Volkswagen does not have an amphibious vehicle. I know, there was the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen (which literally means “swimming car”) but that was a military vehicle used in WWII which was not something to glorify. Anyhoo, besides the Swimming Car, there was another VW amphibious vehicle.
OK. That’s not entirely true. It was not a VW manufactured vehicle; it was by a company called Busse SJI Corp but the Busse All-Terrain Wagon 6×6 ATV, as it was called, was nevertheless Volkswagen-powered.
The engine chosen by Busse SJI Corp was a 1.6L air-cooled flat-four engine that produced a healthy 55 horsepower – the same engine that was used to power the VW Beetle of that time. Apparently, amphibious vehicles were all the rage in the 60s and 70s (which kind of explains the existence of the classic car-style amphibious vehicle).
The motor of the Busse All-Terrain Wagon 6×6 ATV was paired to a Volkswagen 3-speed semi-automatic gearbox and torque converter. The drivetrain afforded Busse All-Terrain Wagon 6×6 ATV a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h) on land and 10 mph (16 km/h or 8.7 knots) on water, and it is able to scale slopes of up to 45 degrees incline. Interestingly, it was available with snow tracks as an option.
While quirky in the aesthetic department (it had a very boxy design that looks almost like an open-top box on wheels), the Busse All-Terrain Wagon 6×6 ATV was practically a tank among toys.
It had an aluminum body as opposed to then-popular fiberglass (which was popular with boats too) and it had a pretty impressive payload of 1,500 lbs (680 kilograms).
The Busse All-Terrain Wagon 6×6 ATV rolls on adorable 26×12-inch tires and was outfitted with the advanced braking system of its time: hydraulic disc brakes.
Busse All-Terrain Wagon 6×6 ATV was a luxury of its time, commanding US$4,875 (or about US$34,751.84 today). That was a lot of money in the 70s where sub-US$2,000 cars were commonplace. Though we are not sure how much ATV costs during then.
Images via Volkswagen.