Amphicar Travels on Water or Land (Aug, 1960)

Amphicar Travels on Water or Land

PART boat and part car, this German import recently made its American debut. Dubbed the Amphicar, it has a self-supporting floating body—162 in. long overall, on an 80-in. wheelbase.

Its 4-cylinder 39-hp motor is water cooled and has four fully synchronized forward speeds and one reverse for on-land operation. For on-water drive, a switch operates twin propellers in the rear at forward or reverse speed.

The manufacturer says it will give 32 mpg on land and use about 2 gals, per hour on the water. The importer is Amphicar Corporation of America, New York, N. Y.

  1. Neil Russell says: October 4, 20078:58 am

    I always loved these things, the only squawk I ever had was that they should have made them out of fiberglass. A lot of nice little Amphicars rusted away to nothing. But the survivors certainly command a huge price these days.
    Maybe someone will come up with an affordable repro with a bigger engine and some better way to steer it in the water!

  2. Rick Auricchio says: October 4, 20074:57 pm

    Many of these are still functioning. There are clubs in the US.

  3. Stannous says: October 4, 20076:50 pm

    In 1967 I took part in the Yukon River Flotilla in celebration of the Centennials of Canada and Alaska. There were over 100 boats of varying size, including 4 Amphicars that made the 460 mile, 10 day journey. Our 14′ canoe could just about keep up with their cruising speed.
    I was 14 and lived in NJ at the time where I regularly hitchhiked to the ocean. My mom sensibly thought I would be safer in Canada and preferred my going north to joining my high school buds who were headed to San Francisco.
    (They got busted in Kansas and never made it, I discovered sex and drugs that summer anyway)

  4. glindsey says: October 5, 20076:22 am

    We saw an Amphicar when we were up in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, but I don’t think it was an original model as there were significant body differences. (Also, the thing was incredibly pristine, but that could just mean it was cared for very well over its life.) It had the Amphicar badge, though… is some company making replicas these days?

  5. Orv says: October 5, 200712:59 pm

    A company in the UK called Dutton Marine makes a modern version with a fiberglass hull. It’s based on a four wheel drive Suzuki chassis. Top speed is still only about 6 mph, thanks to the unfortunate physics of displacement hulls. To go any faster you’d have to build something that could plane.

  6. avatar28 says: October 5, 20079:36 pm

    I don’t know if it might not work better these days with a waterjet type engine instead of a prop for safety too. I know efficiency is generally not as good, but it’s possible to get good thrust and it might be possible to aim the jets in such a way as to improve manuverability and maybe even help with lifting the car out of the water a little more.

  7. Marc says: October 6, 200711:03 am

    There is one of these on display in Ottawa, Canada at the Museum of Science and Technology.

  8. jayessell says: October 7, 20071:27 pm
  9. Maggie44 says: October 26, 201510:18 am

    My parents were part of the 1967 (and 1972) Yukon River Flotilla. They drove a white Amphicar from Anchorage, Alaska. They are both deceased now but I loved that little Amphicar and my visits to the Yukon (Dawson City). I fortunately have photos and old films of both of their trips on the Yukon River. I am sure they would have remembered “Stannous” who posted above. He may even be in one of the photos!

  10. Maggie44 says: October 26, 20154:23 pm

    WOW, today I visited the very Amphicar that I mentioned above. My parents sold it in 1990 to a Washington man who turns out to now live within 15 minutes from where I now live in Washington State! Amazing the good shape it is in and we spent the afternoon going over stories and photos of that little amphicar that has provided super memories for both my family and his.

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