Iguana's ingenious amphibious seven-seat cabriolet taxi
The Iguana amphibious seven-seat taxi incorporates the signature retractable caterpillar tracks, at the same time as breaking new ground in passenger cabin design with a retractable hardtop that can be adjusted in height as a sunshade or sealed down watertight in inclement weather. The shock-mitigating seats complete the most civilized amphibious vehicle on the planet.
Amphibious vehicles are not new, they've been mandatory in military circles since WW2 and we've written about more than a dozen commercially available amphibious vehicles over the last two decades ... but this is different.
Amphibious vehicles come in two distinct flavours: cars that can travel on water, and boats that can travel on land. Neither sub-species is particularly good at both, but what the amphibious boat genus has most obviously lacked has been genuine comfort.
The two most obvious contenders for the preeminent amphibious boat until now have been the French Iguana Yachts (above) and the Sea Legs that hails from New Zealand (below), with the latter licensing its amphibious system to a number of other manufacturers.
Take a look at the main examples of each and you'll see that whilst these two companies have indeed commercialized an important new form of transport for a planet with millions of miles of waterfront, their primary designs to date has been more utilitarian in nature, and have not been designed for all-weather comfort.
This is the latest offering from Iguana though, and it is quite simply ingenious, as it takes the best bits of the company's amphibious design, at the same time as breaking new ground in passenger cabin design.
The boat has a retractable hardtop, which can be adjusted in height to be used as a sunshade while allowing the sea breezes in, or sealed down watertight in inclement weather. This makes it the ideal commuter vehicle or tender because it can operate in all weather conditions.
The coach roof can also be extended at the press of a button, ensuring that six passengers can be kept completely dry in waves up to 4 ft (1.2 m), which is quite a claim. This ensures that six passengers can be transported significant distances in comfort, safety and luxury, or at least as much as is possible in an unpredictable environment.
The other aspect that is almost as clever as the retractable hardtop is the fitting of six shock-mitigating seats. Water is a particularly unforgiving surface, and without those shock absorbers, being a passenger in a boat at speed is the equivalent of being repeatedly lifted and dropped on your backside from 12 to 24 inches.
If you've never experienced being at speed in a powerboat for lengthy periods, the monotonous pounding of the hull onto water and hence up one's spine can be deeply unpleasant at best, and damaging to one's health or worse. Those seats will make an immense difference to the comfort of your passengers if you wish to use the speed of the Iguana with passengers on board.
The Iguana is not new, and we first wrote up the upmarket Iguana 29 in 2011, with a follow-up story when the smaller sibling, the Iguana 24, was released in 2012. The biggest news since then has been the development of electric drive for the unique retracting caterpillar tracks.
The electrical drive means that the Iguana can travel on land with electrical power for whisper quietness and the minimal ecological footprint required to enter into wilderness areas respectfully.
The new Iguana Commuter comes in two forms, both of which offer the retractable top that converts at the push of a button from watertight helm to airy sunshade. There's the seven-seat limousine taxi model with the shock-mitigating seats, and the sport model with more of a day boat layout and pricing that starts around US$750,000 and can climb to $900,000 fully-optioned.
One of the more interesting bits of news to come out of Iguana during the announcement of the new Commuter, which is clearly aimed at becoming the tender of choice for the world's most luxurious superyachts, is that one of the very first Iguana Commuters has been purchased for the new M/Y Spectre, the latest of a string of superyachts built by well known motoring personality John Staluppi.
Staluppi's car collection turned into the Cars of Dreams private museum, he sold $11 million worth of his collection in 2012 and is selling another 140 cars from his Cars of Dreams Collection during the 16th Annual Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction in Florida next month.
Apart from his car collecting and superyachts, Staluppi is best known for his philanthropy. That's the 33-knot, 66-meter (217-ft) Spectre at top left above, with the 61-knot, 36-meter (118-ft) Moonraker top right, the 66-knot, 42 meter (138-ft) World is Not Enough (bottom left), and his 61-meter (200-ft) Diamonds Are Forever at bottom right. A full rundown of Staluppi's yacht collection can be found here.
Source: Iguana Yachts