fuelled and watered, sans occupants, dogs, jet skis and jumbo cigar humidors. Maximum capacity 35,000lbs (15.875 metric tons).
Propulsion: Caterpillar 3126E turbocharged 7.2-litre diesel engine, 330hp @ 2,400rpm, twin 19” bronze propellers with stainless rudders.
Extras: a Pneumatic staircase, granite counter tops, leather upholstery, back swim deck, marble floors, eight-jet whirlpool tub, teak wood cabinetry, anchor…