Hunts car-boat captain comes forward

THE lucky driver of the mystery amphibious car spotted on the River Great Ouse recently has spoken to The Hunts Post about his unique experience.

THE lucky driver of the mystery amphibious car spotted on the River Great Ouse recently has spoken to The Hunts Post about his unique experience.

Patent attorney Paul Hicks, from Papworth, was loaned the bright yellow Aquada by its manufacturer Gibbs Technology. Mr Hicks, who works for Cambridge-based firm Boult Wade Tennant, has helped the British company apply for more than 60 patents to protect the pioneering technology incorporated in the amazing car.

The Hunts Post last week published the first pictures of the car in the river at St Ives, taken on June 19, and readers have since been contacting us with information.

This amazing picture of the Aquada was captured a week later by amateur photographer Moira Clelland, of Beech Drive, St Ives, who was cycling along the river with her partner Nick Boulding when she spotted saw it approaching.

Mr Hicks, who was tracked down by The Hunts Post, said: “I work with the guys at Gibbs Technology. There is a lot of innovative technology involved in the Aquada to do with its cooling systems, propulsion etc and I have helped them to protect their IP.

“It’s a fantastic piece of engineering and it’s nice to see real British engineering in action.”

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He explained that the car was revealed to the world’s press in 2003 but added: “It’s not available on the open market yet – people can only register their interest.

“It is a fantastic bit of kit. On the river there is a speed limit of four miles per hour so we were limited to what we could do but we have taken it out on a water skiing lake and put it through its paces and did some water skiing with it.

“The car gains a lot of interest wherever it goes. It is amazing to drive on land and on the water. It’s fantastic fun.”

The Gibbs Technology website says the Aquada is a revolutionary showcase of High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology and describes it as a “radical new breed of vehicle” that has been precision engineered to exacting standards.

Entry to the water is via beach, boat ramp, slipway or directly from the water’s edge and once afloat, the transition from road vehicle to High Speed Amphibian (HSA) is “effortlessly” achieved – all the driver has to do is press a button and drive into the water. The wheels automatically rise and as you press the accelerator nearly a ton of thrust pushes the Aquada onto the plane. The whole process takes less than 12 seconds and the Aquada can plane at over 30mph.

The website finishes: “The Gibbs Aquada is the perfect leisure vehicle. It combines the thrill of an open top car with the sheer exhilaration experienced in a high performance speedboat.”

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