1969 Cadillac Carpool DeVille hot tub at Bonneville

Back in 1996, 2 McMaster University engineering students Duncan Forster and Phil Weicker chose to get creative with an abandoned 1982 Chevy Malibu instead of having to pay someone to haul away an abandoned car.

Off went the roof for the world’s first driveable, fully operational hot tub: The Carpool. A local hero of sorts, it was parked at parties on and off campus, and any place that fronted good times.

The Carpool was a prize exhibit at the 2001 Canadian International Auto Show, the Carpool when Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) reps said if it were brought to the Bonneville Salt Flats that August, and run the course, the Land Speed Record for the “World’s Fastest Hot Tub” would be a reality. It didn’t happen that year, and by 2004, effects of undergraduate plumbing resulted in a beyond repair car that wasn’t race capable.

Carpool Deville CadillacIn 2005, a series 75 stretch Cadillac Limo was bought on eBay but it disappeared from parking. By 2008, a 1969 Coupe DeVille Convertible was procured. Carpool DeVille (Mk.III) has seen 6 years of work with heating, suspension, controls and pool plumbing improved all the while working with the land speed racing community so Carpool DeVille meets SCTA’s safety requirements.

While car construction costs have been borne by themselves, expenses to get to Bonneville salt flats for Speedweek 2014 include week-long rentals of tow vehicles, trailer and RV ($3,500), fuel ($1,500), car and driver safety gear ($2,000), food and incidentals ($1,000), race fees and club memberships ($1,000) and auxiliary equipment (like water tanks, tie downs, and sun shades) ($1,000).

The now crowd funded venture has now raised $11,251. Additional funds will be used to subsidize race attendance costs for by current and willing McMaster University undergraduate engineering students and to reimburse some of the money invested in Carpool DeVille thus far. 2014 marks a century of Bonneville records, and a first attempt by an open-air self propelled hot tub going at hundred miles an hour. McMaster Engineering alum Alex Saegert is a founding member of Mark I and All Things Carpool since.

To begin with the 1969 Cadillac was in sound mechanical condition. Then, interior, underhood and trunk components were removed and steel reinforcements designed to support thousands of pounds of water were installed. Beginning with a plywood mock tub, medium density fibreboard (MDF) was used to make a negative tub mold, sanded and sprayed with noxious chemicals, and fibreglass laid onto the mold.

In being realistic, Carpool DeVille could experience mechanical failure. With testing underway, reliability and durability test data for critical systems have not been collected, processed or validated. Failure to meet performance requirements on race day may would mean tehy can’t arce for record. Though not expected, the team could arrive at the Bonneville Salt Flats and be denied entry to the SCTA course.

Carpool DeVille may be disqualified for some technical non-conformance or safety violation though it has been built to compliance. there’s no guarantee the car will achieve speeds sufficient to set a record depending on how ‘The Carpool’ is classified. Under any circumstance if Carpool fails to reach Salt Flats with the Carpool, all funds in excess of expenses incurred will be donated to the Save the Salt Coalition.