Vintage vehicles, Automotive history and stories from motoring's past. 

Brooks Stevens' Evinrude Rooney Lakester

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For those beach going types who want to take in all the adventure, outboard engine manufacturer Evinrude had a concept that might just be perfect for you. Introduced at the San Francisco Sports & Boat Show in 1970, the Evinrude Rooney Lakester’s principal idea was to combine a boat and a dune buggy into one vehicle. 

Legendary designer Brooks Stevens, who also penned the Studebaker Hawk and the Gaylord Gladiator, was responsible for the look of this fashionable machine as well. 

Well, and the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. It’s all good. 

In addition to its proper name, it was also referred to as the “boaterized dune buggy.” The concept was kind of neat, actually. Essentially it was two parts - one part was a proper boat with, of course, an Evinrude outboard motor and the other part was sort of a “shell” surrounding the boat with wheels and all the other things one would need to motor down the street. 

When you got to the lake you’d back the thing up to the water and the boat would just float out. 

The package is actually stylish and it’s no surprise Brooks Stevens did something like this as he had a history in the automobile industry but also had done work for Evinrude on boat design. Heck, too bad he couldn’t also combine the talent he put into the Lear Jet as he was the designer on that too. Perhaps a “boaterized fly buggy?” 

What isn’t clear is exactly what would motivate the buggy part of the equation. While there are illustrations that show the boat portion popped out of its automotive shell, there is no clear explanation of what makes the buggy actually go. 

Of course there are also questions about what to do with the buggy when you’ve taken the boat out which also has the steering wheel and other driving controls, but these are just crazy semantics that don’t need to bother the casual observer. 

The fact is, it’s a pretty slick looking package as you can see in the pictures and the idea is kind of cool. Today with electric motors, making sure you’ve got water-sealed motors, you could actually make something like this happen. 

Of course before this vehicle ever hit the show circuit there was the amphibious Schimmwagen or Amphicar but these were already long gone and the boat didn’t come out, the entire vehicle floated. 

No information exists that I could find about what happened to this thing or if it’s even around today but it is a pretty neat concept from a designer with quite the pedigree. Who knows, perhaps there’s someone right now grabbing their fishing poles and planning for a day on the lake and in the sand in a cool and unusual concept that isn’t really all that far fetched. 

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Tony Barthel

Tony Barthel has been writing articles and blogs since 1996 with reviews of new cars, stories about old cars and the people who love them and finding the best car shows around for the Curbside car show calendar. He is also author of a book on event planning and public speaker on business and tourism marketing plus a YouTube creator of travel videos. Tony loves RVing and is the co-publisher of the StressLess Camping blog.