A Look At Amphibious Vehicles


Whether it is a cd changer, an mp3 player, head rest mounted DVD players, or anything else, car buyers have always looked for the most spectacular options to be included in their vehicles. The idea of including these options in a car design make the car more versatile and able to do more things. What could possibly make a car more versatile than by making it amphibious. The prospect of coming up with true amphibious cars has been something car designers have dreamed of almost since the first cars were widely manufactured in the early 1900’s.

It wasn’t until World War II though that fully functional amphibious vehicles became reliable enough to be used regularly. The German built Schwimmwagen was a small four wheel drive vehicle that was actually designed by the engineers from Porsche in the early 1940’s. It was widely used by the German military during World War II and was rated a success both by its designers and those who used it. The allies also had an amphibious vehicle at their disposal during the second World War, it was the Ford GPA which was basically an amphibious version of the Willys jeep. The first successful post World War II amphibious vehicle was the Amphi-Ranger which was a German produced off road vehicle. Production on the Amphi-Ranger was limited to about 100 and many are still in operation today.

The Amphi-Ranger was built with a sea water resistant aluminum hull that allowed it to also be driven in the ocean. The Amphi-Ranger could successfully cross the English Channel without too much difficulty. The most successful non-military amphibious vehicle was the Amphicar. The Amphicar was another German built amphibious vehicle, this time using the engine from a British Triumph. The car was designed to primarily be sold in the United States. Production lasted from 1961 until 1968 when the company went out of business. Overall, just under 4,000 cars were produced.

The Amphicar was a convertible and it actually used its front wheels for steering both on land and in water.

Many modern amphibious cars are in production, from the Gibbs Aquada which can achieve a rather high speed on water to the Dutton Commander, the Hydra Spyder, and several Chinese designed and produced models.

Gibbs Aquada - Amphibious Car

Amphibious cars, though never taking the car market by storm, remain one of the more interesting ideas ever introduced into the automotive world. There may be a day sometime in the future when amphibious cars do prove themselves to be a vehicle that can be mass marketed to the car buying public. Only time will tell.

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  4. Avanti
  5. Caterham

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