MORGAN TWP, PA, USA
Up for auction is this 1964 Amphicar Model 770, in Beach Sand White with red trim, over a red and off-white interior, and a black fabric convertible top. This example is clean, with some expected patina, with only 1,981 miles on the clock.
Is your automotive fleet missing that quirky addition that won’t be mistake for anything else? This may be just the thing for you. The Amphicar is the answer to the question - that may not actually have been asked, to be fair – of what vehicle can you both drive to the dock, and then right off of it and keep going. A vehicle genuinely capable of both driving on the road and in the water requires interesting compromises that aren’t easily solved. And yet, there is no denying the charm and execution of this little car/boat.
First displayed at the New York auto show in 1961, the Amphicar was produced from that year until 1965, manufactured in what was then West Germany. It was designed by Hans Trippel, the same man who came up with the VW Schwimmwagen, one of the most self-explanatory names in all of automotive history. The Amphicar had a production run of 3,878 units, and still have a decently sized and very passionate enthusiast following to this day.
Finished in Beach Sand White with red trim, what’s always most noticeable about a “hybrid” Amphicar is the completely water-tight exterior hull design, made to float on water. As both a road and sea going vessel, the Amphicar has lighting that meets both road and water safety. This means the usual headlight, taillights and turn signals mandatory for the era, as well as the port and starboard marker lights deemed necessary by the US Coast Guard. The body is in very good shape, with very mild pitting on some chrome trim, and a small tear in the convertible top.
The red and white combo interior of this Amphicar is in very good shape, with little wear. Sparse and clean in design, the interior is made to withstand the occasional ingress of water, though the doors have a high sill, and are water tight when closed. There are no tears or rips in the upholstery, though wear is evident on the driver side of the bench seat. Besides some minor pitting on the chrome gauge surrounds, and some small scratches on the interior painted surfaces on some edges here and there, everything is in good shape.
The Amphicar has it’s 1147cc Triumph inline four-cylinder motor mounted in the rear, and riving the rear wheels. Underneath the car at the back, there are two propellers engaged by the second gear lever, with two positions, forward and reverse. Driving in the water involves keeping the regular transmission lever in neutral, to keep the wheels from spinning, though both levers can be engaged to drive in and out of water. Everything is in fine working condition, and ready to go for the next owner.
Is there any car as likely to get a smile from passerby as an Amphicar? Not likely. The fact that not many people know about these at this point, doesn’t change the fact that the design makes it clear what the car/boat can do. This example is in good shape, and is a very unique vehicle that is a guaranteed conversation starter. As a counterpoint to more serious car collection options, this would be a great find even if you aren’t one of the dedicated Amphicar fans – and would likely wind up converting you into one.
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