ATV, Wave Runner : Andrew Motoblog

ATV, Wave Runner

Photo: Gibbs Aquatic

You didn’t know you wanted this until now. But for the bargain basement price of around $40, 000, you can get your hands on a BMW-powered ATV that blasts from land to water in a scant few seconds.

Gibbs, who made its first amphibious car a few years back, has been developing the Quadski for the better part of two decades, and are now offering up the first 1, 000 examples. Power comes from a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder BMW engine that pumps out 175 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. Output is limited to 80 hp on land, while a six-speed automatic gearbox powers it through the twisties and inclines.

The top speed is limited to 45 mph on land and water – not bad for a 1, 300-pound quad that’s 10-feet-long – and the Quadski will keep going for quite some time with its standard 15-gallon fuel tank.

The transition between surfaces is supposedly seamless, with twin servomotors raising and dropping the wheels in five seconds when the fiberglass hull hits the water. Gibbs claims the Quadski can go into a lake at speed and continue forward with little delay.

Besides the decades of historical attempts at amphibious cars (remember the German Amphicar from the 1960s?), consumer demand has never been particularly high. But that hasn’t stopped Gibbs from dropping an estimated $200 million into the Quadski’s development. Production will take place at a facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where the factory and its 100 employees will pump out 20 quads per day. Output for the first year is estimated to be around 1, 000 units.

The company is run by Alan Gibbs, a former diplomat from New Zealand who’s been creating amphibious cars for years beginning with the 2003 Aquada. Rover, who supplied the engine, went out of business, and safety regulations bogged production. The odd creation had some fame when Richard Branson set an amphibious vehicle speed record crossing the English Channel.

Gibbs is also working on the Phibian, a 30-foot long, 6.5-ton amphibious vehicle, and the Humdinga, a 22-foot, 3.5-ton model. Both are intended for the military and first responders, and Gibbs is seeking partners for production.

Of the Quadski, Gibbs said, “We’ll respond to how the market develops. We wouldn’t be doing it without being very confident people will love them.” The first batch of Quadskis will go on sale sometime in mid-November through about 20 dealerships concentrated in the Midwest, New York, Texas, and the southeast U.S.

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