Over the years man has tried to simplify life by combining things. Sometimes this works well-like having a pen with a highlighter on the other end. Sometimes this works poorly-like popcorn-gum.
One example that falls into both categories is the Amphicar. As the name would suggest this is a convertible that is also water tight, has a hull and two propellers. The Amphicar is the car that floats on water, or the boat that drives on land (depending on whether you are a land lubber or sea captain).
The Amphicar was built in Berlin, Germany starting in 1961. Production ended in 1968 after producing a little under 4,000 units. The sales numbers may not suggest it but the Amphicar is the bestselling street legal amphibious vehicle of all time. The car was called the “770”. This was a reference to the fact that it topped out at 7 MPH on water, calm water, with a tailwind. And it topped out at 70 MPH on the road, preferably headed slightly downhill, with a tailwind.
These cars were built a smorgasbord of parts from all over Europe. Engines from Triumph, electrical systems from the prince of darkness Lucas Electronics, Porsche 356 style transmission: the list goes on. It used its front wheels as a rudder, giving it poor maneuverability in the water. On land the car was known for its terrible reliability and poor performance.
These cars are unique and friendly looking things, much like the original Volkswagen Beetle. Perhaps that is what attracts such a large audience (lots of websites dedicated to their preservation and forums) to such a small amount of cars (less than 700 left in captivity). There is even a club in Canada. Canadian Amphicars, run by a gem named Gord. This all makes sense because 90% of production was headed for North American roads/docks. If you just looked at the pictures and did not smile you need to see a doctor. These are some of the cutest cars around. Also, how cool would it be to pick up your friends in a boat!
We cater to car people at Auto|One Group. We have an Amphicar on lease with a client. It rocks! It is Lagoon blue with a white convertible top and a pastel yellow interior. If we get it back into stock I am going to take it fishing! Then to a drive in movie, but not in that order.