An amphibious vehicle (or simply amphibian), is a vehicle that is a means of transport, viable on land as well as on water. Amphibious vehicles include amphibious bicycles, ATVs, cars, buses, trucks, military vehicles, and hovercraft.
Check out some of the most unusual amphibious vehicles ever made.
The Amphicar is an amphibious automobile, the first such vehicle mass-produced for sale to the public starting in 1961. The German vehicle was designed by Hanns Trippel and manufactured by the Quandt Group at Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde. Its name is a portmanteau of “amphibious” and “car”.
The Amphicar was designed to be marketed and sold in the USA. Compared to most boats or cars, its performance was modest, and only 4000 were produced by 1965. Nevertheless, it is still among the most successful amphibious civilian autos of all time, and still often prized and preserved as novelty collectible automobiles today. [link]
VW Beetle creator Ferdinand Porsche produced the four-wheel-drive Kübelwagen for the German Army in WWII. He then made an amphibious version of it in 1941, followed by a smaller version of the first amphibious car called the Schwimmwagen. It was powered by a 1.2-liter air-cooled flat four, which also drove a single propeller. The amphibious car used the front wheels as rudders when in the water. On land, the propeller would swing up, disengaging it from the engine. The Schwimmwagen was heavy and slow but had good traction off-road. [link]
Well-known Swiss sportscar tuning firm Rinspeed built an amphibious car in 2003 that can go 120 mph on land and 45 knots on water. Under 30 knots, the Rinspeed can cruise in water like a conventional boat. Above 30 knots, fold-down hydrofoils raise the car’s a lightweight carbon composite body shell 12 feet above the water. A single propeller lowers into water with the foils, and the wheels can lift out of the water.
Power comes from a 140-hp two-cylinder 750-cc engine running on natural gas. The vehicle’s total weight is just 1800 pounds. [link]
Amphibious Bike ‘Cyclomer’, Paris, 1932
This is a bicycle that can run on both land and water (the maximum load on the water is 120 kg)
It is known as a “Cyclomer” and has two large drum-shaped wheels to each of which are attached two smaller spheres which can be raised or lowered. When lowered the auxiliary rollers serve as stabilizers for water travel. On land the small spheres are raised and the vehicle travels like an ordinary bicycle. [source: Popular Mechanics, december 1932]
Illustration: Popular Science, December 1932
Terra Wind RV
The Terra Wind RV is a first class motor coach that is as comfortable on the lake as it is on the land with a highway speed of up to 80 mph and up to 7 knots on the water. [link]
LARC-V (Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo, 5 ton), is an aluminium-hulled amphibious cargo vehicle capable of transporting 5 tons. It was developed in the United States during the 1950s, and is used in a variety of auxiliary roles to this day. [link]
The LARC V was 35 feet long, 9.9 feet wide, and 12 feet high with its top erected. It could go 28 mph on land and 12 mph in water. With a gross weight of 19,000 pounds, it could carry five tons of cargo or 40 soldiers, plus a crew of two. It could navigate shallow water with a draft of only 3 1/2 feet. [link]
LARC-V comes ashore on Vietnam beach.
458th Transportation Company (Light Amphibian) LARC-V at South Beach, Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. [images source]
Gibbs Technologies recently introduced an amphibious vehicle called Quadski. This Quadski has four-wheels like a car, but it can be folded / retracted naturally once you’ve entering to the water mode.
Quadski is made by combining Jet Ski and car. The vehicle will be able to move like usual car (max 52 mph) on the land, or it can be speeding up to 72 kph on water surface. [link]
Youtube video: hubert Cumberdale
Python – The World’s Fastest Amphibious Vehicle
WaterCar‘s Python is the world’s fasts amphibious vehicle to ever be designed and built. The Python can reach up to 60 mph of water speed, and mid 12 second ¼ mile times and 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. For those of you who don’t speak “car stats”, the translation is simple: it’s FAST!
The engine is based on the famous aluminum LS Corvette power train. The doors are built to keep water out and allow easy access from the water. The interior of the vehicle resembles a boat with captain chairs in the front and wrapped bench in the back. [link]