Six wheel drive. Bulldozer steering levers, one for each side. Balloon tires to swallow jolts from rough terrain. Literally walks on water. And you could have bought one right here in the early 70s. So why didn’t you? Probably the unknown reliability or the killjoy gas crisis.
No matter. Tom Flanagan, owner of Tom’s Auto Body Company and also Burlington’s token Attex dealer, wasn’t in it for the money. “I attended a sportsmen’s show in Boston saw the Attex on display, and I wanted one. I found by opening a dealership I could get one for about half price. So I did, and secured a protected territory, three units to sell, a parts inventory and all the necessary stuff for the dealership. I used my body shop as the location.”
He once drove an Attex down Cambridge St. during a July 4th parade in the late 60s or early 70s. So how many did Flanagan sell to retail customers? Zero. “I wasn’t interested in selling them,” he says. “I just wanted a toy.” He sold the franchise and two of the units to Angelo Galinos, but kept one for himself, played with it for a few years in Maine, and then sold it. Galinos sold his two units for an MG sports car.
But, for a moment there, if you were really motivated and willing to pay a big markup over sticker price, maybe you could have owned a real “banana buggy” from the Banana Splits, a Saturday morning kids’ TV show better known for its opening sequence and “Tra-La-La” song than for any of the episodes. The show actually used an Amphicat, but it’s the same idea.
Here’s an Attex showing off its harmlessness. Harmed or not, this model looks like she can’t wait to get on the phone and fire her agent.
They really were amphibious, too! You want something like this? Of the various 6×6 manufacturers in the 70s, only a couple are still in business. There’s an online forum for devotees.