Some of my favorite stories to write are the ones where someone sees two completely different vehicles and decides that they should be combined into one. Gracing Cars & Bids and confusing even Doug DeMuro is a glorious creation hailing from none other than the great state of Florida. This is a truck with a boat on top that goes off-road.
The Cars & Bids listing opens up with a statement that honestly sounds like Doug DeMuro getting broken by something that he cannot describe:
If this doesn’t get some attention at the next local meetup, then I don’t know what to tell you. Of course, it isn’t perfect, but that’s not the point here. Instead, the point is… well, I don’t really know what the point is, and that’s why I love it!
The simple explanation of what you’re looking at here pickup that lost its cab and bed, gaining the body of a ski boat in their place. The finished product — christened the NautiTruck — then ran on the Gambler 500 in Florida.
If you haven’t been on a Gambler 500 yet, this is part of why you should do one. As I’ve written about a number of times before, the Gambler is about removing trash from the wilderness, giving some to charity and making $500 cars survive a punishing off-road rally. You get to do some good while having tons of fun and making friends along the way.
Another, often hilarious aspect of going on the Gambler is that you can build and see some truly wild vehicles like this NautiTruck.
The base vehicle started life as seventh-generation 1986 Ford F-150. These “old body style” trucks are normally sought-after for their handsome style and simplicity. But many, like this one, have worked hard lives and have been beaten to an inch of their lives
The 1983 Correct Craft Ski Nautique 2001 on top is one of a long-running series water ski tow boats. As noted by the listing, Ski Nautique is one of the oldest lines of boats in America designed specifically with water skiing in mind. The first was built in 1957, and over time the boats became famous and used in professional water skiing tournaments. The Ski Nautique 2001 on top of this F-150 was originally launched in 1981.
Given Ski Nautique’s history, it’s unsurprising that commenters are upset that such a cool boat was hacked up. However, the seller, Nathan, notes that the boat was abandoned and far too gone when it was found.
I asked Nathan about how his team got the inspiration to build such a thing:
We attended the first G500 FL event in 2019 in our lifted Towncar (sold at the event for $500), and had to ask ourselves how much bigger we were willing to go. I’ve seen lots on social media from the ToyBota team running the Oregon Gambler, and we decided we had to build one. The (self imposed) rules were that the boat had to be free, and the donor vehicle had to follow the $500 rule. We got the ruined Nautique for free based on it having a trailer rusted away and being abandoned on someone’s property. We paid a kid $400 for an old F150 and it was off to the races, and an investment of several thousand dollars of new/used parts. Keep in mind it was build from March-June 2020, so parts and resources were scarce, and most of the build is recycled parts we had lying around. People are very surprised to find out that virtually no alcohol was involved in the brainstorming, planning and building of the NautiTruck. My co-captain in the rig strong-armed me into starting a YouTube channel on the build, which I did eventually give in to (here). We built it in my driveway, with no lift, equipment or special tools. I rounded up the guys and we hand lifted the boat carcass over the truck after our Sawzall and grinder part to strip the chassis down. It’s been a blast for us and we want it to live on!
The result is a recycled boat and truck that also off-roads. It’s all kinds of silly and absurd, but that’s sort of the point with Gambler builds. The aforementioned ToyBota is another wild car-boat creation that I’ve seen on the trails in person. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of it.
Motivation comes from a 4.9-liter straight six that made 122 horsepower and 255 lb-ft torque new. The truck is rear-wheel-drive with a manual transmission.
Those interested in this creation shouldn’t be expecting something with tons of polish. The base truck was involved in a crash two decades ago, it doesn’t have an odometer, it backfires, it has blow-by, and of course, there is ample rust. This is really something that you buy just for the giggles.
The good news is that it has a bunch of new parts from a transmission output seal to carburetor, ignition system and more. So it’s certainly ready for your next off-road adventure. Bidding is already at $1,200 with seven days to go.