A sleek-looking, road-hugging, and water-conquering amphibious Jeep used to be a novelty. And although it still is, the Panther Jeep boat now makes it possible to turn your dream into reality, that is, if you have the money. So, how much is a Jeep boat?
An engine- and transaxle-less Panther Turn-key Minus costs $158,000, while a custom-built version will set you back by $198,000. And if you want the H1 Panther, you must be ready to shell out $465,000.
Why such a drastic price difference? Please continue reading to learn more.
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The Price of a Jeep Boat
Before the foundation of the WaterCar company in 1999, the car boat combo concept was nothing more than a one-off novelty that performed poorly both on the road and the water.
In January 2010, the company smashed the Guinness world record when its Python prototype (a car that turns into a boat) blitzed the roads at 127 MPH and skimmed the waters at 60 MPH (about 52.2 knots). This car-boat hybrid featured a Chevy Corvette powertrain.
Unfortunately, producing the Python was too costly, prompting the company to abandon the project and focus its energy and resources on creating and developing the Planet’s Most Fun Vehicle – the Jeep Panther watercraft.
The Panther Jeep boat price depends on the type, model, and state (i.e., pre-owned or brand new). Let us look at these variances.
1. Panther custom
The Complete Custom Jeep Panther price will set you back by $198,000. This variant comes with a 3.6-liter V-Tec Honda Acura V6 engine mated to a 091 VW transaxle in a 1990s Jeep Wrangler body. There are several reasons that explain the high Jeep boat cost:
- A powerful 305-horsepower powertrain with a top speed of 44 MPH and 80 MPH on water and land, respectively.
- This boat vehicle has a lightweight design, less than 3,000 lbs, for quick acceleration. This is thanks to the utilization of expensive chromoly steel.
- The aquatic Jeep comes with Winter’s Quick Change technology, 500-HP H450 Jet drive, and rear-wheel-drive VW transaxle for a quick and effortless transition from land to water (or vice versa).
To demonstrate, it only takes 15 seconds to start piloting your Panther right after getting into the water. You now have the most fun jet car boat on the planet everyone in the marina will be jealous of.
Unfortunately, this Panther variant can be challenging to register and license in some jurisdictions, especially related to its “vehicle mode.” This means even if you have the money to buy it, state laws may prevent you from registering and legally using the vessel.
As such, you may want to opt for the Turn-key Minus and the H1 Panther.
2. Panther turn-key minus
This Jeep that turns into a boat is pretty similar to the Panther Complete Custom. The only difference is the absence of the Honda Acura v6 engine, the 091 VW transaxle, and custom paint graphics. Hence, you can expect its price to be lower by $40,000 ($158,000 base price) than the Custom.
You still get the chromoly chassis/hull and suspension arms, Wilwood brake system, Flaming River steering components, Yokohama tires, Panther Jet water technology, and more.
The Panther Turn-Key Minus already features mounting points for your preferred drivetrain and engine. However, it can pose a challenge because the boltholes might not match your desired setup.
3. H1 panther
We have seen many videos of a Jeep driving in water. But have you seen a modified Hummer doing the feat? If you do not have issues parting ways with at least $465,000, the H1 Panther is worth it.
The company took a Humvee, disassembled it, and replaced its heavyweight components with lighter options. The H1 features a 6061 aluminum hull, a lightweight yet sturdy material. It also has closed foam-filled flotation cells, allowing the H1 to skim the water like the Panther.
A 395-horsepower Chevrolet LS3 engine propels the 4WD-capable beast to a top speed of 70 MPH on land.
In the water, the H1’s Mercury Marine Bravo 2 Outdrive takes over controls from the Chevy LS3, pushing the H1 to 35 knots or 40.25 MPH (about 4 MPH slower than the Panther Complete Custom.
Transitioning from Humvee to a jet-powered boat takes about five seconds longer than the Panther Custom Complete. The H1 also has the US Coast Guard’s nod.
4. Used panthers
You can always opt for used or pre-owned Panther water cars if you find the cost of a brand-new unit too high. The price for a used jeep boat will depend on many factors, such as the vehicle’s condition and model.
We found a 2016 Panther at an auction with the current bid price of $62,000. The vehicle had 1,500 miles on it and still looked pristine from the images.
However, there has been an instance of a 2015 Watercar 18 model being sold for as high as $100,000. Considering that it costed $195,000 at the time of its introduction to the public, the $100,000 price tag was almost a bargain.
Factors Affecting Price
Our discussion above underscored three fundamental factors influencing a Jeep boat’s price.
1. Engine package
The Panther Complete Custom is about $40,000 more expensive than the engine- and transaxle-less Panther Turn-Key Minus version. It can be a real dilemma for some buyers because the existing H450 Jet Drive-Honda V6 combo guarantees 44 MPH and 80 MPH performance.
Mating the system to a different engine-transaxle combination might produce a different result or not perform at all. On the other hand, your state might not allow you to register the Complete Custom option.
The Humvee-inspired H1 costs almost half a million dollars, while the Panther Complete Custom is nearly 200 thousand dollars. Although both vehicles feature a similar boat design, they differ in engine and drivetrain.
3. Brand new or used
The value of objects depreciates over time, and the Panther and H1 Panther are no different.
For instance, brand-new cars reduce in value by nine to eleven percent right after driving them from the dealership. The depreciation is 20% after a year. Meanwhile, boats depreciate by 10% to 15% in the first year.
You can use these values to estimate how much a second-hand Panther will cost.
What to Consider When Buying a Jeep Boat
Buying a Jeep boat entails a thoughtful consideration of at least three things.
These amphibious beauties are not cheap. You can buy a second-hand unit for about a fraction of a brand-new version’s price, but you must also be mindful of the Panther’s current condition.
2. State laws
Even if you can afford the Panther Complete Custom or the H1 Panther, you might get into trouble if you use it in your area that prohibits registration and licensing of such “hybrid” vehicles. Hence, you might want to check your state’s motor and boating laws to determine if a Jeep boat is worth it.
The Jeep boat combines a vehicle and a vessel in a nifty package. Hence, the maintenance requirements will be for a car and a watercraft. Some of us are not well-versed in effective car maintenance procedures, let alone a boat. Are you ready for this responsibility?
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the most expensive Jeep boat?
The most expensive Jeep boat is the Complete Custom, with a $198,000 price tag. Although the H1 Panther is close to half a million dollars, it is not based on the Jeep chassis but the Humvee.
How to care for my Jeep that drives on water?
Here are some tips on how to care for your Panther Jeep.
- Read the owner’s manual (if you still have it) because it contains invaluable recommendations for proper Jeep boat care.
- Learn the Jeep boat’s different parts and components, including how to access them.
- Spray WD40 on the Jeep’s moving parts and metal surfaces.
- Use the correct grease, such as marine-graded products, to lubricate the bearings, steering rack, and other components.
- Check the fluid levels, including the engine coolant and brake fluid, and top them off if needed.
If somebody asks you how much is a Jeep boat, you can say the brand-new Panther will cost them about $198,000. They can opt for the engine- and transaxle-less variant for only $158,000, especially if their state law does not allow registering the custom ones for road use.
Although not a Jeep variant, you can also pick the Humvee-based H1 Panther. However, be ready with half a million dollars because that is how much this amphibious beast requires.
Ten years of enjoying countless trips on boats never made me love them any less! So I am here to put all those experiences into good use for other boaters who want to have a safe and fun trip with their friends and families.