Mudcrab Sets World Record for Longest and Deepest Underwater Drive

An Australian team achieved a world record for the longest and deepest underwater drive with a customized 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser nicknamed “Mudcrab.”

According to ABC News Australia, a group of engineers, commercial divers, and auto enthusiasts drove a vintage Land Cruiser 4.3 miles beneath Darwin, Australia’s harbor, to a maximum depth of 98 feet last week. The Land Cruiser required considerably more than just a snorkel to accomplish that.

YT 1978 Toyota LandCruiser Mudcrab

The Land Cruiser, which was initially not roadworthy, was converted to electric power so it could function without oxygen to burn. In addition, 330 pounds of water were put inside the tires. The team apparently only had time for one saltwater test drive before the record attempt.

mudcrab 2

In order to get from Mandorah to Darwin, the Mudcrab and its drivers/divers had to cross the harbor. Another crew from Darwin with another Land Cruiser tried to do this in 1983. Despite not making it all the way across the harbor—they ran into a rock ledge 1.8 miles in—they did manage to set records for underwater distance and depth. According to Matty Mitchell, a chief diver with the Mudcrab squad, the effort has become something of an “urban legend” in Darwin that acted as motivation.

mudcrab 1

Thirty commercial divers took turns operating the vehicle for this endeavor. Although there are sharks and crocodiles in the harbor, dirt, and silt have proven to be the most significant barriers. The Mudcrab repeatedly became stuck in the mud, requiring the use of inflatable buoys to free it. It took two hours to hoist the SUV over a gas pipeline as well.


The Mudcrab emerged from the deep seas about 9:00 p.m. local time after a 12-hour underwater drive—about five hours longer than anticipated.

Mudcrab barra Oliver Thompson

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