An amphibious car of real historical importance due to the place in its designers history.
Constructed to the design of Hans Trippel from Germany in 1989 when he was 82 years old. This was his last but one amphibian design after a lifetime dedicated to amphibian design and construction and in which he is credited with having been influential in the design or construction of well over thirty different types of amphibious vehicles, many of which reached production. This includes the prototypes for the world famous 'Amphicar' of the 1960's and easily justifying him for the title 'father of amphibious cars' if there ever was one.
Hans was actually jailed after the second world war for the part he played in making amphibious vehicles and banned from making them for some years after his release.
Hans Trippel raced cars as a young man. Being not so good at it, in 1934 he converted his racing car into an amphibian, presumably at least then he was faster on water than the rest. This is typical behaviour of many creative inventors, blocked in one direction they simply spark out in another, often with amazing results.
The Red Aquaterra is based on an Opel Vectra running gear and engine. It is a highly impressive fully working amphibian in its own right and although it breaks no obvious new mechanical ground, with its immense sliding doors and capacious interior, it is almost a cross between a military style jeep size and a family car, as well it may be given its pedigree!
It has a three bladed propeller driven by the 4 wheel drive transfer box position but this unfortunately means drive to the wheels remains only 2 wheel drive. Hans Trippel toured to several shows in Germany with this car, seeking orders but it was just not sufficiently developed or polished to attract any orders. Hans seems to have been more an inspiring visionary than a good nuts and bolts man and we understand cars were generally built to sketches and not to detailed drawings, rather relying on the skills of the mechanic of the time to try to make it work. This emphasises the point that the drive and energy of creative dreamers working with little knowledge of many aspects can often be responsible for major new innovations, even if those dreams have finally to be produced by others better equipped to do so - it takes all sorts - so never be worried about having a go.
You can read more about the life of Hans Trippel and his cars on the Schwimmauto link. There is also an excellent video available on the same site.
Whilst on loan to a friend, the friend forgot to put the bilge plug in. Unfortunately, even after a lifetime of amphibian design, Hans had not specified an automatic bilge pump that would start as soon as the water level rises. The result was a diving Red Aquaterra which lay in 7 metres of water for almost two days before divers found it and got it out. After two days drying out, it started straight away.
I wonder what a fly on the wall would have heard when he told the guy he'd just sunk the car!
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Date Changed : 12/08/07