BaT Auction: 1990 Dutton Mariner
This 1990 Dutton Mariner is an amphibious car that is based on a Ford Fiesta chassis and was built by Dutton Amphibious Cars in the United Kingdom. It is reported to be the first example produced and was brought to the United States by one of the three previous owners. The Mariner features a custom glass reinforced plastic body along with modifications necessary for operation in a marine environment. Power comes from the factory Fiesta 1.3L inline-four while on land, with a 5-speed manual transmission sending power to the front wheels. The vehicle is propelled by twin hydrojets when in the water, which are driven via a belt from the crankshaft pulley. The car is in need of some sorting due to its infrequent use since the seller’s acquisition in September 2009. This Mariner is now being offered for sale with a clean Massachusetts title.
A Ford Fiesta subframe was utilized during the build process and received a corrosion resistant polymer on surfaces that are exposed to the water. The custom glass reinforced plastic body was designed and built by Dutton, and a white soft top is present as seen in photos. The seller notes that the headlights and turn signals are currently non-functional.
The seller notes that the vehicle starts, runs, drives, and stops fine as shown in the video above and also notes that the vehicle floats and moves through the water properly with no apparent leaks, also shown in the video. The top speed on the water is reported to be approximately five miles per hour and the car has not been used in salt water.
The interior is trimmed in grey cloth and features the factory Fiesta dashboard and related components. The wooden subfloor boards have been replaced with double 1/2″ pressure treated plywood, and the hydrojet control levers can be seen between the front seats.
Dutton’s custom console is mounted on top of the dash and features oil temperature gauges for the hydraulic pump and for the the two water jet propulsion modules, along with bilge pump switches and other controls. A Formula air conditioning unit is present on the passenger’s side of the dash, and the 30,829 indicated miles are believed to be accurate. The A/C does not currently work.
The vehicle is powered on land by a 1.3L inline-four mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. No service records are available, though the seller does note that in June 2017 a new clutch, pressure plate, throw out bearing, spark plugs, ignition wires, and an ignition module were installed. The car currently starts, runs, drives, and floats but will need additional servicing before it can be used regularly.
The master cylinder is currently seeping brake fluid from its plastic reservoir and some paint flaking and surface corrosion is noted on the rear axle housing. Additionally, new brake shoes, brake hoses, and hydraulic wheel cylinders have been installed and the oil and coolant and hydraulic fluid were changed.
The attached VIN tag shows #D0101, and the car has reportedly been verified by Tim Dutton as the first Mariner model produced. Note the large model name stickers on the sides and rear of the vehicle, which also reflect the fact that this is an early production promotional model.
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June 15, 2018 at 12:45AM