By Tom Midlane @goldenlatrine

WITH most vehicles, taking a wrong turn into a nearby lake would require an embarrassed call to your insurer

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Videographer / Director: WaterCar

Producer: Tom Midlane

Editor: Joshua Douglas

The WaterCar is parked on the land ...

But for the Panther, the wet stuff poses no problem - as it can make the switch from car to boat in just 15 seconds.

The amphibious vehicle, which can hit speeds of 80mph-plus on land and up to 45mph in water, is the brainchild of Californian manufacturer, WaterCar.

Founder, Dave March, set-up the company back in 1999 with the aim of shattering the world record for the fastest amphibious vehicle.

A water-skier is towed from behind a Panther

And in 2010 he did exactly that - when WaterCar's Python model reached a top speed of 60mph (52 knots) on water.

The Python was never sold to the public due to its high production costs, but a new model - The Panther - went on sale in July 2013 and the company now have an 18 month backlog of orders.

The car can make the switch from car to boat in just 15 seconds

The Panther costs $155,000 and features a lightweight chromoly steel chassis and fibreglass hull, as well as a hydraulic off-road suspension which retracts the wheels in under eight seconds. 

And the car comes equipped with 3.7 litre V6 engine - meaning that when it comes to speed, it's more than a match for it's more traditional sea-fairing companions. 

Wheely Good! Two Panther amphibious vehicles race through the water

Its unique amphibious nature has made it a must-have status symbol and WaterCar have received an influx of orders from the superrich, including Silicon Valley millionaires and the crown prince of Dubai - who is reported to own six.

WaterCar spokesman Michael March, 30, said: "We have sold cars to some of the wealthiest and powerful people imaginable.

"You never know who is sending in a deposit until we begin building the car for that somebody and realise who they are.

"Most requests have been colour schemes that match personal helicopters, mega yachts, luxury cars, county colours, and even just plain and subtle so that nobody would even know the car is amphibious."

The WaterCar parked at the side of a lake

The Panther is fully customisable - meaning the buyer has control over everything from hull colour to paint, interior, dashboard, gauges, steering wheel and seats.

March added: "The best part about the Panther is it drives better than most boats on water and can travel more places on land than most cars.

"The design process has not been easy. There are no books and there has been little to no research on amphibious technology.

Passengers fish from the side of the floating car

"There have been thousands of attempts at amphibious vehicles but we have literally had to start from nothing.

"I'd say the biggest problem we faced was getting a car meant for land to plane on water like a boat. That is no easy task.

"It has taken much longer than anticipated but it feels amazing. We set out to design and build an amazing vehicle and we have done just that. There is no other vehicle in the world like it."

Swim with the fishes: A dolphin leaps in tandem with the amphibious vehicle