Fish Photo - big deal....It was on the
template. I left it.
I have been on the water my entire life, since something like six
weeks old. My parents have had boats my entire life; my
grandparents had boats; my uncle was an avid boater. Okay, boating
is simply part of my DNA.
Of course, you may have determined I enjoy cars. Always
have; always will.
What better way to combine my two hobbies - an Amphicar.
One of my earliest recollections on the water was seeing an
Amphicar swimming in our local harbor. There is something very
unusual about a car that swims. Especially from a child's
perspective, something just does not compute. I suppose this
recollection from about 1967 or so, left a lasting impression upon me.
Now that I am older, why not? It took me about a year of
looking for the right Amphicar and I found this one outside of
Chicago. It's a little unusual, in that it either came from Canada
(most likely) or oversees, as it does not have a bilge blower, which was
a U.S. requirement. Fortunately, I purchased mine before the
recent run-up in prices, largely due to the Kruse Auction in Scottsdale,
AZ, where a nicely restored Amphicar sold for $127,000. Generally
prices have come down slightly since then, nonetheless currently, there
is an astonishing price on Amphicars. In fact, I am paranoid that
I am underinsured.
Ask any Amphicar owner and they will tell you
owning an Amphicar is about sharing fun. An Amphicar simply brings
more "smiles per mile" than any hobby I can think of.
Wherever you go - land or water - a crowd forms. The most typical
question is, "did you build that yourself?" Of course
not, I just purchased at my local Amphicar dealer is what I tell the
Truthfully, Amphicars were made in Germany from
1962 through 1967. All years are almost identical, with only
subtle differences slightly discernable on the later years.
Other hijinx include motoring down the boat ramps,
yelling, "no brakes, no brakes!" Of course you have to
be somewhat careful as you don't want to panic anyone.
My favorite when swimming through is to ask,
"which way to the Interstate?" People just don't know to
what to think, they pause, then laugh. ...or, ask "which way
to the McDonald's drive through?"
I am amazed at how many people carry cameras with
them, especially on boats. Always, the cameras come out and it's
I always felt the above picture was really
cool. Okay, most pictures of Amphicars are cool. I simply
like the way the weeds and the car were positioned. Actually, the
above picture was taken in our marina parking lot, looking from the boat
up to the Amphicar, just before a swim.
Car title, boat title.
Car registration, boat registration.
Car insurance, boat insurance.
Amphicars are not for the weak of pocketbook!
The poor ladies at the Tax Assessor's office
freaked out when I went to pay my sales tax and register as a car and a
boat. I won them over, showed their Supervisor a picture, and
helped them understand what to do. Now, a picture of my Amphicar
adorns the wall of the Supervisor's office at our local Tax
Below is the big splash, created when you drive
fast into the water from a boat ramp. I'm not too brave and don't
splash as fast as other Amphicar owners. This splash was possibly
10 mph in second gear. It's quite a rush and as you will see in
the second photo, not much visibility for a few seconds.
How about a WWII Army DUKW (Duck) splash? A
little different than the Amphicar...same boat ramp, by the way.
Same day, too.
Just a few more photos...
How about, exiting the boat ramp?
People often ask how that is accomplished? Well, the Amphi's have
two transmissions: a land transmission and a water transmission.
Each is operated independently of one another, but use the common
clutch. When near the ramp, of course the water transmission
(propellers) are engaged, yet the land transmission is in neutral.
Then, simply depress the clutch which stops both transmissions and
engage the land transmission into first gear. This way, both the propellers
and the rear wheels are spinning. The props push you through the
water until the rear wheels touch the ramp. Then, the rear wheels
propel you up the ramp. At the top of the ramp, I always disengage the
propellers. It takes a little practice, but it's not too
hard. The challenge is a muddy shoreline or a slippery boat
ramp. Sometimes, the rear tires will spin if the surface is slippery
and you don't make it out (I hate that, as I hate to get mud on the
tires). By the way, steering in the water is accomplished by
simply turning the steering wheel. The front tires act as rudders.
Each year, Al Heath of Grapevine, Texas (a three
Amphi owner) hosts an Amphicar swim-in on Lake Grapevine. We had
six Amphi's when I attended. Mine is the trailer queen in the
background, just before unloading. A beautiful September North
How about a nice picture of me in the Amphi
speaking with the owner of an antique sailboat? The sailboat owner
also has an antique Cowell he keeps at our lake and that's how I knew
I couldn't resist inserting the below photo,
compliments of Sports Illustrated... two features to note...about
the car...about the car!!!!
1.) The exhaust pipe is not correct.
2.) You can see the drivers hand on the steering
wheel, if you look close just inside her right elbow.
3.) Bonus... no radio, but a hole in the dash.
4.) Bonus again... This car has the aftermarket
tell tale hose for the bilge water discharge. When operating the bilge
pump, you can't tell if it is pumping. Install an aftermarket
telltale which directs the water upward, then you can see the discharge
from the driver's seat.
Finally, a salute
to the Cuban Boat People.
appreciate their creativity.
Amphibious 1959 Buick
Amphibious 1951 Chevy Truck
Amphibious 1948 Mercury Station Wagon
Unfortunately, the United States Coast Guard, after
rescuing the people onboard, sinks these wonderfully creative amphibians
vehicles. Too bad.
Don't forget to
check my favorite links page for a link to the International Amphicar
This Web Page Last Updated by The Let's See Your Car
Swim Like an Amphicar WebMaster 03/26/10
..okay, just one more happy Amphicar image....she's
happy to have ridden in an Amphicar...