Several years ago, a company called Gibbs Technologies made news with the Aquada, an amphibious car. The Aquada was intended for production but has stalled, so the company has unleashed the Gibbs Phibian, an aquatic vehicle geared for police and military use.
No Richard Branson this time
Gibbs Technologies became famous some years ago for the Aquada, an amphibious convertible. The Aquada, according to the New York Times, is capable of road speeds up to 100 miles per hour and 30 miles per hour on the water. It was used by Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin media empire, to set a speed record for crossing the English Channel in an amphibious car in 2004, which he did in about 100 minutes.
The Aquada became entangled by regulatory issues and was stalled in the U.S., according to the Detroit Bureau. Gibbs is at it again, however, having just announced two new vehicles, the Phibian and the Humdinga.
Not intended as toys
The Phibian, according to AutoWeek, stands 12 feet tall. According to Gibbs’ website, it is also 30 feet long and 8 feet wide and takes 10 seconds to switch to aquatic mode. It is powered by a 500 horsepower twin-turbo diesel engine and comes in rear- and four-wheel-drive. In the water, it is propelled by twin jets, capable of speeds up to 26 knots (about 30 miles per hour) in the water. It can hold a three-person crew and up to 15 people in total.
The Humdinga is a mere 21 feet in length, holds five to seven passengers, permanent all-wheel-drive on land and just like the Phibian, switches to aquatic mode in 10 seconds with Gibbs’ High Speed Aquatic technology. The Humdinga has a turbo-charged gas V-8, which produces about 350 horsepower.
Both vehicles are intended for commercial, military or emergency service use and prices aren’t ready available yet. That said, they will be expensive; the Aquada, according to Popular Mechanics, was going to cost in the neighborhood of $100,000.
Few options for amphibious cars
There aren’t many amphibious cars and the few that are available aren’t cheap.
A used Amphicar, the amphibious car that was made in the 1960s, isn’t exactly a bargain. According to listings on TomLaFerriere.com, website for a Rhode Island classic and antique car dealership, an Amphicar that still runs will probably cost at least $35,000, enough to buy two Toyotas.
The next cheapest alternative is The Gator, a kit made by WaterCar, a California-based company specializing in amphibious vehicles. The Gator kit mounts a Jeep Wrangler-like body on a classic Volkswagen Beetle chassis and also adds mechanical bits to make it amphibious. The kit itself costs $29,500, but the company estimates the full process will take $40,000 to $50,000 to complete. Most other amphibious vehicles cost more than $200,000.
Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/4217933
La Ferriere: http://tomlaferriere.com/cars_for_sale.htm
Gibbs Technologies: http://www.gibbstech.com/event/gibbseventhumdinga.html