1953 Fletcher Commando
1953 Fletcher Commando
1953 Fletcher 'Commando' - a prototype. The Commando was a 6 passenger version of the Fletcher Flair conceived of and designed by Wendell Fletcher, an admirer of Porsche innovation and mechanicals. In 1952, the US Goverment was looking for an amphibious Jeep. Wendell Fletcher had the idea of designing a Jeep around an air-cooled Porsche 356 four-cylinder engine, bolting the Porsche drivetrain and suspension to the aluminum tub. He made it light enough (1,475 or 1,490 pounds, depending on your source) to be transported by air and added a special transfer case and front differential to make it four-wheel drive. To make it swim, he adapted the jet-cooling principles of aircraft engineer Otto Koppen (one of the men responsible for the Ford Trimotor and the Ford Flivver), which Fletcher Aviation already had applied to its FD-25 Defender. The system doesn?t appear to have worked well at all as a propulsion device, which is likely why many references to the Flair note that the simple turning of its wheels propelled it in the water. The vehicle in this photo is known as the 'Commando' which was a 6-passenger, non 4wd version and it was less widely known that there were actually 2 prototypes built.
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