You Can Buy A GM-Engineered Amphibious Corvair

Maybe I’ve just been playing too much Fallout 4 lately, but I’ve fallen in love with wild 50s and 60s style, design and general engineering flamboyance.

In the 1960s, General Motors launch a whole lineup of air-cooled, rear-engine, flat-six-powered cars, vans, and pickup trucks, and what some people don’t know is that two of its engineers tried to make an amphibious variant… and almost succeeded.

Enter the Corphibian, a one-off car-boat-thing that actually might have had a chance at becoming a legitimate production model.

It was built by Chevrolet engineers Richard E. Hulten and Roger D. Holm, and was essentially an amphibious Corvair, based on a brand-new Rampside pickup with a 65-horsepower engine and automatic transmission.

Photo source: Pinterest

The two engineers started their own company, Hulten-Holm and rented out a garage in Pontiac, Michigan, where they lengthened the Loadside’s rear by two feet, making room for the hydraulic system that hangs off the rear of the engine and powers the twin propellers and electrically-operated rudders. They sealed off the undercarriage, installed engine and rudder controls in the truck bed, and left shore behind.

Judging by this home movie taken during Corphibian development, the result was pretty successful, both on land and in the water.

According to Hemmings, Hulten and Holm spent two years on a development program with General Motors, attempting to get the Corphibian approved as a production vehicle.

Sadly, and perhaps sensibly, GM declined, citing the small demand and high costs of such a project, and the only Corphibian ever built was put into storage with just 120 miles on it.

The Corphibian was discovered by amphibious vehicle enthusiast Wally Wheeler in 1993 and was sold, restored, and still only shows a mere 157 miles.

If you want to live out your crazy 1960s engineering fantasy Mecum will auction the Corphibian in Kissimmee starting January 15, 2016.