1966 Amphicar Amphibious Car

770 "the captain”

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    7/1966
  • Mileage 
    1 060 km / 659 mi
  • Car type 
    Convertible / Roadster
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Restored
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Red
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Performance 
    39 PS / 29 kW / 39 BHP
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

43 bhp, 1,147 cc Triumph OHV inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, coil-spring independent trailing-arm front and rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82.7 in.

Developed over a period of 15 years at a cost of $25 million, the Amphicar was debuted at the 1961 New York Auto Show, as the first fully amphibious vehicle sold to the public. Resembling a combination of 1957 Thunderbird and Glasspar ski boat, it was motivated by a rear-mounted four-cylinder engine, borrowed from the Triumph Herald and driving the rear wheels. On land, it drove like any other small European automobile of its day.

Upon reaching a boat ramp, the doors’ special watertight seals were locked into place, a bilge plug was installed, the front luggage lid was locked, and the car was driven—slowly—into the water. A lever then directed the engine’s power to dual rear propellers, and off the Amphicar went. The “captain” would steer his craft using the front wheels, which served as rudders. Putting the car into reverse in the water would spin the propellers in reverse, serving as a brake, much as on conventional boats. For returning to shore, both the rear-wheel drive and the propeller drive could be operated at the same time.

About 3,878 Amphicars were built between 1961 and 1968. The majority, as planned, were exported to the United States, where they sold for $3,395, a price comparable to the Austin-Healey, to buyers that included President Lyndon Johnson. Surviving Amphicars are restored and enjoyed by enthusiastic owners’ clubs worldwide.

The car was in a good condition when purchased but the current owner nevertheless decided to overhaul it cosmetically and mechanically from 2010 until 2016. Works carried out include a repaint in red livery, while a check-up of the engine and floatation components was undertaken by specialists. The vehicle remains unmodified and to original specification, complete with life jackets, and is described as in good/very good condition. Nicely presented and ready to drive or sail, this rare motoring amphibian comes with instruction manuals, sundry invoices, miscellaneous paperwork, German registration.