Highways to high seas: The coolest yachts by car designers

Lancia di Lancia

Lancia / Sacs

The 13.1 metre Lancia di Lancia powerboat was the result of a collaboration between four Italian companies: luxury rib builder Sacs, Fiat Powertrain Technologies, Martini, and Lancia. It was designed to offer the comfort and style of a sports coupe in a boat, can carry up to 11 people, and even has an air-conditioned cabin for two.

The fibreglass hull is made from a mould, but then assembled by hand so that each one is personalised to customer specifications. The folding, electric-powered hood can be raised to protect the occupants from the elements, while the twin Fiat FPT N67-560 engines give the boat a top speed of 55 knots.

Niniette 66

Bugatti / Palmer Johnson

Speed, luxury, advanced engineering, symbols of status — the crossover between the boating industry and the car industry is closer than ever. Key examples include the yacht-friendly BAC Mono supercar and Adrian Newey, the F1 designer helping BAR's America's Cup bid. And now several luxury car brands have turned their expertise to designing luxury boats.

Bugatti is famous for making the world's fastest production sports car, the Veyron, but the French manufacturer has also teamed up with yacht builder Palmer Johnson to present a series of Niniette carbon fibre day boats, all of which are named after the daughter of Bugatti founder Ettore Bugatti.

The latest design in the series is the 20 metre Niniette 66 (pictured above), which has been designed to bear a close resemblance to Bugatti's latest model, the Chiron, while retaining the lightweight carbon fibre construction and stabilising sponsons that give Palmer Johnson yachts their exceptional stability and seakeeping.

Key features include a fire pit and a spa pool in the spacious main deck seating area and a double cabin below decks. A range of engine options will allow for top speeds of up to 44 knots.

Etienne Salomé, head of interior design at Bugatti, is delighted with the result, adding, "The Niniette is a genuine member of the Bugatti family. Even from a large distance when entering a port, the Niniette will always be recognised as a true Bugatti."

Concept Speedboat

Jaguar / Ivan Erdevicki

British car manufacturer Jaguar teamed up with Canadian yacht designer Ivan Erdevicki to create this 6.1 metre speedboat concept, which was designed to compliment the Jaguar XF Sportbrake.

"The Concept Speedboat looks powerful," said Jaguar's director of design, Ian Callum. "It follows, in so many ways, the idea of a traditional speedboat but with the sleek and fast characteristics that you would expect from a Jaguar Car."

The boat is built from fibreglass but has a carbon fibre fin on the deck, inspired by the iconic Jaguar D-Type.

"I have always had a passion to create such an object and it seemed fitting that we relate this to a lifestyle vehicle such as the Jaguar XF Sportbrake," added Callum.


Porsche Design / Royal Falcon Fleet

Porsche Design collaborated with the Singapore based Royal Falcon Fleet to design the 41.4 metre RFF135 catamaran. The president of the yard was looking for a "spaceship on the water," and the only design parameter was that it had to be a catamaran.

"The two hulls create a completely different stance impression, almost resembling the track of a sports car," Porsche Design said.

The round bilge aluminium catamaran hull form, combined with twin MTU 16V 4000 M93L engines and two water jets, mean the RFF135 is capable of speeds of more than 30 knots. Although construction of the first hull began several years ago in Sweden it is unknown when it will be revealed.

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