Half A Chevy Becomes A Boat Launch

A tired 1990 Chevy Lumina isn’t the platform one would normally pick for a custom build. When you’re drag boat racing team on a budget though, you use what you can get cheap. Normally small boats are launched and landed using a trailer and tow vehicle. [Ashley Ruf’s] team at Little John’s racing is launching her boat “Kwitchabitchin” with a bit more style.

The team started by cutting the Lumina in half. Since the Chevy is a front wheel drive platform, everything behind the driver is more or less along for the ride. The gas tank was relocated, and notched to receive the front of the boat. The team then added a quad tire trailer frame. The frame is connected to the car with a long hydraulic cylinder. When the boat is being launched or landed, the cylinder can extend far enough to get the boat floating.

You might be thinking that there is no way this is street legal, and you’d be right. The Lumina only gets the boat into and out of the water. The boat is then pulled all the way forward using the hydraulics. The boat/car pair is a then perfect fit inside the team’s racing travel trailer.

You can check out a video of the car at work after the break

29 thoughts on “Half A Chevy Becomes A Boat Launch

  1. I see tail lights so that would be perfectly legal in Ohio. No inspections on anything older than 25 years!

    Licensed as a historic “show vehicle” it would probably impress law enforcement if they paid attention at all.

    1. Should be possible to get ‘experimental vehicle’ tags in most other places. Might have to throw a more substantial roll cage on there to check off some ‘experimental safety device’ boxes. You’ll also probably be restricted to state roads and maybe daylight only operation.

      1. You can drive anything that will move its own power on a “transporter” plate in the many (all?) states. No safety inspection, no title, you don’t even have to own it. Insurance requirement is steep. Often used to bring used cars from an auction back to a dealership.

  2. I have a brilliant Mechanical Engineer friend from Great Britain who found a totaled 7 series luxury BMW in a German salvage yard once. The front was fine but the back was a disaster. So what did he do? He found the same model again, also totaled but this time with front end damage. He OF COURSE bought the second one, cut both in half, and proceeded to weld the two together. He then linked all systems together, did all the requisite body work, and had himself a perfectly running BMW luxury sedan. The work was SO perfect that he ALMOST successfully traded it in years later for a new BMW. A very thorough underneath inspection finally hinted to the dealer that “something is a little different about this car”.

    Regardless, he enjoyed years of high speed motoring on the A3 Autobahn in his FrankenBMW!

      1. As long as you tell the buyer it’s a salvage title (prevents the vehicle from being ‘totaled’ twice) it’s legal AFAIK in all of the US. Sounds like that was not originally disclosed here.

      2. Either you are thinking of the wrong term, or you are making a assumption. nothing was stolen, he just grafted the two wrecked cars which he purchased legally together to make 1 new car, likely under a salvage title for one of the two. which is admittedly a rather unique way to build a salvage car Props to your friend out in the UK CMH62.

    1. Not exactly an original idea. Called “cut and shut” in the UK. Unsafe of you’ve cut and welded major structural parts. Used to be a common way for dodgy car repair shops to make money at the expense of their customer’s safety.

    2. Can be done safely and to a high standard but should be on a “q” plate as a “vehicle of unknown age” and referred to as a “cut n shut” colloquially. Keeping it on one of the donor vehicles origionall plates is illegal as is trying to sell it on without declaring the work. These caveats make doing this legally not worth the effort in the uk. That said plenty of folk do it and done well youll have a noce car for little money

      1. Yeah, it can be done to a high standard, unfortunately it can also be done to an incredibly low standard, a friend many years ago did it to a Bedford HA van, with pop rivets!
        When I enquired about the sanity of it he replied, “it worked for the short brothers” there were no words in my mind for many minutes after that.
        note, the short brothers built the Sunderland flying boat in the same town as this took place

    3. Nothing brilliant. In my country when you buy a 2nd hand car, you’ve got over 50% chance to buy something like this unconsciously. Of course all of them are advertised as a “low mileage”, “almost new”, or “used only to go to church on sundays”, and potential customer never know true story that car was drowned, burned, totally destroyed after accident and so on…

      1. Since I know the individual and the story, I’m of a different opinion. The “brilliance” was that the job was done SO well that an expert BMW dealer’s mechanical shop in Germany very nearly couldn’t tell that this was a modified auto! ;-)

    1. Also – I had a REDACTED who put a V8 and jet in a boat like that. He put it on a lake to give it a test. It was just idling and he put his foot flat down and the jet/motor went instantly up to about 40 knots however the boat at remained stationary but within 20 minutes the boat caught up to the jet/motor … in depth.

  3. We have built them forever here in Sweden, mostly as car transporters, but also for newspaper distrubution and horse carriage, and of course everything else you can imagine.

    The favourite cars to start with in Sweden is of course Saab and the front wheel drive Volvos.

    Here are some examples:

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