Carpool DeVille, 'world's fastest hot tub,' set for speed race

Soaked in Kickstarter money, the 'world's fastest hot tub' built by two Canadians is at full steam to break a speed-racing record.

McMaster graduates raised more than $10,000 on Kickstarter for their tub on wheels

CarPool DeVille, an invention by two Canadians who built a fully functioning and mobile hot tub into a 1969 Cadillac, raised more than $10,000 on crowdfunding website Kickstarter this week. (Submitted by Phil Weicker)

Soaked in Kickstarter money, the "world's fastest hot tub" built by two Canadians is at full steam to break a speed-racing record.

Carpool DeVille, a fully functioning and mobile hot tub built into a 1969 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, raised $11,251 on the crowdfunding website this week, more than $1,000 over its target.

Duncan Forster, left, and Phil Weicker, came up with the idea of a tub on wheels while they were engineering students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. (Submitted by Jane Figueiredo)

Its creators Phil Weicker and Duncan Forster, two McMaster University engineering graduates who now work in the U.S., hope to use the money to bring their brainchild to Speed Week, an annual racing event at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, in August.

If Carpool DeVille successfully makes its debut at the race, it would be recognized as the world’s fastest hot tub.

After a four-week campaign, the project hit the $10,000 mark Friday morning, just a few hours before the fundraising project closed.

The crew gathered at Weicker's house and counted down to the last 10 seconds of the campaign, as their dream of almost two decades came within reach.

“It was very celebratory,” Forster told CBC Hamilton. “It was more fun than New Year.”

Successful campaign

The quirky idea started from an offhand remark after a keg of beer when the crew were still undergraduate engineering students in the 1990s, but it turned into a mission that lasted almost two decades.

The current version of CarPool DeVille is based on a prototype the crew built in their undergraduate years. The tub on wheels seen in the photo became a mobile social hub on and off campus. (Submitted by Phil Weicker)

Carpool DeVille features a custom-made fibreglass tub, inside the Cadillac, that can hold up to 5,000 pounds of water. The crew kept the vintage car's original engine, which not only propels the tub but heats the water to a relaxing 39 C.

Before the tub on wheels could get to Utah, however, its name has already travelled around the world. The Kickstarter campaign has received plenty of press from outlets around the world, Forster said. A friend even found a photo of the hot tub in an Australian newspaper.

Some naysayers called the invention a waste of time and money, but the majority of the comments have been positive and supportive, Forster said.

More than 200 people backed the project on Kickstarter. The largest contribution, of $1,000, came from a hot tub company based in Calgary.

“[The Kickstarter campaign] made it much more meaningful to us,” Forster said. “There's so much interaction with so many people.”

McMaster students invited

The next step is to get Carpool DeVille ready for the race next month, and the team is taking no break.

A day after the campaign successfully wrapped up, they are already back at their Los Angeles warehouse. A speedometer needs to be installed. Electrical work needs to be done under the hood.

"We are going to be spending a lot of time in this shop," Forster said.

The tub on wheels is expected to travel at "freeway speed," the crew said.

The Kickstarter money would cover the costs associated with getting Carpool DeVille to the race, such as renting trucks to move it from the L.A. warehouse to northwestern Utah, some 1,000 kilometres away. Other costs include fuel, safety gear and race fees.

There is also enough money to invite one or two current undergraduate engineering students from McMaster to be part of the spectacle, Forster said.

Watch the inventors explain how Carpool DeVille works in their campaign video. On mobile? Click here to watch it on YouTube.