If you're into car customization, the name Atoy Llave will certainly ring a bell. The man behind A-Toy Bodykits and the company's aftermarket exterior designs is quite popular among Filipino car lovers. The curious thing you see here--the Salamander amphibious trike--is Llave's latest creation. He made this in partnership with a new company called H2O Technologies, developing it in particular with the firm's technical head, Lamberto Armada.
Because it is amphibious, the Salamander can travel both on land and in water. It stemmed from Llave's desire to do something really useful for the benefit of his countrymen. That and his wish to put the Philippines on the global automotive map.
"I want to show the world that the Filipino can," Llave told TopGear.com.ph.
As you read this, Llave and his partners are launching the thing somewhere in Mandaluyong (near our office, actually). It's a big night for the group. They have been toiling day and night in order to seamlessly roll out the Salamander before the critical eyes of the motoring press.
Last month, Llave gave us exclusive access to the Salamander. It was for a full-length magazine story that will appear in our February issue. Writer Niky Tamayo was able to test it for himself, and you will read his initial impressions in our next issue.
The Salamander has two powerplant choices: one electric and one internal-combustion. Boasting a six-person seating capacity (four in water), the amphibious tricycle is powered by either a 5kW electric engine or a 250cc gasoline motor. We assume these are the target specs for the production version, because the provisional spec sheet still mentions a 3kW electric engine and a 200cc motor. (Watch the video at the bottom.)
"I've already achieved so much in the car business," Llave shared. "Now, I want to leave behind a legacy. I want to produce something that will help people."
Llave, of course, is referring to our country being flood-prone. Imagine having an amphibious vehicle like this when the water rises. The Salamander will also be practical as a shuttle vehicle in between small islands all around the archipelago.
The only hurdle? As with any brilliant Filipino idea, there is currently a lack of funding, which Llave hopes to get as soon as word spreads about his newest brainchild. We hope a wealthy businessman with patriotic and philanthropic intentions is reading this. The Salamander is waiting to be developed, polished and marketed to the world.
Atoy Llave is right: The Filipino can.
For a more comprehensive story on the Salamander, read our February 2015 issue.
Photos by Christian Halili
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