Vanlife is a fantasy I can never entirely get behind. Taking my home with me on a new daily adventure across the U.S. sounds fun. Cooking, working, and sleeping in a van does not.
However, if you put that very same van on the water? Now we’re talking!
Italian freelance automotive designer Pierpaolo Lazzarini has announced a new wave of products called Floating Motors “resto-floats” (or restored floats), in which he starts with a classic car design, clones it in fiberglass or carbon fiber, and retrofits it with a floating hull and gas or electric motors. Basically, he turns classic cars into completely functional, modern boats that are suitable for having fun on lakes and small bodies of water (you just probably wouldn’t want to take one on the open ocean).
The idea is kind of nonsense. Why not…just buy a boat? Why…take a car and transform it into a boat that will probably never be as good at being a boat as an actual boat? I get that. My mind is telling me that. But my heart keeps opening the renders of his VW bus model. Fit with two carbon fiber pontoons and a wraparound deck, can’t you just imagine it parked 100 feet off the pier? Maybe you climb up to the roof, which has been retrofit with a wooden deck for sunbathing? And maybe when you get hot from all that sunbathing, you yell, “cannonball!” and jump into the water as if from a raised diving platform? Everyone laughs. You’re so spontaneous!
Then, of course, you climb back up wet. I’m not so sure I want you stepping into my van and dripping on that interior! But then I see the inside appears to be mostly waterproof, without the plush seating of the original. OK, now you come on in. You want lunch? Great, there’s a little stove right here.
Anyway, Lazzarini hasn’t actually constructed any of his resto-floats yet. If you’re willing to help him kickstart the project with a major investment, he’s selling a cute $35,000 “La Dolce” two-seater convertible to launch his company. The VW bus isn’t yet listed for pre-sale, but based on the price of other vehicles on his site, don’t be surprised if it costs at least $200,000, with a five-figure deposit to secure your order. Other models include a Mini (complete with a full British flag paint job) and what I believe is a spin on a 1950s Ferrari or Jaguar. ButLazzarini will offer some American muscle with a floating 1970s Dodge Charger, too.
Lazzarini is asking for a huge investment to hand to his completely unproven startup. But it’s not unreasonable. Truth be told, to reproduce the body of a vintage vehicle, fill it with a high grade fit and finish, and then add upgrades to make it seaworthy, will be a remarkably laborious process. And your #vanlife Instagram feed will get a lot of new followers, assuming your new ship actually ships.