The Otherworldly Nautilus Submarine Car

Burning Man 2011

Oakland, Calif.-based artist collective Five Ton Crane is in the business of bringing fiction into reality through their incredible, large-scale installations. Two years ago, the centerpiece of Maker Faire Bay Area was their sci-fi-influenced 41-foot-tall Raygun Gothic Rocketship, complete with an immersive environment that spanned three habitable decks full of ships systems and alien specimens. Their attention to detail and ability to coordinate the skills of the nearly 100 folks who worked on the piece is admirable to say the least.

We’re thrilled that Five Ton Crane is joining us again at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place this weekend, May 18 and 19, at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. This time around, they bring an interpretation of the nautilus submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to life in the gorgeous form of the Nautilus Submarine Art Car. A collaboration between Christopher Bently, lead artist Sean Orlando, and Five Ton Crane, this land-based submarine weighs 11,000 pounds and is 25′ long, 100″ wide, and 11’6″ tall, with a top speed of 13mph. The base vehicle is a 2005 Eagle TT8 diesel AWD airport tow tractor, designed to tow 90,000-pound airplanes.

The Nautilus comes fully equipped with:
Harpoon gun water cannon (13 gallons per minute)
Hydraulic drive controls
RFID security system
GPS navigation
Pro audio system
LED RGB programmable lighting system
Specimen lab
Navigation room
Night-vision periscope
Poop deck with custom shade canopy
Air conditioning

nautilus sub in the shop

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 1.27.48 PM

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 1.31.47 PM

nautilus sub interior

nautilus sub outside

nautilus sub sunset

Oakland North created a great video about the Nautilus Submarine Car:

walt disney movie poster

Come see the Nautilus Submarine Art Car, along with 900 other maker-made exhibits at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend. See you at the Faire!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

View more articles by Goli Mohammadi


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.