Ultimate Adventure Vehicles for Land, Sea and Air

Forget jeeps, SUVs or even planes and boats. You need one of these for your next excursion.
The SkyRunner takes a flight to Timbuktu
Discover your inner James Bond with the SkyRunner © fly-skyrunner.com
By Ed Chipperfield

SpaceX recently unveiled its next-generation Dragon capsule, which utilizes 3D-printed SuperDraco rocket engines that dispense 16,000 pounds of thrust. If (or when) humans land on Mars, SpaceX says it hopes it will be via a Dragon.

But that won't happen for a while, so what about explorations on Earth? What are the baddest, most pimped-out vehicles to adventure with? We scoured the globe looking for the coolest and most outlandish modes of transport for the adventurer with deep pockets, from a one-man space rocket to a fully functioning flying car.

The Flying Car for Aspiring James Bonds

Name: Skyrunner
What: Flying car
Price: approx $120,000

Part all-terrain buggy, part light aircraft, the SkyRunner offers a serious dose of high octane adrenaline. Capable of 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds and a top land speed of 115 mph, the gas-driven engine can also propel the Skyrunner to a maximum airspeed of 55 mph.

Inventor Gilo Cardozo tested a prototype by driving and flying from London to Timbuktu, including a flight over the straits of Gibraltar and several hops over the Western Sahara. Best of all, thanks to the parachute, it's actually safer than a conventional fixed-wing plane due to its stability and resistance to stalls.

The skyrunner flying with his paraglider through the air.
SkyRunner - part dune buggy, part light aircraft © SkyRunner

The Campervan for Oligarchs

Name: Unicat
What: Off-road luxury living
Price: $1.6 milllion

Based on a Mercedes Unimog vehicle, Unicat take expedition comforts to an entirely new level of oligarch-like luxury. With extras like bulletproof windows, landmine protection and a night-vision system for the driver, it's a 6x6 truck that you can take anywhere.

Inside, the Unicat is pimped, boasting a fully fitted kitchen, including washer/dryer, a bathroom with shower and flushing toilet, Bose sound system and an integrated PC workstation. There's even an electric sunroof above the double bed.

You may need to rob a bank to buy one, but at least you stand a good chance of hiding away somewhere remote for a while.

The Unicat can take you anywhere.
Unicat - off-road luxury living © Unicat

The Drug Baron's Dream Getaway

Name: UC3 Nautilus
Speciality: Private submarine
Price: $200,000 (to build)

At more than 55-feet long, the UC3 Nautilus is the world's largest amateur-built submarine, launched in 2008 by a team of Danish engineers and hobbyists. The diesel-electric submersible can dive to 330 feet with a crew of four, and is able to flood her ballast tanks to dive in just 20 seconds – faster than most Navy submarines. Unfortunately for underwater explorers, this one is not for sale.

The UC3 Nautilus in action.
UC3 Nautilus © Copenhagen Suborbitals

The Best Vehicle for Polar Adventures

Name: Caterpillar DN6
Speciality: Antarctic overland tractor
Price: On request

Equipped with ground penetrating radar to spot crevasses, ice spikes for traction and a comprehensive central heating system, this modified DN6 was the vehicle of choice for British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes during his ill-fated Coldest Journey expedition across Antarctica, which was aborted due to terrible conditions.

The tractor coped far better than the humans, operating through the winter months at temperatures of -60C. And is that a shipping container on skis it's pulling? Yes. Who needs primitive tents when you can tow your home.

The modified Caterpillar DN6 pulling a container over the antarctic ice.
The modified Caterpillar DN6 © The Coldest Journey (thecoldestjourney.org)

Vehicle for Special Forces and Customs Patrols

Name: Griffon 200TD
Speciality: Arctic hovercraft
Price: On request

The death of the hovercraft has been greatly exaggerated. Take the mighty Griffin 200TD, for instance: in 2012, it was the first craft of its kind to cross the North Pole.

Leaving from Svalbard, the Norwegian expedition managed to speed over the lumpy, shifting floes of the Arctic at a speed of seven knots. It's also equally at home in the tropics – and featured on a Nicaraguan stamp in the '90s after desending the San Juan river.

The 40-feet long hovercraft has a four-berth cabin, a top sea speed of 43 knots and infrared night vision for driving in dark.

The Griffin 200TD has a top sea speed of 43 knots.
Griffin 200TD © Griffin

For the Silicon Valley Adventurer

Name: Turanor
Speciality: Solar catamaran
Price: $17 million

As the world's largest solar boat, the Turanor is a strange-looking beast. On top, the carbon-built structure is covered with 5,500 square feet of solar cells: inside, she has enough lithium-ion batteries to drive for 72 hours in darkness. The electric motor puts out 120kW, turning the twin five-bladed props at 600 rpm. Top speed is 14 knots (that's 15.5 mph to landlubbers).

After completing a record-breaking circumnavigation, Turanor is now seeking new adventures by exploring traces of submerged prehistoric landscapes in the Mediterranean.

The Griffin 200TD has a top sea speed of 43 knots.
Turanor - the world's largest solar boat © Anthony Collins

For Space Travelers

Name: Tycho Brahe
Speciality: One-man space rocket
Price: $55,000 (to build)

Planet earth too boring? How about blasting yourself off into space in a one man rocket. Tycho Brahe was a prototype one-man spacecraft launched in 2011 from a floating platform in the Baltic Sea. The 11.5 feet-long capsule managed a 15-second burn before veering off course and landing back in the water at 125 mph.

The capsule, at 25-inch diameter, was designed to contain a pilot in a half-standing, half-sitting position for flight. Copenhagen Suborbitals, the brains behind the project are now working on a bigger and better version. You may have to wait a few years yet for lift-off.

The Tycho Brahe one-man space rocket starting into the space.
Tycho Brahe - One-man space rocket © Copenhagen Suborbitals
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