If you ever wanted to own a Duck Boat, now's your chance

Mike Austin Sep 20 2019

Who doesn’t love a six-wheeled amphibious military surplus vehicle? The DUKW, or Duck Boat, built from 1942 to 1945 to carry troops over land and sea, has found a long second career hauling tourists through city streets and harbors all over the world. And when one of those tour companies goes belly up (pun intended), it’s a duck boat shopping frenzy. Such is the case with this auction of Just Ducky Tours, formerly Pittsburgh’s only land and water tour. There are eight Ducks Boats for sale. Yes, eight, plus a restoration-ready hull.

You can buy the whole kit and kaboodle here and set up your own amphibious fleet for business or pleasure, or just buy one or two. Harry Davis & Company, which is arranging the sale, has a bulk bid option for the entire operation, which includes a lot of spare parts. If a bulk bid exceeds the total of the individual lots, that bidder gets everything. Otherwise the individual lots go to each respective winner.


All photos courtesy of Harry Davis & Company.

When we last highlighted a Duck Boat sale five years ago, it went for $78,775. It remains to be seen if the period-correct drab olive paint of that DUKW enhances or detracts from the value compared to the wacky colorful designs of the Just Ducky trucks. And bear in mind when you buy a Duck Boat, you get two vehicles for the price of one, a proposition that is both awesome, and a terrible compromise. Imagine cutting your commute time by traveling across waterways, instead of around them. Or heading straight from a day on the lake to a night on the town. In reality, any movement in a DUKW will take some time, as the top speed on the road is only 50 miles per hour, and it tops out at a mere 6.4 mph in the water. They also sink, with tragic consequences, far too often. It’s 31 feet long, so parallel parking may be an issue.

But let’s get back to things that make the Duck Boat great. The boats in the Just Ducky sale are all powered by a 350-cu.in. Chevy small-block, with 105, 150, or 200 hp, which means plentiful parts supply and easy engine swaps. They also have room for 30 people. It’s basically the closest thing in real life to Jabba the Hutt’s party barge, from Return of the Jedi.

If you’re interested and (unlike me) actually have the space and finances to fulfill this dream, online bidding starts Monday, September 23rd, and ends two days later on the 25th. Check out the auction’s page on Bidspotter for more information and a full listing of all lots.

An amphibious vehicle offers the opportunity to combine the financial pain of restoring a boat and a car at the same time.


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