Cool Amphibious Trucks: Make Your Own Safezone in the Apocalypse

of 06

Escape to Open Water

The H2OEX Extreme and Terra Wind from CAMI, LLC boldly claim "unsinkable" technology. © Cool Amphibious Manufacturing International, LLC

Throughout the Walking Dead franchise (including the video games) there’s a magic place of presumed safety that no one ever seems to quite make it to. In the novel World War Z, it’s a safe place that’s a little short on resources. That’s saying a lot. The same goes for I Am Legend. Untouched by most apocalyptic scenarios, open water gives a sense of serenity, removing you and your loved ones from the prospect of attack but challenging you to dig deep for nutrition.

Okay, obviously we’re ignoring a few scenarios like the one posed by Kevin Costner in Waterworld, the global flooding/tectonic shifts of the movie 2012 and don’t even get us started on the Godzilla franchise. We simply can’t seriously suggest you look into commissioning the creation of a weaponized submarine that’s the size of a cruise ship. This is a website about trucks, right?

 The bottom line is: master land and water travel and your chances of survival dramatically increase. No one delivers the perfect trucks for this approach like Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International, LLC (CAMI for short).  

CAMI offers so many different build-to-order amphibious fantasies that it’s too difficult to pick just one. So we didn’t. Depending on your personal preferences and budget, we selected two amphibious vehicles from opposite sides of the spectrum that are perfect for saving loved ones and helping others in a doomsday scenario or real-life flooding scenario. They’d also be an amazing tag-along on your next vacation.

of 06

The H2OEX Extreme by Cool Amphibious Manufacturing Incorporated, LLC

4-Wheel Drive combined with floatation tires and plenty of torque means the H20EX Extreme isn't challenged by beach or ramp exits and entries. © Cool Amphibious Manufacturing International, LLC

On the more affordable side of things is the H2OEX Extreme. Like the outrageous Sin City Hustler, this beast begins life as a simple Ford Excursion. This Excursion, however, has far greater ambitions than being stuffed to the gills at your local Costco. CAMI begins its transformation by dropping in a 240hp Turbo Yanmar marine engine. The stock 325hp Ford Powerstroke 6.0-liter engine stays to drive the behemoth on land while the Yanmar takes over in the water. Both powerplants sip diesel out of the same 55-gallon fuel tank.  The Powerstroke sees an average of 13.8 mpg pushing out power through the 4-wheel drivetrain. The Yanmar, propelling the truck through a jet drive system, averages a consumption rate of around 6 gallons per hour under average load.

When in water, the Yanmar powers a jet drive system, with forward and reverse thrust controlled through a Morse shifter on the dash. Turning the front wheels adds additional steering power to the truck in the water, but the bulk of directional control comes from hammering on the throttle in a jet drive system (the jet changes direction with the steering wheel and shoots you where you want to go). You’ll be thankful for the jet drive system (meaning no propeller) if you should find yourself in the shallows where the undead typically lurk right under the surface. That’s probably a bad place to have to change a propeller that’s been snarled by the flesh of a hungry abomination.

of 06

Unsinkable in the Water, Unstoppable on Land

The H2OEX Extreme's bumper is designed to push its way through a mid-sized tree. © Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International

On that note, how well does CAMI make the “World’s Longest SUV” float? The manufacturer claims the craft is unsinkable. If similar claims about the Titanic come to mind, CAMI has a very convincing demonstration here. The secret involves a proprietary application of flotation foam that integrates the material into the truck’s chassis. To showcase how well their flotation foam system works, the folks at Cool Amphibious remove all the plugs from a vessel they made with the same technique and load it with water-filled barrels to simulate the weight of equipment, passengers and a powertrain. The entire craft maintains at least 6-inches of clearance above the water. If you should have a run-in with the Governor, the Wolves, the Stoneheart Group or a similar band of thugs bent on evil, at least you know you can sustain some damage and still be fit for a brilliant aquatic escape.

The H2OEX Extreme boasts similarly tough credentials on land. Hampered by natural or man-made roadblocks? The front hull of CAMI’s truck has a reinforced 3/8” thick aluminum plate that’s capable of pushing over medium-sized trees with no damage to the vehicle. For even hairier situations there’s two 9,000-lb. capacity Warn winches—one mounted on the vehicle’s front and one on the rear. If a dramatic relocation is necessary (say an air-drop into a compound of heavily-armed cannibals like the ones at Terminus), take advantage of the vehicle’s 8-point roll cage that has built-in eyes for crane lifting.

Helping you get where you need to go is a set of over-sized flotation tires that, when combined with the vehicle’s all-wheel drive system, deliver plenty of momentum to get in and out of the water on ramps and sandy beaches alike. An optional Lowrance GPS system can rely on CDs for travel in every country of the world.

Thanks to all of the H2OEX Extreme’s extra trappings, the massive Ford Excursion it’s born from is transformed into an 8-foot wide, 19-foot long behemoth that stands 8 feet and 3 inches tall and tips the scales at 9,500 pounds.

of 06

The Terra Wind: A Luxurious Refuge in the Apocalypse

Careful attention to weight balancing and a single rear axle make for side-to-side stability, keeping the Terra Wind "shiny side up". © Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International, LLC

As large as it is, the H2OEX Extreme gets lost in the shadow of its older brother.

For those looking for the final word in apocalyptic comfort, nothing beats the Terra Wind.

John Giljam, the driving force behind CAMI’s engineering brilliance, wanted to cook up a machine that was luxurious, fun and seaworthy. What he ended up with is a 42.5-foot long, 102-inch wide Class A RV that can be optioned up with the customer’s choice of luxurious acoutrements and piloted through a body of water.

A single 330hp diesel engine powers both the wheels and the two 19-inch bronze propellers of the Terra Wind (watch the shallows!). Power is sent from the engine to both the automatic and the marine transmissions, and the driver selects which one is in use by putting the other in neutral.

of 06

An Unsinkable Refuge

Premium teak wood, rich leathers and thick-pile carpet are all available as options for the luxury aquatic RV. © Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International, LLC

Like its kid brother, CAMI’s RV is mounted onto an aluminum boat hull that receives the same flotation foam treatment to ensure a robust, unsinkable platform. The wheels are incorporated into the boat’s hull with waterproof seals inside and out, and the propellers are built into a tunneled section of the hull to keep them protected from scraping speed bumps or ramps.

Looking at the picture you might be wondering the same thing we were. “This thing stands pretty tall in the water. What good is it if it’ll capsize and then we have to deal with the apocalypse AND drowning?” John thought of that, too, building the craft with a single rear axle and intentionally proportioning weight for side-to-side stability in the water. Testing prototypes must’ve been extremely intense.

of 06

Worth the Expense?

The slide-out room extended in the water showcases the side-to-side stability of the Terra Wind. © Cool Amphibious Manufacturing International, LLC

Depending on how strong your taste is for the finest of teak woods and the softest of hides, the Hydra Terra can cost anywhere upwards of $850,000. Giljam’s personal model that showcases the design to prospective customers is around a $1.2 million proposition. Of course, the interior floorplan is completely customizable to your needs, as well.

Think the price is a little steep? Just imagine how different The Walking Dead would’ve been if Dale had one of these babies…