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The UK's latest sports car

2003-10-21 11:28

Wheels24 first reported about this amphibious car while it was still in development.

The amphibious Aquada is part speedboat, part car and is the world's first High Speed Amphibian (HAS). It has a steering wheel in the middle of the front seat and no doors which means you just hop in.

Designed to reach speeds of 161km/h on land, it can switch to cruising on water within seconds, according to Gibbs Technologies0, the British firm that designed it.

Once waterborne it can reach speeds of 48km/h.

Gibbs Technologies says the will build a hundred of the cars this year.

The car is part of the Aquada Bond series, but the company couldn't say whether that is a veiled reference to James Bond and the sports-car-cum-submarine that he operated in the movie The Spy Who Loved Me.

In promoting the Aquada vehicle, Alan Gibbs, chairperson of Gibbs Technologies, said heavy traffic in English cities such as London makes it pointless to have a sports car that can't leave the roads for a short cut across a river such as the Thames.

"With this you can have a really good car on the road, and an exciting toy that can tow a water skier, that you can commute to work with, that you can go to St. Tropez with and take two girlfriends," he said.

During the test drive in the River Thames, the Aquada entered the waterway down a ramp and appeared as manoeuvrable and watertight as a speedboat.

When the car enters the water, its wheels retract into the wheel-arch, while the drive mechanism is transferred to power a jet that propels the vehicle.

Gibbs said the car was the product of a seven-year development program, and 60 newly patented technologies.

"The design requirements for the Aquada were daunting, but the technology has delivered and demonstrates the quality of British engineering. I am extremely proud of the achievements of the team in making this a reality," Gibbs told reporters.

Gibbs, a New Zealand entrepreneur, built his first fast amphibian vehicle in 1995, before moving his company to Britain in 1999.

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