" followed closely by its claim of using “Volkswagen running gear." It’s difficult to see, exactly, how a Volkswagen platform could package a rear-mounted outboard-based drivetrain, "
The VW Beetle is rear-engined, ideally suited if you want to use an outboard engine to drive the car. Perhaps the reference to VW running gear, though, refers to the Beetle's platform chassis and suspension.
It has some surprisingly good lines, considering how insane it is. Still, I see the step pad on the running board, and try to imagine the wife trying to step into that thing from the side. Never gonna happen.
This could now work with electric wheel motors. The hydrostatic unit could drive an alternator that charges the batteries, allowing the carapace to be moved under it's own power when boatless. Quick, let's cut up one of them Prius' real quick! Somebody call Ian Roussel and have him get the torch ready!
I really like the out-of-the-box thinking and it even looks pretty cool, though dated. However, an amphibian still makes more sense as you drive off one boat ramp and up another. Seems to me with America's love affair with 4x4's and boats that a combination that could drive off and onto a beach would be a big success. When you figure a person might spend $50k on a truck and another $50k on a boat, why not buy an amphibian for $100k and have greater convenience.
No comment at all about the subject of the story. The author of the story, however, deserves mention. I can’t list all the fantastic “turns of phrase” included. Excellent writing, witty- but not trying too hard. Perfect balance of facts with a dose of snark. I will now seek out more from Mr. Benjamin Hunting.
In a lakefront community, such as the one I live in, this could work really well, even with its faults. You'd drive 1-2 miles to a public launch (or even better, a more private HOA launch) and disconnect. Two guys could push this into a nearby parking spot. Return from the water and reverse. Add a "trolling" motor for maneuvering on land and it gets even better. Sounds time consuming right? I guess you've never watched someone back a boat trailer into a launch the first few times.
That said, I already have enough expensive and space-consuming hobbies, so I'll pass.