If you’ve got it, flash it — that’s the philosophy of Swiss automotive group Rinspeed, noted for customizing modern high-performance cars and restoring classics of an older vintage. Every year, Rinspeed aims to design a concept car for the Geneva Motor Show to showcase considerable design and engineering talents.
One such was the Rinspeed Splash, the eye-catching effort in 2004. This was a true one-off concept vehicle. At first glance it appeared to be an attractive topless blue two-seater roadster (albeit with a quirky rear spoiler and strange front aerofoils) that would be perfect for a summer spin along country roads. But wait . . . as the name suggests, the Rinspeed Splash was also a boat.
As soon as it hit the water a rear panel flipped up to reveal a marine Z-drive fitted with a three-bladed propeller in the horizontal rest position. As the Splash reached a depth of around a metre, the driver could switch power from rear wheels to propeller, creating a very effective speedboat that was quite capable of towing a water skier, or simply tearing about allowing the Splash’s occupants to enjoy the wind in their hair and spray in their faces. But wait . . . it was also a plane.
Well, not actually a plane, though to be fair the Splash could definitely fly. A sophisticated hydrofoil system allowed the cabin to lift off the water, with that quirky rear spoiler rotating through 180° and two V-shaped hydrofoils unfolding from the Splash’s sides. Thus equipped, this unique vehicle lifted its wheels clear of the water and sped along at high speed.
The Splash was powered by a turbocharged 750 cc two-cylinder motor powered by natural gas, maintaining Rinspeed’s interest in the latest eco-friendly technology.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
750 cc Twin Cylinder
Top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h) on land, 45 knots on water; 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.7 secs (on land)
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Also on the land/water theme, Rinspeed’s 2008 sQuba was an amazing tribute to the famous Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me, that conveyed James Bond and his beautiful companion to safety after turning into a submersible. The sQuba, too, could ‘fly’ underwater – based on a Lotus Elise, it did require the occupants to wear aqualungs.