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.
In 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).
Later, Kickstarter was launched to raise money. They got more money than required to prepare the car for creating a top speed record. Additional funds were 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.
Finally, their efforts were answered and Carpool DeVille was ready to set the pace. At the Bonneville salt flats, DeVille touched a top speed of 160 kmph in the first attempt, becoming the first ever open-air self propelled hot tub car. McMaster Engineering alum Alex Saegert is a founding member of Mark I and All Things Carpool since. It has now entered the Guinness Book of World Records.
How did the team achieve this? 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.