It’s typically left to the military top develop new forms of all-terrain transport, or to specialist institutions the likes of DARPA, the MIT of defence tech. But every now and then an entrepreneurial private company does its own thing. Gibbs has done that with its Terraquad Amphibious UTV.
It looks, initially, like an outsixed quad bike, albeit one big enough to carry two in comfort side by side, and with dinky wheels. There’s a four cylinder petrol engine with a maximum output of 140hp, giving you 50mph. So far, so dry. But then the Terraquad can also make 45mph on water. Come to the shoreline and the Terraquad – using Gibbs’ proprietary system and its own jet tech – can convert in five seconds to a vehicle just as happy on the water.
Gibbs has something of a history in making amphibious vehicles. Indeed, it was the first company to create fully homologated vehicles capable of achieving over 30mph on the water while also achieving typical speeds on land – typically one or the other has to go. Back in 2003 it launched the Aquada, which looks just like, say, a Mazda MX5, but which – you guessed it – can be driven in the water too. The application for that car was less clear to see – though it’s certainly a sight to see at sea. As for the US$40,000 Terraquad – expect adventurous types, and the military, to come calling.