Gibbs Amphibious, the curious maker of aquatic vehicles like the Gibbs Aquada, the amphibious car hasn’t yet brought any vehicles successfully to market. However, the Gibbs Quadski, an amphibious ATV, is ready for production and will be going on sale this year for a princely $40,000.
Gibbs finally gets one ready to sell, the Gibbs Quadski
Several years ago, a world record was set for the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious by Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin conglomerate. He used a prototype vehicle called the Gibbs Aquada, a three-seat amphibious convertible that was supposed to go on sale in numerous countries but has since been all but abandoned.
Not long after that, popular BBC car show “Top Gear” took a run at his record in a heavily-modified Nissan pickup fitted with an outboard, but weren’t able to capture the title.
In the meantime, the skunk works over at Gibbs thought up something else to occupy their time, namely another vehicle they have developed, the Quadski. The Gibbs Quadski, according to NBC News, is an amphibious four-wheeler and is going on sale this year.
Not going cheap
Gibbs is taking orders now, which the company says is about $40,000. Delivery starts in November. However, according to the Daily Mail, the company believes that sales can affect the economy of scale, which could bring the price down to $20,000 or so.
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The Gibbs Quadski uses a 1.3-liter BMW motorcycle engine, according to Inside Line, electronically limited to 45 miles per hour on land or water. It also doesn’t even have four-wheel-drive, as power comes from the rear wheels or the water jet. It’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission, but third gear has to be engaged when it hits the water. Normally, according to NBC News, it produces 175 horsepower, but it’s electronically governed down to 80 or possibly less.
How it goes into aquatic mode is first, the driver pilots it into the water. They flick a switch and the wheels raise up and the water jet is engaged. Then it’s off to the races.
The hitch is that initially, it will only be available at 5 to 6 ATV dealers and all on the east coast, according to the Daily Mail, so it won’t be like one can head to any Spokane cheap used car dealers or wherever and buy one. However, Gibbs is looking to expand the dealership network to about 20 dealers in the next year or so, to include the Midwest and beyond for the Gibbs Quadski.
It seems more likely to stay in production than the Aquada, which was initially ready for sale in 2003 and was available in Europe until 2006, when the engine supplier, English car company Rover, went belly-up. The car couldn’t be sold in the U.S., since it couldn’t be fitted with airbags.
However, whether or not it will succeed is another matter. Other amphibious ATVs, such as the 6- or 8-wheeled variety, are cheaper by half or more, though they won’t be as fast on land or water, and regular four-wheeler ATVs are up to 10 times cheaper than the Quadski.