- Jun 1, 2006
Jimny Cricket! Dutton's amphibious Commander S2
At some point during our formative years, we were afforded the chance to take a ride in a mid-1960's Amphicar, the German automotive equivalent of a platypus-- neither fish nor fowl. The little cruiser was in truth never made for a particularly good car or boat, but that didn't stop nearly 4,000 of the tailfinned buggers from finding homes... it certainly didn't keep owners from having a ball in theirs, if a little slowly.
More recently, the Miata-aping Gibbs Aquada has made waves as a better car/boat compromise, but at an absurdly high price. For those looking for something in an under triple-digit amphibious car, UK firm Dutton has quietly been making examples for more than a decade, most of them based on the ancient Suzuki Samurai.
But now Dutton has gone and upgraded, creating their new Commander S2 out of Jimny bits, including its 1.3-liter four-cylinder, a modified transfer case, and dashboard, among other things. Of course, all of the little offroader's parts have been lashed to GRP hull in order to facilitate water landings. Interestingly, the firm maintains that none of the 'Zuki's off-road prowess has been sacrificed (and those buggers have always been able to climb deceptively well). Given its exceedingly modest top nautical clip of 6 mph, it could easily be argued that Dutton's latest remains more accomplished on land than on water.
Still, it's hard not to be fascinated or amused by these types of propositions, even when they aren't terribly well resolved or are prohibitively expensive. About that: the Commander S2 starts at just under £30k (roughly $56,000 USD), and for that, owners get a basic model without any protection from the elements. Fortunately, an excellent SMG rating (smiles-per-gallon) come standard.
Click on the link for official company website.
[Sources: Dutton; AutoExpress]