Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Amphicar - The Car That Travels by Land and Sea

Bring back the Amphicar!
















The Amphicar was built in Germany from 1961 to 1968. Total production was 3,878 vehicles. The Amphicar is the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass produced. 3,046 Amphicars were imported into the United States between 1961 and 1967. The Amphicar is rear engined and uses a 4 cylinder British-built Triumph Herald motor producing 43hp. All Amphicars are convertibles, and the civilian models were originally offered in only 4 colors, Beach White, Regatta Red, Lagoon Blue and Fjord Green (Aqua).

The backbone of the Amphicar's electrics is basically a Lucas 12 volt positive ground system with certain items such as the horn, lighting and switches made by other manufacturers such as Hella and Bosch.

The Amphicar has a top speed of 7mph on water and 70mph on land. Hence, it was dubbed the "Model 770". The Amphicar is moved in the water by its twin nylon propellers. A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes (makers of the Porsche transmission) allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously. The "land transmission" is a 4-speed-plus-reverse unit similar to those found in the old Volkswagen Beetles. The "water transmission" is a 2-speed offering unique to the Amphicar featuring single forward and reverse gears. In the water, the front wheels act as rudders.

When new the Amphicar sold for between $2,800 and $3,300, depending on the year. Later model years actually sold for less than those of early years. No 1968 model year Amphicars were directly imported into the USA. This was because of the U.S. Government's EPA and DOT regulations that went into effect beginning with 1968 model year vehicles. This caused a major financial disaster for the Amphicar Corporation since the USA represented about 90% of all Amphicar sales. The Amphicar factory in Berlin, Germany closed for good in 1968, and the remaining inventory of unused parts was eventually purchased by Hugh Gordon of Sante Fe Springs, California. Hugh's Gordon Imports remains the Amphicar owner's primary source for spare parts.

There are several other excellent sites on the internet about the History and Design of the Amphicar, including David Chapman's amphicars.com and Mike Israel's Amphicar Harbor (and anybody interested in possibly purchasing an Amphicar should definitely memorize Mike's Amphicar Buyer's FAQ). Dozens of links to other Amphicar-related sites can also be found on the Great Links page of the Club's "sister-site" amphicar.net .


Text above from amphicar.com.

50 comments:

Chris said...

Those are great! They remind me of the "Ducks" over in the Wisconsin Dells. Ever see those vehicles? I think they'd be handy for crossing those pesky lakes and rivers that get in your way on your way to work :)

mylittlebecky said...

zomg i want one! also? i want a minicow!

Savvy Mode SG said...

will we get any use in California?? bTW, Tod's nylong bags are pretty tough cookies.

g. said...

I want one AND a mini cow. I want mine to look like Herbie the Love Bug. These are so awesome! You find the best stuff.

Pyzahn said...

With the way it's raining in the Flatlands, I'm gonna need one of these. Soon.

...love Maegan said...

I barely trust a boat in the water ...let alone a car!

{My mom always wanted to do this though. Surprise, surprise. lol.}

Anonymous said...

vote for The seeker on minisaia.blogspot

down and out chic said...

where do you find this stuff?! i've never seen anything like it!

Fragrant Liar said...

I must have one of those! They look like a fun time all around. And if you need to make a quick getaway from the coppers, you can lose them in the lake. Fabulous. Not that I'd ever run from the law, but one never knows when an amphicar will come in handy.

LENORENEVERMORE said...

Hate too use the word...but it's CUTE!!! They should bring back those car colorsss- I likey!!!

Improbable Joe said...

We could have used one last week, when we got 30" of rain in 5 days. Nice find!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Talk about a cool car! Funny how they never really took off...I would think people would really take to this one!

me melodia said...

omfg, i'd stab someone for that white one.

Gary Heller said...

Cool novelty! i guess they were styled to look a bit like the American classic cars of those years knowing they would be mostly imported here.
That first photo has me thinking they are actually looking out for the coast guard rescue. . .

diane said...

I always thought those things were too cool. They remind me of Johnny Quest cartoons, or James Bond.

clorivak said...

What a great shape to them! I would loove to cruise around in one of those, land and sea. Yippee!! Man, I wish they made old cars like they used. New cars are so yawnable.

being red said...

kick. ass. car. I WANT IT (in red or black)!

Diana said...

it sucks to hear the car industry stopped this because it was so cheap! imagine if we had this now, it would lead the way to flying cars or something!!

Sasha said...

some of the pictures are just funny! By the way..congrats you just got an award! Stop by!!! and thanks for stopping by ans posting!! You are the best!

Char said...

I needed that a few weeks ago! :)

TERI REES WANG said...

Shouldn't most/all our travel-ready-daily-commute-cars by amphibious?...seems it would be a life saver in the flood zones.

Your Mom could cheer you on while you work your crew on the row team! ;P

Andhari said...

I would love this car, so handy for leisures. They shouldn't stop the production.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

That thing is crazy! It doesn't look safe to me, on either land or water ;)

erin@designcrisis said...

Sweet! They tried to make an amphibitruck on Top Gear, and I would be all for that.

Yeah, I watch Top Gear. What of it?

Kellie said...

I want one! Seriously! That would be so awesome!

Sydnie said...

These remind me of my own hometown's Boston Duck Tours! Such a cool concept ... even though I'm a native, I go at least once a summer. Such an experience.

Sydnie
www.takemeouttotherunway.blogspot.com

Diane said...

ive seen one of those before. they are absolutely odd!!

La Belette Rouge said...

My He-weasel husband has a friend who has one. This guy restored one. It is beautifuly quirky.

Oliphe Butarbutar said...

Whoaa!I love those amphicar :D
The red one is beautiful :D

Kim said...

Weird!

I also gave you an award but don't know if you're an award kind of gal. I also just stole the feedjit thing at the bottom of your page:)

Amy said...

I'd rather ride a minicow across a puddle in a parking lot.

Pen Pen said...

Ahhh!! It's like chitty chitty bang bang!!
Now I want to go rent that movie!!! LOVE! :)

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

awww, those cars are so cute! love it!
xox

gangsta bride said...

that looks like all kinds of fun. the should make amphiboats too. just to make it even.

The New Black said...

Adding this to my birthday list!

The Cottage Cheese said...

I want one! I thought only James Bond and the Army had cars that could swim.

P.S. I linked to your Carrot Top post in my latest post. Hope you don't mind...

Chessa! said...

very cool. In Boston the duck tours (ie. big red bus tour and the bus is shaped like a duck...) go on land and in the Charles River. It is the coolest thing. One minute you're on the road and the next you're in the water...

Elizabeth Marie said...

I want one! Wahhhhh. That looks so fun! I need a sugahhh daddy!

Lynn said...

...and for making me laugh, you get the award!
Sorry, but it brings a couple of chores. Easy chores.
I really enjoy your quirky sense of humor and the fact that you don't get all Jesusy on me.
I hate that.
So glad I happened upon the Drollgirl

Bon Don said...

I need one! ... now.

K @ Blog Goggles said...

So I didn't exactly understand everything in that post (the technical stuff). What I did get is that the EPA put the amphicar out of business. Why? Did it kill too many fishes?

The Haute-Shopper said...

I wonder why they don't make these anymore. So practical if you think of the cars that break down during floods and that drive through large puddles. I think the amphicar would also elminate the need for bridges over water. So much more practical, you could cross a river wherever you wanted! And I'm betting it's more comfortable than a kayak.

Girl Japan said...

Ha.. it is cute... man where do you find these? Where oh where... = )

Eda said...

they are adorable! I wish I had the yellow one!

thereddeer said...

Too cool!

Emz said...

Omgosh such cool cars!!

Dan W Johnson said...

When I was a kid I saw one drive into the water when we were at the beach (obviously). I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen and vowed to buy one when I grew up.

sealaura said...

so many goodies on your blog lately,

I would love an amphicar in light blue or turquoise and a mini cow. Not quite sure I am am brave enough for the Betty color ;)

Miami Beach Villa Rentals said...

A must have in FL. It's actualy so retro, that I'm liking it, a lot.

couture dresses said...

I have always wanted to have Amphicar when I was a kid. Now it would be great to have it too, very useful while going for holidays. And looks good too!