The amphibious houseboat project


The ultimate car for houseboat owners

Amphibious vehicles – great stuff. To buy one however you pretty much need a military budget, and building one will cost an obscene amount of money as well. But now Theon Parseghian has changed the game. He transformed a Volvo station wagon into a houseboat to conquer both land and water. 


Article by Linh Vo

Down the line an amphibious vehicle is the ultimate type of transport for houseboat owners. Picture yourself driving away from your floating home in your 'boat', then climbing the ramp and hitting the road, off for a pick-nick in the park. Unfortunately there is a good reason why you don’t see this scene too often: it requires a huge investment, even if you would build one yourself. Not only financially, but also in terms of time and energy. Like for finding the right materials, building and testing.


Theon Parseghian, originally a car mechanic from New York, proved this to be wrong however. His job enables him to work with lots of different types of cars. And he learns many skills along the way as well, such as welding, fabricating and handling various types of machines. This all came together in an amazing amphibious vehicles.


Amphibious Volvo station Wagon

Theon proved that you can build an amphibious vehicle for an affordable price. The first step to the realization of an amphibious vehicle. (Photo: Theon Parseghian)


First project: floating Volvo station wagon

Initially, Theon came up with the idea that he wanted to cross the lake with a boat. But thought it would be more exciting if he could do this by car. However, he could not afford to buy that dream car. Challenge accepted! He decided to build it himself. 

A jet pump was soon installed in the rear of the car. Thanks to his recent job, he was able to apply the right materials which made the amphibious car to be operating well. The car can reach the maximum highway speed when it is on the road and it runs at approximately 10 mph when it is on the water. And did he need a ‘military budget’? Nope, not at all: he only spent $5000 on this idea. Much cheaper than any amphibious car seen in the showrooms.


Second project: the amphibious houseboat

The floating Volvo was a big hit. But that was not the end of Theons' aspiration. He commenced  his second project with a 32- foot abandoned houseboat and a huge tractor sprayer. As a result, he managed to create a moving accommodation on land and on water. It took him almost a year to complete this amphibious houseboat in his front yard. He soon got attention from his neighbors passing by his house every day. Hence, he made a shout-out to everyone who wanted to see how his amphibious houseboat would perform in both environments. Many people showed up to witness his ‘Maiden Voyage’ as you can see in the picture below!


Maiden Voyage of The Beast of Burden

The maiden voyage of The Beast of Burden - the first amphibious houseboat built by Theon - was a huge attraction and a big success. (Photo: Theon Parseghian)


“No police escort - that is a good sign”

Captain Theon was afraid that his Beast of Burden – the name of his tractor houseboat - would be flipped over due to the giant tides in Cayuga Lake. His concern immediately disappeared when the tractor houseboat functioned perfectly and without any accident. Its speed is 20 mph on land and around 7 mph on water. He only spent around $10.000 on this second project and everything has paid off worthy. 


Captain Theon

Theon proves to be a great mechanic, captain and inspiration for many. (Photo: Theon Parseghian)


What’s next? 

Parseghian is yearning to build an amphibious, fully aluminum bodied vehicle, with just three wheels. This vehicle is expected to be super light and much faster. And last but not least, Theon is also doing a great job in being such an inspirational guy for those who want to build or create something from scratch and work with their hands. Thank you!


Theon driving his amphibious houseboat

The Beast of Burden proves that one can realize dreams without huge financial resources. She sails the waves like a charm!  (Photo: Theon Parseghian)


More inspiration can be found on the Facebook page of Theon Parseghian.