Watch: Toyota Land Cruiser EV Breaks Underwater Driving World Record
Salt is one of the biggest enemies of classic cars by far. Just living near the beach can wreak havoc on a car’s paint and frame resulting in gradual deterioration in the form of rust. Which means driving a coveted classic through the briny deep is one of the last things anyone would think to do. Yet, that is exactly what a team of engineers, divers, and off-roaders did recently, as 7 News Australia reports.
The team, which included over 30 drivers, banded together to drive a 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser dubbed the “Mudcrab” across Darwin Harbor in Australia. Rather than drive the SUV across a bridge, the aim was to drive it 30 meters deep—almost 100 feet—along the ocean floor on a 4.3 mile trip from one end of the harbor to the other. On a ferry boat, that trip only takes a few minutes. Though, as you might guess taking the same trip while driving a car underwater takes quite a bit longer. As impressive as we think the 2025 Toyota Land Cruiser may be, we’re pretty sure it won’t be able to do in stock form.
If you’re wondering how a combustion engine even functioned deep under water like that the answer is that it didn’t. The ’78 LandCruiser was powered by a special water-proof electric motor instead. That’s right, they drove an electric car underwater. To help keep the car weighed down each tire was filled with 330 pounds of water. As mind-blowing as this feat sounds, it’s not the first time it’s been attempted. A group of divers and drivers tried to cross the bottom of the harbor in 1983 in a Land Cruiser with a specially sealed combustion engine. However, the attempt ended after some of those seals failed.
This time, the team didn’t have to worry about sealing a combustion engine under 100 feet of water. They did have to worry about sharks, and saltwater crocodiles. Additionally, the vehicle would occasionally get stuck in the muddy ocean floor and would be lifted out with buoys that were chained to the vehicle. The entire trip took about 12 hours, two of which were spent lifting the vehicle over an underwater gas line. Eventually the pressure of the deep water was so great that the team had to rotate drivers every 15 minutes. However, at 9 p.m. local time, the Mudcrab emerged from the water in victory. If Elon Musk is serious about the Cybertruck traversing water, then maybe he should pay a visit to this team.
This reminds us of another underwater off-roader, when our own Dirt Every Day put a Cummins diesel in a special Jeep and drove it under water a few years ago. You can watch that episode right now for free on YouTube.
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