Lakeland backdrop sees 1950s ‘water scooter’ brought back to life

An incredibly rare 1950s water scooter – renowned as the forerunner of the modern jet ski – has been for an outing on Windermere after a major restoration project to recapture some of its former glory.Director of the Lakeland Motor Museum, Bill Bewley, has restored the 1956 Vincent Amanda Water Scooter after tracking down the vintage machine to the Isle of Man. He has worked tirelessly to bring the propeller-driven watercraft back to life, before it goes on display at the Museum.
Best known for high-performance motorcycles like the Black Shadow, Comet and Black Lightning, Vincent manufactured a very limited number of the water scooters in the 1950s. Production finished soon after, so very few of these pioneering watercraft still survive today.

The newly restored Vincent Amanda has been given its first ride on water in what’s believed to be several decades on England’s largest lake, Windermere. The honour went to Emma Hill, who works for Windermere Lake Cruises at Ambleside (Waterhead) Pier.

Bill Bewley says, “I had heard there was an Amanda in a bad state of repair somewhere in the Isle of Man and it may be in a back yard in Ramsey. It was, but in near irrepairable condition! However, local engineer Richard Birch spent many hours sourcing and making engine parts while the collapsed fibre glass structure was rebuilt. I took the time and effort to restore the Vincent Amanda, because it was another part of an iconic marque which needed preserving to show the world the ingenuity and skill of Vincent engineering.”

Emma Hill added, “I was a bit nervous about riding the Vincent Amanda at first, but was surprised about how stable it was in the water. It certainly made a change from the modern self-drive boats we usually see out on the lake!”