The Scamander Is the Amphibious Forgotten TVR That Almost Was—And It Works

It even has a central driving position, like a McLaren F1.
Harry Metcalf

Peter Wheeler—the British chemical engineer who owned TVR from 1981 to 2005—had the idea for a multi-purpose vehicle that was fun on-road and off-road and even capable of driving on water at up to eight knots. What he and his team came up with was the TVR Scamander but Wheeler ended up selling TVR before it could be built. Thankfully, Wheeler kept working on it after he sold TVR and his son Joe still has the only working prototype ever made. In this new video, Joe Wheeler lets Harry Metcalf take a look around it and it’s absolutely outrageous in the best way possible.

The Scamander was designed by longtime TVR design chief Graham Browne and it has an almost industrial look. It looks more like heavy machinery than a road car. However, slide its massive power-operated canopy back and you’ll see three seats, with a central driving position, like a McLaren F1 or GMA T.50.

Metcalf had the chance to drive the Scamander and interview Wheeler before he tragically passed away in 2009. “I created it for me, to be honest,” Wheeler told Metalf in his 2008 interview for Evo Magazine. “I enjoy shooting, sailing, and driving on track, so I wanted something that could cover all these elements. I call it an RRV, for rapid response vehicle. Just don’t call it a car…”

That actually seems like the best way to describe the Scamander, as it doesn’t really give off car vibes, even if it’s fully legal to drive on the road. Metcalf actually reviewed the Scamander for Evo again in 2015 and praised its ride quality and capability off-road. He was also impressed with its on-road performance, given its size.

Power comes from a 3.0-liter Ford V6 that makes 275 horsepower, and it’s paired with an automatic transmission, but it’s only two-wheel drive to save weight. Its grip off-road comes from tall all-terrain tires. To make it drive through water, it originally had paddles attached to the rear wheels but that didn’t work well enough, so it was redesigned to have a rear-mounted propeller that looks like the GMA T.50’s rear fan. And it works, as Metcalf took it in the water back in 2015.

But the wild ambition didn’t stop at its amphibious capability. Wheeler wanted the back end to be modular, to accommodate a pickup bed, a passenger compartment, or even military equipment, such as a mounted machine gun. The British military even had an interest in the Scamander before Wheeler died.

In this new video, you get to see inside the Scamander and check out its fascinating details as they start it up for the first time in over a decade.

I’ve seen wacky car creations before, as we all have in the age of the internet. But the Scamander is both fascinating and completely functional, which makes it more than just a wildly ambitious prototype. It’s just a shame it never went into production.

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