Carpool DeVille: The World’s Fastest Hot Tub

The Carpool DeVille Hot Tub Car

Back in 1996, a group of engineering students at McMaster University set out to build a fully functional hot tub housed in a working car. They chopped up an abandoned 1982 Chevy Malibu and converted it into The Carpool.

That group of students graduated, and began work on the Carpool DeVille. Six years later, they’re ready to take it to Bonneville Salt Flats to claim the title of “world’s fastest hot tub.”

There has been some substantial modifications to the vehicle to make the Carpool a reality. A custom fibreglass tub was built to drop into the passenger compartment, and heat exchangers were added to the stock engine system to heat the water. The plumbing and pumps for the tub reside in the truck, while the original V8 engine is up in the front. A custom air suspension system allows them to carry the massive volume of water. There’s even a marine throttle to control gas and brake from the driver’s seat in the tub.

The folks behind the Carpool DeVille ran a Kickstarter to fund their race costs. The campaign is over, but you can still check out the story and pictures of the conversion. Since it was a successful campaign, we’re looking forward to seeing this custom vehicle out on the salt flats.

27 thoughts on “Carpool DeVille: The World’s Fastest Hot Tub

    1. The original was a 1982 Malibu, “Iraqi Taxi” version (automatic shifter on the steering column instead of the floor). I know, because it used to live in my driveway. I didn’t do very much work on the vehicle (I helped a little here and there), but three of my housemates were heavily involved. We had so many crazy projects going on in that house that our neighbour 3 doors down phoned the police and tried to convince them that we were running an illegal chop shop out of our garage! The two years that we lived in that house were great times :)

      I’ll be interested to see if they try running a speed record with it filled. The original needed to have its frame supported (at least initially) so that the shocks wouldn’t commit suicide under the weight of all of that water!

  1. During a scortchingly hot summer, I think it was 1998, I was spurred into similar action. I backed my F150 up to my deck, lined the bed with a sheet of visqueen, and filled it with water. It was great!

    I did wonder what would happen when I released the water. I eventually drove it out into the street, near the storm drain. I evaluated the force of the water against the gate by pushing on it – surprisingly, it was not that much. I could fairly easily take the force off the latches. Buoyed by that confirmation, I opened the gate and stepped aside. I was actually able to step aside before any water hit me. It doesn’t sound possible, but it was.

    Fun times.

  2. The math seems a bit suspicious. In 1996 they started on mk-I in college. On mk-II, “.. they graduated and 6 years later…” it’s 2014. So they we’re in school in 96 and didn’t graduate till 2008. So either they earned double PhDs in Hot Tub Engineering and Hot Tub Construction Management Techniques… or they spent too much time in college in hot tubs soaking parts they shouldn’t shrivel!

  3. A good start would have been to work with the guys at the Bonneville Event they plan to run it at. As it stand right now, it will not pass tech and make it onto the track.

    1. I’m not so sure. Read the full Kickstarter page, including the risks section. Sounds like they’ve been through the rulebook and have worked hard to ensure their car complies.

      1. I’ve read the whole page. They haven’t (yet) contacted the automotive technical committee about running a vehicle full of water (among other issues). As an absolute minimum, water slopped onto the track would be a hazard for other racers. Before that they will need to make it through safety tech which I doubt it would pass. USFRA (another racing group) might let them run in September, or they could hook-up with someone’s private event. But I think SCTA/BNI is a no-go.

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