A daring scrap man transformed his country Rover in a ‘007 submarine’ before driving underwater while holding his breath.
Nathan Gibbons, 34, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, devised a plan to make his 1987 Range Rover Classic amphibious after he and friends Andrew Tuffs, 36, and Blake Capuano, 29, drowned his motorcycle while driving through a river in April.
The father of three was able to submerge the car and drive it for 15 seconds through an 8ft-deep pond in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire – leaving only the duct-taped engine ‘snorkel’ and roof visible.
He has since stated that he felt like a ‘rural James Bond’ as he pulled the stunt because it reminded him of Roger Moore’s 007 piloting the amphibious Lotus Esprit S1 underwater in the 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
Nathan Gibbons, 34, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, plunges his 1987 Range Rover Classic as an amphibious vehicle into a pond in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
The father of three drives the vehicle through the 8ft-deep pond, leaving only the duct-taped engine ‘snorkel’ and the top of the roof visible
Nathan Gibbons (center) decided to rebuild his 1987 Range Rover Classic amphibian after he and friends Andrew Tuffs (left) and Blake Capuano (right) drowned his motorcycle in a river
During the clip, Mr. Gibbons, who extended the exhaust with a 1.2m downpipe, drives his vehicle into the pond with the duct-taped motor ‘snorkel’ attached to the top of the car.
The car emerges 15 seconds later with a grinning Mr. Gibbons quietly behind the wheel, despite having to hold his breath as the water filled his car through the open windows.
Mr Gibbons said: ‘It only took five minutes with a drainpipe and duct tape to extend the snorkel. He already had one, but we wanted to make it higher so he could go right under it.
“I wasn’t nervous at all — it didn’t really bother me. I just said, okay, I’m going. I held my breath, put my hand over my mouth and nose and closed my eyes.
“It didn’t really feel like the car was moving. I just felt the rumble that it was still spinning. 15 seconds feel like a long time when you’re underwater.
“Those 15 seconds you feel like you’re in that James Bond car. It’s like a submarine, but because there are holes in the bottom and the windows are open, the water comes in just as fast as you drive.
‘I’ve done it many times. We would go deeper, but I’m glad I didn’t, because I couldn’t hold my breath.
Blake had to make it the first time we did it and I almost did because when I held my breath I did it too early but when I felt the front end lift that was it I thought ‘we are at our exit.”
Mr. Gibbons and his friend Blake Capuano, 29, head towards the water in the converted vehicle
The snorkel sticks out of the water as Mr. Gibbons drives the car to the other side of the pond
The scrap man emerges 15 seconds later and smiles despite holding his breath as the water filled his car
‘I was quite proud of it. It was just something we wanted to do as some friends. I can’t believe how crazy the internet has been. I’ve had friend requests from all over the world.
“The idea came after we drove down the Doe Lea River in April and they dredged it where they built a new bridge, so when it got to this deep end it went straight down and filled the engine with water.
“It took us two hours to get it out, so I was like, ‘Okay, when the weather gets better, the next plan is to go completely underwater.’ It was nice on the weekend so we drove down.
“I’ve seen videos and every time they do it they break or don’t go deep enough, but I wanted to get the hang of it completely.”
Mr Gibbons said: The more modern Range Rover wouldn’t be able to handle underwater driving because there are too many electrical parts, but its 1980s model was perfect.
But he admitted it was fun subdued after the 4×4 got stuck in the water when a disc shaft broke but they managed to drive it away after about 15 minutes.
Gibbons said the scene reminded him of Roger Moore’s 007 who drove Lotus Esprit S1 Wet Nellie underwater in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me
The scrapyard daredevil now plans to take it a step further next time.
He added: ‘We always do crazy things. The next plan is to get some pipes so we can really breathe and then do the full length of the pond. I would do it today.
“We need to fix the Range Rover first, but we have a small Smart car and we’re in the process of getting it to jump into the water.”
Gibbons later shared his images on Facebook and has since garnered more than 6,000 views.
One user wrote: ‘That looks great! My landy (sic) can barely get through a puddle without blowing a dynamo! That would scare the old girl off!’
While another added, “I can’t believe the electronics didn’t cook on their own.”
Another person commented, “The boy riding in it must have gills.”
Social media users congratulated Gibbons on the daring stunt after he shared his images on Facebook