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In real life, cars tend to sink in water. This however, can be averted in fiction (and in Real Life). This trope applies whether a normal car can inexplicably float or work as a submarine, or a modified car can do this (more realistic). These can overlap with Cool Car, the Alleged Car, and What a Piece of Junk!. Contrast to Sister Trope, Flying Car. Sub-Trope of We Don't Need Roads.

Examples of Amphibious Automobile include:


  • The trope picture is from a 1967 Volkswagen advertising campaign. The beetle could stay afloat for several minutes more than a normal car due to it's quality engineering.
    • The TV ad shows it even better.

Anime And Manga

  • The Mach 5 can not only float but can be a submarine for short periods of time.
  • In Kokoro Library lina drives a VW Schwimmwagen (see Real Life section). Comes in handy once or twice when she forgets to look where she is driving and ends up in the riwer.
  • Seta's van from Love Hina can function as a submarine for no apparent reason, but considering he's such a horrible driver, it's probably in his best interest.



  • The Polish adventure novel series, Pan Samochodzik (Mr. Automobile), was about an amateur detective whose car happened to have such a capability.

Live-Action TV

  • The Discovery Channel show Monster Garage featured the cast attempting to turn a Mazda Miata into one of these. It worked until the air intake (placed too close to the nose) took in water, killing the engine.
  • One of the infamous Top Gear Challenges had the three presenters tasked with converting the vehicle of their choice into something capable of driving to and across a reservoir. Apparently the fact two of the resulting contraptions were qualified successes as opposed to the usual hilarious failures went to their heads, as a few seasons later they decided to refine their designs and make an attempt at the English Channel. Clarkson's pickup truck actually made it across.
  • Larry the Cable Guy met someone who built a working part-boat part-car vehicle on Only In America. Also counts as a Real Life example.
  • In the series Viper after being destroyed and rebuilt the car that the series is named after is able to covert into a hovercraft.


  • National Lampoon ran a Parody version of the VW ad, basically saying that if Ted Kennedy had been driving a VW he wouldn't have had that trouble in Chappaquiddik.

Mulitple Media

  • Bionicle: the Vahki Transport used by the Toa Metru to travel to and from Metru Nui to Mata Nui was conveniently seaworthy. It was, however, mostly held up by the Matoran capsules attached to it, and later by pieces of dried-up plant matter. Its lack of wheels meant there were no holes on its hull for the liquid protodermis to pour in.

Real Life

  • A few real examples, excluding the beetle, are amphibious cars like the World War II Schwimmwaggen and GPA,the The Sixties Amphicar and a host of less famous cars. Ironically, by far the most successful wasn't a car at all: it was the DUKW amphibious 2-1/2 ton truck, which are popular among military vehicle collectors and used as emergency and excursion vehicles even today.
    • The Rinspeed sQuba is designed to behave like the aforementioned Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me. However, it's open-topped rather than watertight and as such, requires the passengers to wear SCUBA gear.
  • A non industrial example: Floating Cubans. Cubans take normal cars (often old American cars) and modify them so they can float across the Ocean to Miami, using propellers, buoyant oil drums and/or water sealer.
  • While tanks usually cannot float, both the British and the Americans figured out how to make them amphibious in World War 2, the Americans using pontoons and the British using canvas displacement screens. The Germans, on the other hand, developed deep water fording kits using snorkels to allow their tanks to motor across the bottom, Postwar, with tanks grown too big to be floated, several other nations also developed deep water fording systems, an idea that has since been given up as impractical.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40000 : the Inquisitorial Chimera ignores water features (it even has "Amphibious" as a Special Rule)

Video Games

  • Amy Rose in Sonic R drives a car which has the ability to float on water.
  • In Spy Hunter, you can drive into the water and your car automatically becomes a boat.
  • The cars in Diddy Kong Racing can stay afloat and even move in water, albeit extremely slowly.
  • The James Bond game Nightfire includes an Aston-Martin that converted into a submarine.
  • An 8-bit licensed game of MASK turned the "Gator" vehicle (a Jeep with an ejectable boat) into a Jeep that turned into one, so it could actually be usable.
  • The Karts in Mario Kart 7 can turn into submarines if any of them land in the water.

Western Animation

  • In Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats, the Cadillac could convert into a boat.
  • Part of the opening to Speed Zone featured a supercar being skipped across a body of water. Not quite floating, anyway.
  • Dr Claw in the Inspector Gadget cartoons could turn the Madmobile into a submarine (and an airplane).
  • The Belgian series Kapitein Zeppos also had an amphibious car.
  • The eponymous Supercar.
  • The Commvee in The Wild Thornberries.
  • During a chase, Kim Possible called the Tweebs to ask if the Sloth had aquatic modifications. After hearing the answer "sure", she tried to follow Shego and Junior into the water. Unfortunately, the Tweebs thought she'd asked if they could install aquatic modifications, and had not actually done so.
  • Superfriends (1973-74) episode "The Weather Makers". The villains have a car that can operate as a speedboat.
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