This Truck Can Go Off-Road – No, REALLY Off-Road
Crossbreed a Ford F-550 and a 24-foot Kingfisher patrol boat. The result would be a fast amphibian that might look something like this.
VEHICLE TYPE: Rear-engine, permanent four-wheel drive, 3- to 6-passenger amphitruck
BASE PRICE: $500,000*
ENGINE: 300-horsepower diesel (gasoline engine also be available)
LENGTH: 276.1 inches
WIDTH: 90.7 inches
HEIGHT: 96.1 inches
TRANSITION APPROACH ANGLE: 25 degrees
TRANSITION DEPARTURE ANGLE: 20 degrees
DRAFT: 21 inches
WATER PROPULSION: Twin Gibbs High Speed Amphibian 11.5-inch jets
WHEEL RETRACTION SYSTEM: Hydraulic Gibbs Amphibians HSA system
HULL: Carbon fiber
* Company estimate
The Gibbs Humdinga, a 23-foot amphitruck, is part road-going truck, part jet-propelled boat. Eighty miles per hour on land and more than 30 in the water with a transition of time of less than five seconds, and within a year, it’s going to be available for sale.
With permanent four-wheel drive, the Humdinga takes the idea of “go anywhere” to a new dimension. Short of becoming airborne, the Humdinga can do anything.
The company believes the uses for the technology are virtually limitless. Of course, it’s pitching the vehicle to search and rescue crews, specifically, first responders, beach patrols and flood relief operations. But there are also commercial applications such as surveyors, prospectors and safaris. Military applications could include Coast Guard, disaster relief and border protection.
Gibbs also envisions consumer use as a recreational vehicle, hunting and fishing rig or as a yacht tender.
It’s expected to carry a base price of about $500,000. Gibbs Amphitrucks spokesman Graham Jenkins said the price is a “bargain for a utility amphibian.”
Amphibians such as Argo six-wheel vehicles and others have been around for decades. What makes Gibbs’ technology a game changer is that they are fast on water and land.
Gibbs Amphitrucks, a division of Gibbs Amphibians, licensed the Humdinga to ST Kinetics, a Singapore-based specialty vehicle manufacturer and military contractor, a deal it announced a little more than a year ago. Gibbs is supporting continued development from its research facility in Nuneaton, England.
Gibbs and STK are conducting demos of the Humdinga to show its capabilities.
“We have a unit in southeast Asia right now doing demos in conjunction with STK to generate additional orders before they go into production,” Jenkins said. Gibbs is also planning additional demos in the U.S.
Base models will come without a cab, but half and full cabs will be options. A variety of other options are also possible to fit the varied uses buyers may have for the trucks.
The Humdinga is powered by a 300-horsepower diesel engine with a gasoline engine option. Power is routed through an automatic transmission. Jenkins refused to offer additional powertrain details.
Water propulsion is by twin 11.5-inch Gibbs jets powered by a power take off unit.
The Humdinga weighs in at 6,197 pounds and has a payload capacity of 1,719 pounds. Base versions have three seats but the truck can be outfitted to carry up to six people.
Gibbs vehicles use the company’s exclusive High Speed Amphibian technology, which includes a retractable suspension system that decouples the axles and pulls the wheels into the wheel wells, the key technology that turns them into fast amphibians. HSA technology also includes Gibbs own jet design as well as other characteristics such as the shallow-keel hull shape that improves ground clearance on land while maintaining good performance in water and proprietary carbon fiber.
Another Gibbs division, Gibbs Sports Amphibians, produces the Quadski in Auburn Hills, Mich. It is beginning its third year of production. The Quadski is a one- or two-person all-terrain vehicle that can travel at 45 mph on land or water.
Gibbs has also developed a 30-foot amphitruck that it calls Phibian. Phibian development is on hold while the company focuses on Humdinga.
Prior to developing the Quadski, Humdinga and Phibian, Gibbs’ first fast amphibian was the Aquada, a three-seat sports car. While the Aquada project is on hold because of regulatory issues, the Humdinga is classified as a light truck and will be road legal in the U.S.