The letters in the name D.U.K.W. each are a designation for a specific identity component. “D” stands for 1942, “U” stands for utility (amphibian), “K” stands for front wheel drive, and “W” indicates two rear-driving axles.
First employed in military service in 1942, the D.U.K.W. was demanded by military necessity. Because it was needed immediately, the original concept was to take a vehicle, already mass produced, and make it float. A truck was fitted with a watertight hull, a marine propulsion system, pumps, etc. and quickly placed into service. Over 20,000 D.U.K.W.s were produced during the war.
The D.U.K.W. Was immediately placed in service, performed with distinction and was instrumental in winning the war!
The first documented use of a D.U.K.W. for tours in the U.S. occurred in Massachusetts around 1950; the ticket price was fifty cents.
The most historically successful tours with D.U.K.W.s have been (and still are) in Branson, Missouri and the Wisconsin Dells.
Of the 20,000 (+/-) built, an amazing number are still in existence. The primary advantages of D.U.K.W.s for tours are:
- Identity – the D.U.K.W. has an historical identity that is unequaled;
- Acceptability – the D.U.K.W. is almost universally accepted as being road worthy in all fifty US states;
- Maintenance – the D.U.K.W.s have been successfully maintained for over sixty years. Tour operators have become very skilled at overhauling the machinery and the hulls. The D.U.K.W. Has consistently passed annual state and federal inspections to certify its worthiness for passenger tour use in both the roadway and waterborne environments.