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    By land & sea: Man to travel world with amphibious car

    11:50 AM, Nov 4, 2013   |    comments
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    TALLINN, Estonia (CBS) -- Estonian entrepreneur and engineer Mait Nilson, kicked off on Saturday (November 2) a unique trip around the world on a self-made amphibious car he rebuilt from a Toyota Land Cruiser.

    The mechanical marvel, Nilson spent seven years working on, will lead the engineer on a 37,000 mile long journey on land and water, which he estimates will take approximately nine months to complete.

    Departing from Tallinn, surrounded by family and friends, 44 year-old Nilson said that with his "Amphibear", he wanted to share with the world the beauty and potential of mechanical engineering.

    "I want to show that mechanical engineering is still a wonderful thing and what people can do with simple engineering something nice and something unique and have fun with it," Nilson said.

    In order to travel on water, Nilson modified the Toyota Land Cruiser by adding two industrially manufactured pontoons attached to the rear of the car.

    The speed of the amphibious car can be up to 8 knots on water, and it can travel at 68 miles per hour on land.

    However, the engineer said that finding a compromise during the construction process was rather difficult.

    "If you want really good car on road and really good boat then buy them separately. So, there are limitations on both sides. On water of course I have to be careful what weather I'm taking and heavy weather should be avoided as much as possible. And on the road also, speeding is not an option here," Nilson said.

    The amphibious car will travel through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Cabo Verde, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, USA, Canada, and Russia.

    Nilson believes the biggest challenge will be the crossing of the oceans, as 12 foot waves could potentially prove to be too extreme for the amphibious car.

    This is why the route over the Atlantic, from Senegal to Brazil, will be broken down into several stops at a short distance from each other, in order to better adjust to possible adverse weather conditions.

    "Sea and ocean must never be underestimated but fortunately I'm taking which is called 'the retired people way' over the ocean. So, this is safest, most stable weather, most quite place to take the Atlantic Ocean," said Nilson.

    Other possible obstacles will be dealing with bureaucracy and border controls, that may prevent Nilson from completing his journey if his car, with all its technical modifications, is found unsuitable to travel on public roads.

    However if Nilson succeeds he will become the second person in the world to circumnavigate the globe in this type of vehicle.

    In 1950, Australian Ben Carlin became the first man to attempt to travel the globe in a modified factory amphibian Ford GPA christened Half-Safe.

    Due to unsuccessful attempts and the need to raise funds, it was not until eight years later in 1958 that Carlin was able to complete the journey.

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