Even so, the Amphi-Scooter is a legend – so much so that it got an official replica decades later, in 2015, in a project that involved considerable expense, over 700 hours of hard work, and even more hours of research and documentation for the original spec. That replica went on sale earlier this year when the builder, who is also the owner of the International Sidecar Museum from Cingoli, Italy, auctioned it off.
The original Amphi-Scooter is forever lost, but it lives on in the collective memory as the world's first amphibious two-wheeler and a most bonkers invention with an equally bonkers presentation. That last part is what we're here for today, thanks to an older video from British news archive British Pathe. You can see it at the bottom of the page in all its glory: an ad that posed as a piece of news featuring the dandiest gentleman and a pretty model casually taking their daily commute onto the Thames to beat traffic. It was all possible, of course, thanks to the Amphi-Scooter.
They took at 1964 Lambretta J125, which had the pressed monocoque chassis going in its favor as it increased its watertight capabilities and added two fold-up sideboards and a separate drivetrain for water mode. The design was nothing spectacular, aside from the waterborne capabilities: the scooter was still a scooter but now boasting the pair of fiberglass boards for buoyancy, a rotary paddle attached to the rear hub, a sealed exhaust, and a rudder attached to the front wheel.
Performance was nothing spectacular either, based on the sole surviving footage of it in motion. The presenter says with typical British humor that it allowed movement "at a leisurely pace," which is just a delicate way of saying that the thing was super-slow.
The first demos of the Amphi-Scooter were conducted with Douglas Bedford, a Concessionaires employee, at the controls and a local model. For the ad, London Lambretta dealer Jack Hornsby took over, bringing over his stiff upper lip, his suit and tie, his bowler hat and pair of leather gloves, and his gorgeous model daughter as the willing stranger who agrees to be a passenger, because the novelty factor is too much to say no.
The ad also touted the Amphi-Scooter as safe or, at the very least, "safer than a few seats in Parliament," a hilarious jab made as footage of the contraption making its way past the Houses of Parliament played onscreen. If you're in the mood for more online jokes, legend has it that the Amphi-Scooter is still halfway to making it to the other side of the Thames. At least it's not stuck in traffic like everyone else.