Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester

I wish I could write you a few thousand words on the majesty that is the Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester prototype. I mentioned them briefly when I wrote about the Briggs & Stratton Hybrid, a six-wheeled contraption from the makers of your favourite small engined machines:

“Styling was by Brooks Stevens Design Associates, the Wisconsin firm who styled the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, Jeep Wagoneer/Jeepster, and the (dreadful) Excalibur neo-classic, among other designs.”

Think of a Loewy design styled while under the influence of hallucinogens and you’d start to imagine the sort of shapes and features that Brooks Stevens Design Associates often incorporates into their work. 

Which is to say that if I told you they showed a car that was essentially just a holster for a boat, you probably shouldn’t be surprised. I first came across the car via Reddit and the Weird Wheels thread.

I used to captain a small passenger ferry, I’ve used trailers and lifts and I can’t quite figure out how the designers imagined the “car” part of the Lakester staying on the boat ramp once the boat part was detached… 

In period, Popular Science covered the Lakester, saying, 

“You back this dune buggy down to the water’s edge and suddenly it gives birth to a 14-foot fiberglass boat. After the cruise or waterskiing, when you’re back ashore, an electric winch hauls the boat aboard its wheeled partner.

“Dune buggy and boat are powered by the same 50-hp outboard motor. The buggy has standard Volkswagen running gear and an infinitely variable hydrostatic gearbox of the type used on high-powered garden tractors. The prototype, a brilliant orange and pearlescent model, appeared at the San Francisco Boat show in January (1970). Created by Brooks Stevens, the Lakester is expected to sell for around $2,500 when it becomes available.”

How does the drive system work? The steering? I haven’t a clue. If I had to guess, I’d say that the full-size vehicle was either a styling model or prototype without the ability to undock—after all, there are no photos of it in the water.

Shame. Looks like it would’ve been a good time.

 


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