The Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester

Brooks Stevens Lakester left sideIs it a speedboat? A sports car? Both? Neither? It’s the fabulous Evinrude Lakester concept created by famed industrial designer Brooks Stevens. Here’s a closer look at this singular machine.  

 

 

The late Brooks Stevens (1911-1995) was one of America’s most original and prolific industrial designers. Along with automobiles—Willys Jeepster, Studebaker Hawk GT, Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, to name but a few—Stevens and his firm, Brooks Stevens Design Associates, designed Harley-Davidson motorcycles, railroad trains, pleasure boats and outboard motors, home appliances, office furnishings, lawn equipment… the list goes on. And on. The New York Times called Stevens “a major force in industrial design.”

Here we present one of his lesser-known designs, but a fascinating one in any case: the Evinrude Lakester of 1970.

 

1970 Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester sketchThis rendering illustrates the Lakester concept in a nutshell: a conventional fiberglass pleasure boat, more or less, that can be mated to a modular auto chassis for highway travel. A 50-hp outboard motor provides the road vehicle’s power through a power takeoff unit and coupler driving a hydrostatic CVT transmission. Integrated driving controls allow the Lakester to be operated from the same seat on both land and sea, and a handy electric winch hauls the 14-ft. hull into its docking position.

 

Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester left frontHere’s Brooks Stevens (in his trademark double-breasted suit) explaining the Lakester to a television presenter. As the story goes, the Lakester project was sponsored by the promoters of the Chicago and San Francisco consumer boat shows, who were looking for an attendance booster for their events. We can presume the concept also received consideration from the Evinrude division of OMC, the Outboard Marine Corporation, a regular Stevens client.

 

Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester boat show 600Here, a skipper looks over the Lakester concept in its boat show berth. An item in the March 1970 issue of Popular Science magazine describes the Lakester as using Volkswagen suspension and running gear and mentions a projected price of $2,500 “when it becomes available.” How functional the Lakester show vehicle actually was, or if it ever reached a working prototype stage, is not known. Does the Lakester concept still exist today? We don’t know, but we’d love to find out.

 

1970 Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester sketch 600

18 thoughts on “The Brooks Stevens Evinrude Lakester

  1. Another one of Brooks Stevens seemingly oddball creations. I never heard of this, and couldn’t grasp the concept, until I saw the drawing. I don’t understand how the controls work for the car, as it obviously uses the boat as the interior of the car. Pretty cool, but still, pretty far out there.

  2. Yes,, but how does it work? Using the water cooled 2 stroke outboard will be useless.
    I cannot see enough room in the ‘car’ chassis for any engine and to somehow connect the steering and drive from the boat up too the ‘car’ must be a lot of work.

    • Pshaw! All you’d have to do is replace that huge ridiculous-looking outboard with a small, efficient inboard and that take-off hookup for road-use should be much easier to design. Your rear view would also inprove considerably.

  3. Racers used Evinrude outboard motors in Midget racing after the war. Perhaps the magic coupling provided a coolant hookup. This method of propulsion is not new.

  4. “Skipper” in the fourth picture looking over the concept is actually a U.S.Navy Commander (one rank below Captain, two ranks below Rear Admiral).

  5. You forgot that Brooks and his sons designed and built the Excalibur Automobile Co still in business as Camolot Excalibur look for it on google

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