Kevin's Penguin and Beaver Page
Kevin's Penguin and Beaver Page
Welcome to my page. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, know of any errors or omissions please E-Mail me.
Bolens Penguin Information Added - January 2021
There is not a lot of quality information available on theses machines, see below.
A Couple of Requests From Me :
When I bought my first Penguin 20+ years ago there was little or no information available, so I started this page to share and collect information about Penguins and their cousins the Beaver. All I ask is please, please credit the source if you use any text or images from this page, as you should do with any information reproduced. I have seen brochure scans, text copied and pasted and a photo of myself on other web pages and in "For Sale" ads, usually with no credit given to the source.
If you have one of these machines, please check the Registry page and see if your machine is listed there. If it is not, please let me know the machine information and the engine identification info so I can add it to the list !
Penguins in the Park - Cancelled for 2020 !
- I was planning to display at least two Penguins (and a Beaver) at the Wheels on the Mississippi Car Show, Sunday June 28, 2020, but the show has been cancelled !
The Show is usually held in Riverside Park, a treed, grassy park beside Mississippi River, upstream from the building Pengor occupied in Carleton Place in 1964. There is a link to the Show information page below. If you think you might be able to make it next year, email me if you have any questions.
Penguins and Beaver on Youtube !
It looks like I have not mentioned this before, but I have a youtube channel under the username "ClaytonCruiser". I have several Penguin and Beaver related videos with a variety of subjects from a walk around of a Penguin, one of a Beaver then comparing the two. I show a few accessories and since I have to do some engine (and other) work on a few of my machines I have been recording as I wrench and sharing those videos too, in case it helps anyone get their machine running. I do not have ads in my videos but some of them are a little long. I did this one just for fun https://youtu.be/k2PWP3kr6KQ
Penguin / Beaver Parts and Service Tips Has Been Updated Aug 12, 2016
The recent purchase of some NOS parts still in boxes has provided some part numbers for a few items which may help when searching for replacements.
These parts numbers are listed on the "Parts and service Tips" page.
Engine parts are available ! I have been able to get 99% of the parts I have required from Villiers Services in England. Their website http://www.villiersservices.co.uk/ does not show all of the parts they have in stock, but pistons, gaskets, bearings, seals, hardware, etc., are not a problem. They have repeatedly stated that they have every part for our engines "in stock".
General Update, June 29, 2016
The Three Stooges video "Flatheads" and the film "Deux Femmes en Or" are on youtube and both have a Penguin in them. Search youtube and have a look - Warning - "Deux Femmes en Or" contains nudity. The presentation of the Penguin to Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth can be seen online at the National Film Board of Canada website, see the link below.
News, May 22. 2016
Penguins are on Facebook ! I have created a Public Group on Facebook for Penguin and Beaver Owners. If you are on Facebook, search for "Penguin Amphibious ATV's". I started it as a place for Penguin and Beaver Owners to share pictures and ask and answer questions. I will try to add interesting stuff there too.
General Update, March 2015
The Siba wiring diagram I have posted has been updated to show how it is actually wired in a Penguin - the light indicating reverse has been corrected to show how it is wired to indicate neutral. Please note that this diagram shows the later "turn to the left for reverse" ignition switch, with 4 terminals. The earlier "push and turn to the right for reverse" switch is similar, but has 5 terminals. I will upload a diagram for it in the near future.
Royal Penguin Update, January 2009
The question - "I wonder where the Penguin that was presented to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip ended up?", can now be answered. A recent query to Sandringham Estates in Norfolk UK has confirmed that the blue and white machine is in their care. It is not currently on public display, and no comments were made regarding any planned change in this status, or on it's current condition.
What I Know About the Penguin
Well for starters, they look like this ;
The Penguin is a 4 wheeled, two seater vehicle. It is amphibious. On land top speeds of up to 40 mph were claimed , and in the water 4 mph is its limit. It is two wheel drive and is powered by a two stroke gasoline engine driving the rear wheels through a 4-speed transmission. Water propulsion is provided by the rear wheels only.
It is 48" wide, 75" long, 30" high and weighs approximately 420 lbs.
The first Penguin was built in Toronto, Ontario sometime in 1962. In 1963 a small manufacturing plant was leased in Ottawa, Ontario by Pengor Ltd. and production began. In April, 1964 the Ottawa plant was forced to close down and production moved to Carleton Place, Ontario. In November of 1964 the company filed for bankruptcy, and in May, 1965 a sale was held to sell off complete machines, parts etc. The total number of machines built was approximately 800 according to information found in at least two newspaper articles.
Penguins were built in various colours. Prototypes were Black and White and that was when the "Penguin" name was picked. Production machines have fibreglass bodies that were either all yellow (top, bottom, seats, battery cover and engine cover), or white top and engine cover, with the bottom, seats and battery cover red, green or blue . The one shown above is an "A" model and was originally white and red with white trim covering the seam between the body top and bottom. It appears that at least the top and bottom of the bodies and the seats were made by Polyfibre Ltd of Renfrew, Ontario.
Accessories available included : Windshield, Rear Cargo Rack, Seat Cushions in two styles ( one shown above), Cockpit Cover (also shown above), Skiis, Amphibious Trailer, Trailer Hitch, Tow Bar. I have one Penguin with hand brake levers on the steering yoke which appear to be factory original. if you check out the patent information at
the drawing actually appears to show a Penguin with handbrakes. I do not know what models were available with handbrakes or how many were equipped with this option.
There were 3 different models built, tagged "A","B" and "D". The "A" was the first model built. It used "turf saver" style rear tires and cast aluminum paddles for water propulsion. During their production run the rear tires were switched to the Terra Tread style and the paddles were retained without the rubber blades. The "B" models used a slightly different body design, Terra-Tread tires without paddles, heavier drive chains and the "D" model was heavier due to thicker fibreglass construction, and it was geared lower.
Penguins are powered by a Villiers 2-stroke, 197cc engine with a 4-speed transmission, fan-cooling and a reversible Siba Dynastart (electric starter-generator). They do not have an actual reverse gear but instead the engine runs backwards similar to Golf Carts and some snowmobiles. To go backwards you shut the engine off, push the centre of the ignition switch inward with the key, turn it to the right and restart the engine with the crankshaft turning in the reverse direction, or on later Penguins (and the Beaver) the key was turned to the left to start in reverse. All four gears are available for reverse !
Penguins are two wheel drive and seat two side by side. Top speed on land is reportedly 25 - 40 mph depending on the model with water speed given as 4 mph. They have no suspension and the steering yoke swings right and left instead of rotating as a steering wheel would. The throttle is located in the centre of the steering yoke and can be operated by either thumb. There is a brake pedal on the floor, and a gear shift between the seats. The dash houses the ignition switch, head/tail light switch, horn button, neutral indicator light, generator light and the passenger grab handle. The choke control and clutch lever are mounted on the shift lever. From neutral, you pull the gear shift up for first gear, then push down for second, third and fourth. The engine is located behind the seats almost directly over the rear axle. There is no differential on the rear axle and on hard ground the Penguin has a large turning radius. In the water however, the Penguin will "turn on a dime". Carrying capacity on land is 600 lbs, in the water, 300 lbs max. The Penguin weighs approx 420 lbs empty.
Penguins were tested by the Canadian Military in 1964, I have a copy of the proposed tests, but not the results of the testing.
A blue and white Penguin complete with trailer was presented to Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth during a Royal Visit to Canada, in October, 1964. See the sidebar at left to see a picture of the interior of the Royal Blue machine.
The Bolens Penguin
After Pengor closed its doors, two of the guys from there moved on to work for Bolens, and in about 1967, the Bolens Penguin appeared. There is not a lot of information available on these machines, but a brochure was produced with pictures and specifications. A report in an Oshkosh newspaper of a fire in July of 1967 is potential confirmation of the reason the project was reportedly cancelled. The number of machines produced and later scrapped varies depending on the source, but it appears that several were saved and have recently resurfaced, one in an article in Lawn and Garden Tractor Magazine.
The Bolens Penguin does not appear to physically share much with the Pengor Penguin, except possibly the rear wheels and tires, but it was intended to do the same thing as the Pengor Penguin which was to get people outdoors.
According to the specifications in the brochure it was fitted with a different electric start two stroke single cylinder engine, snowmobile style belt drive/clutching system and a forward/reverse transmission. It has a conventional steering wheel, foot controls, and the body shape is different.
What I know about the "Beaver"
Sometime after the Bankruptcy Auction at Pengor in Carleton Place, a somewhat similar vehicle called "The Beaver" was produced by Wheeler Mobile Ltd. of Keswick, Ontario. The Beaver was deigned to use parts left over from Penguin production, purchased at the Bankruptcy Sale. The one pictured below had one owner before me, he purchased it as a demo model in 1967. This photo was taken by Bev Shoots as Lori and I left the 2005 Carleton Place Car Show.
If you don't look too closely at it from behind you could easily mistake it for a Penguin. I do not know how many were made, or when production started or stopped. I have seen a magazine article from 1970 that contains Beaver information, so I assume they were still being built at that time.
The Beaver has a fibreglass body slightly longer and 1" narrower than the Penguin. I have only seen one colour - red all over, but I am told they were also available in Green Metalflake. They used a Villiers engine like the Penguin and you could choose from either a 197cc or 173cc model. The drive chain layout, brake system and rear axle assembly appear identical to the Penguin. The steering / front axle layout is very different from the Penguin as can be seen in the photos. They did use the same steering yoke and throttle lever, as well as brake pedal, headlights, taillight, dash layout, passenger and deck handle, and front and rear tires and rims. The Beaver I have does have a brake light and the Penguins do not, although it could be added. The ignition switch is turned to the right to start the engine in "forward" and to the left for "reverse". I do not know if there were different models of the Beaver produced, other than the 197cc and 173cc versions, I do know the body molding was changed slightly between 1967 and 1968. As far as available accessories go , the Beaver pictured above came with : storage cover, windshield, seat cushions, carpet, floor mats, amphibious trailer with storage cover, chrome trailer hitch, brake light and transport trailer. The amber reflectors and the rear deck stripe on the machine pictured above were added by the previous owner.
I welcome any comments and suggestions. If you now own one of these machines or did in the past, I would be very interested in hearing from you, your experiences with them, any you may have, etc. Please E-Mail me at "Kevin_Percy@hotmail.com"
Many Thanks to everyone who has provided information which appears on this page !
Penguins and Beavers In Print / On Film / In Music Videos
The Penguin is mentioned in the "Rooster Tales" column on page 99, in Hot Rod Magazine, January 1965. It had been used by one of the staff photographers while he was covering boat races in California and he gave his opinion of the machine. Two pictures of the Penguin in use appear in the column.
A four seater Penguin has been spotted in a German Auto Magazine "Autobild-Klassik", the Feb 27 issue, page 9.Follow the link below to the Photos From the Kay Family Archives to take a look.
Royal Penguin in a music Video ! Google "Streetheart Under My Thumb" and (if it is still there !?) go to the video titled "Streetheart Under My Thumb 1979 Queen Pics" and in the first 30 seconds there is a shot of a picture taken of the Royal Penguin Presentation
The Three Stooges can be seen driving a Penguin in a live short shown before and after one of their Cartoons. It can be found on the web (see above) or on DVD in a 600 cartoon collection, it is shown with the cartoon "Flatheads". This video is now on youtube.
There is an article on the Penguin in the January 1965 issue of Motor Trend, page 48.
There is an article on the Penguin in the October 1969 issue of Dappper magazine. See the sidebar at left to view the article.
There is a photo of the Presentation to the Royal Couple in Royal Canada by Trevor Hall, page 66, (check your nearest Used Book Store) there is also footage of the Presentation (approx. 15-20 sec.) on the Video The Queen in Canada 1964, available in VHS format (ID NO. 113B0164180) from The National Film Board of Canada.
There is an article on the Penguin in the February 1965 issue of Mechanix Illustrated , page 76.
The Beaver is mentioned in article in the August 1970 issue of Field and Stream , in an ATV's Buyers's Guide article. Click HERE to see the article on Route6x6.com
There is a Photo of a Penguin in an article on the Great Salt Lake in the August 1967 copy of National Geographic on Page 253
There is a brief appearance by a Yellow D model Penguin in the Movie Deux Femmes En Or (Two Women in Gold), a film shot around Montreal in 1970. The Penguin is shown in the first 5 minutes or so. Watch your TV Listings, this film is still shown late saturday nights. This movie is now on youtube.
A Penguin may have appeared in a "Mazda Wheels of Summer" commercial. The Penguin (?) was only in frame in the background for a second.
A Penguin is pictured on page 143 of the Summer 2007 edition of Intersection Magazine. Yours Truly is shown seated at the controls of an original 1964 D model made in Carleton Place.
I have been locating and "clipping" any articles I have found in online newspapers and they may turn up when others are doing online searches.
www.wheelsonthemississippi.ca is held the last Sunday in June and I usually attend to display at least one Penguin, since they were made a few blocks away from this show.
Amphibious Vehicles - Here is a page from Belgium with many useful links and resources.
Photos from the Kay Family Archives ! A peek inside the factory, photos taken for use in brochures, newpaper articles starring the Penguin and the Parts List for the B and D models. Ed Kay was the president of Pengor. Thanks to the Kay family for sharing these !
Route6x6.com A very useful and helpful site containing information about AATV's from the '60's to present.
What did the minds behind the Penguin come up with next ? Look Here !
Interested in old snowmobiles ? You might be a Sled Head ! Check out this site - Free Classifieds for old snowmobiles.oldsledheads.com