Bad news for bridges

With the ice-caps melting, water levels rising and floods afflicting more and more of us, London-based Stone Mason David Baker might just be on to a winner.

Baker’s ‘Landshark’ concept is an amphibious vehicle for three people, which, he claims, thanks to a 1100cc Honda Blackbird engine, will achieve speeds of around 200mph on land and 50mph on water. Baker adds that not only will the craft move seamlessly between land and water, but it will also have lower running costs than the humble 2CV.

Around ten years ago, whilst experimenting with designs for a three-wheeled vehicle, Baker noticed that the placement of the engine, shaft drive and single rear wheel was similar to an outboard motor up on end. This led him to realise that it would be possible to pump water through the centre of the rear wheel. By redirecting the water the rear wheel can be made to act as a turbine pump.

The front mudguards of the fibreglass hull act as skis. As you drive into the water they’re forced down underneath the front wheels and lift the front of the vehicle out of the water, causing it to hydroplane across the surface.

Baker adds that because of its relatively low weight, there’s no reason why a landshark could not be carried on the back of a yacht and used as a ship to shore vehicle.Baker’s vision is to set up landshark centres with access to tracks and lakes where customers could go and try out vehicles and receive training.

In a case of life imitating art, Lotus Engineering (remember Bond’s amphibious Elise?) has recently come on board, and is offering a complete design and build service for the first prototype. Unfortunately, thanks to a financial let-down, the car didn’t appear at last month’s Birmingham Motor Show, and Baker now needs to raise £100,000 in order to finish the model and prepare a presentation for sponsors.

See an animation of the landshark at www.landshark.co.uk.