Recently, an interesting piece of grassroots engineering came across my desk. Facebook user Nathan Gibbons posted a video to the Range Rover Classic Owners Facebook group demonstrating a lifted Range Rover Classic that received an interesting new lease on life… it can be driven underwater, sort of. Let’s discuss this mighty vessel’s engineering.
First and most apparent: there’s a really, really long snorkel coming out from the engine compartment, tilted aft. This is pretty genius; it’s high enough to allow for exploration of great depths, and the tilting allows it to slice through the water very efficiently, like a Thresher Shark’s tail (actually, that’s a completely in-accurate comparison, I just think Threshers are fascinating).
It’s kind of similar to Fred Williams’s (Dirt Every Day) “Tubesock” — a TJ Jeep Wrangler with a similarly ambitious snorkel system for short-distance underwater operation. Willams also employed a SCUBA-style breathing apparatus for himself… a luxury of self-preservation that this brave Range Rover sub commander appears to have forgone.
The engine seems to be a non-special Rover V8; the owner probably did some sealing around the electrics, somehow. But otherwise, these things are known to not need a lot of water sealing. Though of course this requires next-level sealing.
Elsewhere, it looks like the front passenger glass was removed (er, just lowered) for safety reasons. They didn’t fully seal the interior, and in fact, needed to exit the passenger seat to breathe; that aspect is probably still in development.
The wheel arches were cut and re-formed, possibly to help water pass through. Actually, probably just due to cancer removal or collision damage. Maybe a bit of both.
Finally, the vehicle appears to be lifted, allowing for good clearance through the underwater pond-scape, with sturdy enough tires to roll over the pond floor, but not dig in and maroon the one-man crew on a new, man-made British Isle.
Potential Sea-Faring, Defense Industry Heavyweight?
After a little detective work, it appears that this homemade piece of fine craftsmanship is based in Chesterfield, United Kingdom. The poster, who could either be the vessel’s captain, or the cinematographer documenting this great feat, but isn’t Thomas Dolby, lives there, so naturally this would have to be classified as a Chesterfield Class submarine. It’s not as advanced as even the U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles Class submarines, but a fine piece of nautical engineering nonetheless. I bet our friends over at The War Zone would agree.
While it’s commendable and absolutely hilarious that these goofy, Chesterfieldian country folk created this wonder of aquatic transportation, it’ll probably never go into any kind of mass production. That’s ok though, I salute them for it nonetheless.
Would you drive a car underwater if you thought it’d probably make it?