Banana Split: 1969 Amphicat

One banana, two banana, three banana, four

Four bananas make a bunch and so do many more.

Over hill and highway the banana buggies go

Comin’ on to bring you the Banana Splits show

Find this 1969 Amphicat for sale in Gig Harbor, WA for $2,000 via craigslist.

The Amphicat was invented in the late 1950’s by Canadian engineer Ron Behoo after hours in his basement.  Originally named the Aquacat, he later changed the name to Amphicat and founded Behoo Enterprises.  Unable to keep up with the orders, he sold the U.S. rights to the Amphicat to Mobility Unlimited in Auburn Hills Michigan which built the Amphicat from the late 1960’s into the 1970’s, until the rights were sold to Magna American.  Most of us in the U.S. of a certain age remember Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky driving them in the Hanna-Barbera Banana Splits Adventure Hour kids show.  Fans of the British TV show Space:1999 should also recognize the Amphicat, where it was used as a moon buggy.

Powered by a 16 hp two stroke Sachs engine with an automatic transmission with 3 speeds both forward and reverse, the Amphicat could hit a top speed of 37 mph on land and 2 mph on water.  The tires on the Amphicat were a special low pressure tubeless tire, bonded to the rim and were specific to the Amphicat.  The tires also served as the Amphicat’s suspension.  An additional set of of 6 wheels and tires could be added as duals to increase flotation.  The ad mentions that the seller has an extra set, but no pictures.

The Amphicat used a dual stick skid steer type steering mechanism similar to construction skid steer vehicles.  This gave the ‘cat a turning radius of 0!  One could do donuts with it until one tossed their donuts.

The body of the Amphicat was made of Cycolac ABS plastic developed exclusively for the vehicle by a division of Borg Warner.  The body was a two piece hull joined at the beltline seam.  Cycolac’s claim to fame was its light weight – the Amphicat’s body weighed only 60lbs – resistance to damage and never needing paint.  This ‘cat has however had a fancy paint job in Corvette blue metallic.

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Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pactific Northwest correspondent.  He knows what he’s doing New Years Eve.