A re­vival in am­phi­cars

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - MIKE HAN­LON

AS four of the leg­endary six­ties Am­phi­cars head to auc­tion dur­ing this month, the big ques­tion is how much th­ese Ger­man cars will fetch.

They sold new for be­tween $2 800 and $3 300 be­tween 1962 and 1967. In 2011, one sold for $123 400 (R1,4 mil­lion).

Time mag­a­zine, once a cham­pion of in­no­va­tion, listed the Am­phicar as one of its 50 worst cars of all-time. That so many Am­phi­cars are still on Amer­i­can roads and deeply loved by their own­ers, how­ever, bears tes­ti­mony to the con­trary.

The claim of­ten touted on the In­ter­net is that the Am­phicar is the only mass-pro­duc­tion am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cle ever made for the huge num­ber of buy­ers liv­ing on the wa­ter’s edge. That was true in the six­ties, but to­day there are many road reg­is­ter­able am­phibi­ous so­lu­tions, from boats with wheels, to guad­bikes with jets, to Rus­sia’s gi­ant Tonka car, the Vik­ing.

Gibbs Tech­nolo­gies and Sealegs have al­ready de­vel­oped in­ter­na­tional dealer net­works and are man­u­fac­tur­ing in quan­tity, both em­a­nat­ing from the wa­ter-chal­lenged en­vi­ron­ment in New Zealand.

I got my first good look at the Gibbs water­ski at the re­cent Kings Cup, the world’s rich­est race event for Per­sonal Wa­ter Craft, and it im­pressed me con­sid­er­ably.

Cost­ing $42 800, the Quad­ski can do 45 mph on wa­ter and on over rough ter­rain.

The Sealegs is more boat than car, but both it and the more up­mar­ket boat-with-wheels from Iguana is sold through the fast grow­ing global net­works, in the Iquana’s case, start­ing at $250 000.

On the other side of the world, Rus­sia’s Aton-Im­pulse built the Vik­ing, a gi­ant seven-seater bakkie that hap­pily han­dles river and lake cross­ings. Hail­ing from the au­to­mo­tive pro­duc­tion megaplex of Naberezh­nye Chelny in South­West Rus­sia, this gi­gan­tic am­phibi­ous ve­hi­cle looks ev­ery bit like a Tonka mon­ster truck.

Sur­pris­ingly, though, de­spite the fact that the Vik­ing 2992 weighs over three tons, it’s fit­ted with a re­mark­ably small 1,7-litre en­gine. — Giz­mag.com.


Four of th­ese sud­denly very col­lectable six­ties Ger­man Am­phi­cars go on auc­tion this month.

Sealegs solves the has­sle of launch­ing a boat by adding fold­ing wheels to a rub­ber duck.

The jet­ski-quad­bike combo by Gibbs Tech­nolo­gies is aimed at New Zealan­ders who have to tra­verse a lot of wa­ter.

The huge Rus­sian Vik­ing am­phibi­ous bakkie has the looks, but its 1,7-litre en­gine begs for a V8 Lexus up­grade.

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