Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International (C.A.M.I.) was founded in 1999 by John and Julie Giljam
John and Julie Giljam live in South Carolina. They started in the amphibious business with an operation on Hilton Head Island. They owned Cool Stuff Tours for years. The Giljam’s ran with an old LARC V built in 1963 for the Vietnam War. After running with that cantankerous vehicle John decided a new vehicle was needed. He designed and built the Hydra-Terra from the ground up. Below you will find a picture of a test drive from one of our earlier Hydra-Terras during the building process.
He wanted a vehicle that did not rely on an antiquated military unit. He also wanted to be able to walk into an auto parts store to purchase what he needed for the new vehicle. John has been designing and building specialty vehicles all of his adult life. He built farm and construction trucks, oil field service trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, rescue trucks and other specialty vehicles. It is this experience that enabled him to develop the Hydra-Terra, which is fully patented. They are being sold for both tourism and search/rescue capacity. The vehicles are being used not only throughout the United States of America, but in other countries as well.
The next generation of amphibious vehicles that John and Julie designed and built was the motor coach. They call this vehicle the Terra Wind Amphibious Motor Coach. This is a luxurious vehicle in every way possible. It has a Jacuzzi 60” bathtub, marble floors, leather furniture, mirrored ceilings, granite counter tops, and all residential appliances including: a 22 cubit foot side by side refrigerator with ice and water in the door; a 4 burner glass cook top, Advantium microwave/convection oven; a dishwasher; trash compactor; and a washer/dryer combination. It is truly a beautiful amphibious vehicle
Because of the Terra Wind, a businessman from Florida contacted C.A.M.I.LLC to build a yacht tender. So, John designed and built the H2OEX.
This is an all terrain, 4 wheel drive, rugged beast. It has two diesel engines, a GPS mapping system, roll bars, winches, oversized floatation tires. It also has flotation foam, you could split the vehicle in quarters and it will not go down. This vehicle can take boat ramps with ease, but it is truly meant for sandy beaches. The owners use a crane from their yacht, set the H2OEX on the water and boat over to islands, drive up the beaches and go explore the towns.
CAMI’s Landing Craft was also designed due to a request from a friend and client. The Landing Craft was created to help carry vehicles, people, and equipment from island to island easily and efficiently. Two are in use at Dufuskie Island here in South Carolina.
While some of our vehicles have come about through necessity, such as the Landing Craft, others are pure fun and excitement like the Hydra Spyder. As Julie can attest, “John is a man of speed,” having raced vehicles for much of his life. John wanted an amphibious vehicle that personified the beauty, speed, and performance of a race car both in and out of the water. The Hydra Spyder was designed and engineered purely with fun and speed in mind. John and Julie experimented with foam until they found the perfect shape, and the rest is CAMI history.
The Biotrike is another vehicle built for fun, but it also had a purpose. When gas was hitting $5 a gallon, John wanted to give the public a cool alternative to traditional transportation choices and engineered the Biotrike.
John’s background also came into play when creating CAMI’s new first responding emergency vehicle the Amphibious Responder. With his strong background in firefighting, John well understood how important the right equipment is in an emergency. The Amphibious Responder was built to give search and rescue crews a mobile ambulatory that can go over land and water in some of the toughest terrain imaginable.