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Panther transforms from car to boat in seconds.

Summary: Gliding across water and land, amphibious vehicles showcase what is possible

Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter

Dubai: It looks and drives just like a regular offroader, the only thing the amphibious vehicle Panther does differently is that it glides on water as well as takes on dunes.

On Tuesday, two Panthers put up a show of their unique ability on the beach at Waldorf Astoria, The Palm Jumeirah, seamlessly traversing land and water.

As part of the Dubai Motor Festival (DMF), the first of its kind performance was organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE).

Built by US firm WaterCar, the Panthers are much sought after by celebrities and the superrich, but are owned by only a select few.

The pair of Panthers at work at the Palm Jumeirah are owned by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

"Shaikh Hamdan owns a fleet of eight Panthers," said Abdullah Bin Humaidan, a representative of Shaikh Hamdan's office.

Worth more than Dh500,000 each, the vehicles are equipped with a 2-litre, V6 petrol engine that powers it on road, while a jet engine propels it in water.

"It can seamlessly shift between two motors within seconds. It has all the capabilities of a regular off-road vehicle, while it can ride equally well on water. It can perform all the stunts that a regular jet-ski can do," Bin Humaidan said.

As it enters the water, the wheels retract, allowing the vehicle to float on its hull.

"It is very easy and smooth to drive. It just drives like a normal car on the road and it is better than a regular boat on water. All you have to do is accelerate and steer left or right," said Dahi Mubarak, an Emirati stunt driver, who drove one of the two cars at The Palm.

Panther reaches a speed of around 120km/h on the road and around 90km/h on water.

The performance reflected Dubai's passion for motoring and its ability to show what is possible.

"As one of the leading entities in creating world-class festivals and building on our experience in city-wide festivals, we have sensed the overwhelming passion for motoring events in the UAE and the region. This edition of the DMF, with the support from Shaikh Hamdan, is steadily becoming another success story of Dubai," said Laila Mohammad Suhail, CEO, DFRE.

Commenting on the performance of the Panthers, Jin Chwen Ong, director, DMF, said: "We strive to find the most unique activities each year at the Dubai Motor Festival, and I think with this amazing spectacle we've set the bar pretty high."

As part of the DMF, Motor Village is being held at Meydan, hosting an adrenaline-fuelled display by superstar stunt driver Ken Block, the hugely popular Grand Parade and for the first time a Marques de Elegance competition, as well as The Best Decorated National Day Car competition.

DMF 2015 is being held from November 10 to 21.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 17, 2015
Words:519
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