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1964 Amphicar

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 folks.  

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 photo time.

Okay, so let's get on with the photos....

Late breaking news:  The official Amphicar song and video:  

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 Assessor/Collector's office.


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 Texas day...

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 him.


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.  

You gotta' appreciate their creativity.


Amphibious 1959 Buick

Amphibious 1951 Chevy Truck

truck raft from right

truck raft from behind

Amphibious 1948 Mercury Station Wagon

taxi boat getting pulled over by Coast Guard

closeup of Mercury taxi boat

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 Owner's Club.


That's all!

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...


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