Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

The Amphibious Caravans That Time Forgot

If you like traveling but don’t like housework, living in a caravan is just the life. Especially if it acts as a boat as well. Ahoy!


Seen here in 1955 hitting the River Lea at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, Alan Eckford was an unrecognized genius. His amphibious caravan was so light that a car with just eight horsepower could tow it anywhere, and once you hit the water with it using the help of small team of three friendly individuals, anything from a 1.5 horsepower two-stroke to a 4 horsepower racing engine could turn it into the ultimate river cruiser.

But what if you could only afford a Mini, because it was the swinging sixties already and you spent all your money on sex, drugs and rock n roll? The answer comes from America, of all places.

Remember: If you go fishing in your fiberglass bathtub, it’s highly advisable to leave your Missus ashore, so she can prepare a fire by the time you get back.


If the American invention doesn’t seem like the real deal, behold a two-wheeled tribute to the British spirit of adaptability and the great and growing past time of messing about in caravans. After all, it’s 1968 already!

The ingenious Caraboat is all about launching parties and yohohos, with a 6.5 horsepower outboard motor and a bit of grease on your brake linings.

It’s time for a cup of tea then, with the addition of some smuggled rum.

Photo credit: The British Pathé

Contact the author at

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


I should keep this to myself. but two bottles of cheap plonk down. heregoes;

For reasons that shall forever stay shrouded the man who is now my stepfather owned and lived on the first Eckford caraboat. It was a rubbish boat, an even worse caravan and a glorious thing.

Within it and around it I learned may things, Grownups are not always right, tiny outboard motors can disapear without trace, mothers can use bad words and Morris minor estates do not float.

On a happier note, I also learned, when it was parked up as an annex to my mums house, why I found girls attractive and what to do next. The boat/caravan/mistake eventually went to a fitting end. A Viking send off on a duck pond in I think the end of September 1977.