You’ll have to start looking both ways when crossing the beach, because the Aquada amphibious car is coming across the pond.

It won’t be making the trip under its own power, but the British company that developed it, Gibbs Technology, is setting up shop in North America with an eye on the recreational market, as well as military applications.

The slick, open-top three-seater can make the switch from car to boat in under 12 seconds, and has a top speed of 30 mph on the water. It’s fast and powerful enough to pull a water skier, and can do 110 mph on the road. In 2005, Billionaire Richard Branson used one to cross the English Channel in under two hours, setting a speed record for amphibious vehicles.

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Joining the Aquada will be an all-new vehicle called the Quadski. On land it looks and drives like a conventional, though large, off-road ATV, but like the Aquada it can be turned into a Jet Ski-type watercraft at the touch of a button.

Working with US military contractor Lockheed Martin, Gibbs plans to develop additional vehicles for military use and has already shown an SUV concept called the Humdinga.

The Aquada is expected to cost $85,000 when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2009, with the Quadski priced at $16,000. Gibbs corporate headquarters are located in Auburn Hills, MI and the vehicles will be built in the United States, though a location for the manufacturing facility has not been chosen.

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