A team of British engineers have fulfilled the last wish of motoring icon Peter Wheeler by building a £200,000 vehicle which drives on road, off road - and in the sea.
The Scamander was the most ambitious project for the legendary former head of TVR. He wanted to build a vehicle which he could use for his three favourite pastimes - shooting, sailing and driving on track.
So after selling TVR in 2005 he set about working on an amphibious vehicle which would be equally at home on the road as well as on rugged terrain and in water. But the Blackpool-based pioneer was unable to see the car completed as he passed away in June 2009 at the age of just 65 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
His widow, Vicky, was keen the Scamander project was not shelved and in tribute to her husband employed a number of engineers to keep it going.
Now, after three years of hard work, the Scamander prototype has been completed. The chunky-shaped vehicle, which takes its name from the Greek river god, wouldn’t look out of place as the latest Nasa moonbuggy.
It is powered by a 3-litre V6 Ford engine which develops 275bhp and 250lb/ft of torque. Power is channeled to the car's 22in rear wheels through a four-speed automatic gearbox.
This gives the 1.6-ton Scamander a 0-60mph time of around eight seconds and a top speed of 120mph. For amphibious use, the engineers fitted an impeller from a jet ski which gives the Scamander a speed of around six knots.
On water, the driver - or captain - steers the vessel with a lever next to their left knee and goes faster by pushing on the normal accelerator pedal.
The driver is centrally positioned in the Scamander’s cockpit like in a McLaren F1 supercar with space for one passenger on each side.
Crucially, these two passenger seats can be adjusted to lay completely flat and act as stretchers if used as an emergency vehicle.
This was Wheeler’s hope, that the Scamander could be eventually used as a rapid response vehicle by the military or emergency services.
Peter’s widow, Vicky, said: "Over the past few years before he sold TVR engineering, Peter spoke of developing a vehicle which was fast on road, very capable off road and that could also take you across water.
"The concept did not fit in with the TVR range and therefore it wasn't until he sold the company that he began to develop it. Peter recruited the help of his main design team from TVR and over the next few years worked on the new model. As it developed it was named a rapid response vehicle (RRV) in that it could potentially get to any emergency wherever in a short space of time.
"It has the capability of 120mph on the road and up to six knots in water although with further development it could do conceivably better than this. Its off-road ability is remarkable considering it is only rear-wheel drive.
"I think it has potential with the emergency services, maybe the military or purely leisure for anyone who wants to drive all over the place. I would like to think Peter would be very proud of the Scamander although he would probably say it needs more work to make it lighter and faster still on road and through water!"
Vicky now hopes someone with Peter’s passion can take the Scamander to the next stage and see it developed into a full-scale production vehicle.
She added: "It is a very exciting project with so many potential uses."