6 Tough Amphibious Vehicles You Can Actually Own
Amphibious vehicles are among the most ingenious inventions ever created. A vehicle that can move people across a body of water and does the job just as easily on land is an amazing thing.
The earliest amphibious vehicles were developed in the late 18th century and continued to evolve through the 20th century. Military amphibious vehicles were in high demand during World War II when specialized landing craft was used to move troops onto European beachheads during the invasions of Sicily and Normandy.
The amphibious vehicles on the market now have come a long way since then. And the six diverse and rugged vehicles listed here are inspired by the seven great amphibious vehicles described on the Awesome Stuff 365 website.
The variety of engines that power these vehicles—and their capabilities—will surprise you. Budget-friendly or priced over a million, all are fun and ready for any adventure that requires traveling on both land and water.
1. Gibbs Amphibians Quadski and Quadski XL
Combining the best of an ATV and jet ski in one speedy package, the Gibbs Quadski produces 140 hp and has a top speed of 45 mph on both land and water. The Quadski transitions between land and water in less than five seconds, retracting its four wheels so that its proprietary jet propulsion system can kick in.
The Quadski uses BMW’s Motorrad’s 1.3-liter engine from the K1300S motorcycle for land power. It’s a one-seater, but don’t worry if you want to take along a friend. Gibbs makes the Quadski XL that has a pillion and some extra length. You can buy the Quadski in the U.S. for about $40,000.
2. Hammacher-Schlemmer Amphibious Sub-Surface Watercraft
Word has it that you want a touch of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea in your amphi-vehicle. Here’s just the thing: a partially submersible amphibious watercraft from Hammacher-Schlemmer, the retailer that also offers a flying ATV and a human-powered car.
This rolling yellow submarine uses rubber tracks to move from the shore into the water. The upper hull is a two-person cockpit and beneath it is a submersible viewing cabin that holds two more people. The craft’s underwater thrusters propel the sub up to 7 mph on the water going forward and almost 5 mph in reverse. Weighing 3,400 pounds, the watercraft measures 12 feet long by eight feet high.
From the amphi sub’s description, it seems like it can’t be driven too far from the water. But if you don’t get claustrophobic, you too can move from land to the Life Aquatic for $300,000.
3. Wamah Avtoros Shaman
SHERP ATV, your bigger cousin has arrived. Russian-built like the SHERP, the Shaman is a colossal, eight-wheeled amphibious ATV. It measures 20.7 feet long, 8.2 feet wide, and 8.9 feet high.
This behemoth has a 146-hp Iveco diesel engine that helps it roll at a top speed of 44 mph on land and float at 1.3 mph on water. A hermetic boat-formed frame on the underside of the Shaman makes it waterproof.
The Shaman seats eight plus the driver if you choose the “Tourist” modification. The “Hunter” mod has four beds for a camping expedition in the taiga with three of your closest friends.
This ATV has several driving modes because each wheel is a drive wheel with individual independent suspension. For example, the Thruster Mode turns the front four wheels and the rear four wheels in opposite directions. The Crab mode adjusts the wheels for winding trails.
The only place you can buy the Shaman right now is in Russia. But we’d venture that popular demand might bring it to the U.S. soon. In the meantime, this massive ATV that literally can go anywhere has a base price of $200,000.
4. Hydra Spyder
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to unfold yourself from your sports car, march over to the dock, and climb aboard your speedboat. You should have something that lets you race both on land and sea, without ever leaving your vehicle. The clever people at Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International (CAMI) offer a solution: the Hydra Spyder.
This 4-seater amphibious car has been speed-tested on land to 125 mph and reaches speeds up to 53 mph on water. It’s powered by both a jet impeller and a Corvette LS2 6.0-liter V8 engine that makes 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.
The Hydra Spyder comes equipped with a 5-speed manual close-ratio transmission. For $275,000, this streamlined amphi-roadster can be yours.
5. Terra Wind Amphibious RV
No worries about finding a space for your RV near the lake when you can park on the lake with the Terra Wind. The Class A floater-home is designed and manufactured by CAMI, the company that produced the Hydra Spyder. The Terra Wind operates up to 80 mph on the highway and up to 7 knots (~8 mph) on the water.
Unlike most amphibious vehicles, the emphasis is on luxury in the Terra Wind, both inside and out. And in case its amenities make you forget that this RV is seaworthy, take a look at its two 19-inch bronze propellers on the back.
The Terra Wind is quite an investment, with a sales tag of over $1 million.
6. Gibbs Humdinga
This amphibious vehicle looks as if Boaty McBoatface had been plopped on a truck chassis. But Gibbs, manufacturer of the Quadski, dubs the 4WD Humdinga its Amphitruck. And its slightly goofy looks are deceiving: this truck‘s Mercury Marine 4.3-liter V8 churns out 370 hp and can go up to 80 mph on the highway and 30 mph on the water.
Like most Gibbs amphibious vehicles, the Humdinga transitions from land to water in under five seconds. The Amphitruck is fast and powerful enough to reach the plane—meaning that it can ride over its bow wave—in under 10 seconds.
Available in three-seater and six-seater configurations, the Humdinga has a price tag of $500,000.