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Sunday my Bro-in-law and I decided to go for a swim out at a local reservoir in my Amphicar. We were out there for about 30 minutes when I spotted the Sheriff, then an ambulance. I thought I hope who is in trouble is OK. Then 2 State troopers, another 2 Sheriff cars, 2 pumper trucks, another ambulance, 3 or 4 volunteer vehicles, and the dive rescue team! You you have probably guessed, they were there to rescue the car that went into the drink! shocked.gifgrin.gif

We headed over to the ramp to let them know we were OK. The poor lady who called in ran away leaving her 8 year old kid behind because she was embarrassed. blush.gif I made sure the police let her know it is OK and she did the right thing. smile.gif How could she have known? I was informed my licence had expired in June so Ted had to drive me home.

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This past summer I almost had the same thing happen to me. I was at a local lake for a week with friends and family and driving in and out with very little problems and then it happened. As I waited in line (20 minutes) to take my turn using the boat ramp I noticed a lady in a large SUV staring at the Amphicar. When it was my turn I thru the props on of which were facing her and as I drove into the water I saw her reaching for her cell phone. I yelled at one of my friends to go talk to her and when I returned from the lake he stated she had almost fainted and was very very shaken. She almost called 911.

The week before this trip I had taken the Amphicar into the river by my house only to hear the following day on the radio that a car was spoted driving in the river over the weekend. I guess owning one of these kind of cars things like this come with the territory as they say.

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I was out jet skiing in a lake in Indiana over 4th of July week and saw one of them cars in the water. What treat to see something like that?

Would that have been anyone of you? The car was red.

There was also one at a local car show two years ago that was parked next to my car (31' Packard) it also was red. Wonder if that was the same car I saw in Indiana?

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8 years ago I was at a picnic with my girlfriend (now wife) and I saw a red Amphicar out in the lake. I pointed out to my wife and said "hey look at the Aphicar" My wife then said "that's not a car that's a boat out there." I then explained to her that an Amphicar is a car that floats. She didn't believe me, but of course we hung around the picnic long enough to where the car finally came out of the lake. I had told her that she would see that it was a car when it came out of the water. Sure enough the car came out and she learned something that day. I still think the only reason we stayed at that picnic as long as we did was so she could prove me wrong. grin.gif

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Same thing happened to one of our Amphicar-owning members. He was "driving" around on a local lake, minding his own business, when he sees a commotion on the shore. Luckily, in this case it was just the local sheriff and some area residents. The sheriff was quite interested in the car and stayed around to ask a lot of questions.

I must admit, his Amphicar is a hit whenever he brings it to a show. His is white and very sea-worthy.

Jan K.

Wis Region

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My father put a deposit down on one (a red one) back in the 70's and my mom said it was ugly and told him no. Boy I sure wish he'd have ignored her but back then I was only about 10 years old and too young to go to his defense. She was complaining about the money spent on our old pickup, but once she saw it finished, her tune has changed. You are right, those cars draw attention no matter where you are.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Do you ever have problems with traction when you're coming out of the water at the boat launches with those? </div></div>

Not really. 1st gear is low enough that they are rated for a 45 degree hill. All you need are decent tires and stay away from the mud (hard packed sand is best). I have all season radials on mine and she had done many beach landings and launches.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">What about the brakes? Do you have to drive slow with the brakes lightly applied or anything like that to dry them out when you first come out of the water? </div></div>

Yup, when coming out of the water, you ride the brakes to heat them up and dry them out. They aren't great to start with, so wet brakes can up the "pucker factor" if you forget until you need them. shocked.gif There are a few lucky people who live on the water. They usually will have trouble with the wheels locking up because they rusted in place w/o being sufficiently dried out. Rocking the car can break 'em loose.

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These little cars really have a lot of torque climbing a grade when in 1st gear. I recently did a beach landing (non ramp) loaded with 4 people, coolers and all kinds of junk. The grade was almost 4' at 50 degrees which is a lot and it was amazing how it went right up and out of the water.

In my opinion the Amphicar is more liking working on a lawnmower then a car however the cost of things are extremely expensive due to the limited parts supply and small demand. A example of this would be the ivory knob on the dash for the bilge pump which sells for around $135. I am hoping to have mine back together by the spring AACA meet in Carlisle and weather permiting and if the river is deep enough maybe some of us could hook up and go for some rides as I only live a few miles from Carlisle? wink.gif

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Aside from knowing what an amphicar was to begin with, who made them and how long were they made? Because I was only 10 years old at the time when my dad looked at one, I was too young to understand the mechanics and I definately would be interested in seeing how they're built. Aside from that one time, the last amphicar that I've seen was 8 years ago and even then it was from a distance away.

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The Amphicar was built in Berlin Germany from 1961 to 68 with total production around 3878 units, 3046 units imported into the USA. Cost was $2,800 to $3,300 depending on year. Model 770 was given to the Amphicar as it went 7MPH in water and 70MPH on land. They were available in 4 colors, beach white, regatta red, lagoon blue and fjord green. Estimates of around 700 to 1000 may still exist with 200 still being able to swim? I have heard that it had cost 5M in develpment of this car?

The engine used was a rear mounted British built Triumph Herald 4 cyl, 1147cc, 43hp unit. The transmission was a two part water/land manufactured by a Porsche company, Hermes. It has two shafts comming out the side (axles) to drive the rear wheels and two shafts from the water transmission which is on top of the land part to drive the 2 water props.

These cars were assigned a model year when sold so the vin numbers in relation to the running assembly line changes are all over the map. My 67 was probably built in 1965 or 66? Many times these cars sat before they were sold and having a title assigned.

Due to the new US goverment EPA and DOT regulations of which kicked in around the mid 60's it forced the company out of business. The costs to meet the regulations were to much. You may never see another vehichle like this made again in mass production that can be sold to the public. The amount of idiot proof safety devices that would be necessary for both a car and a boat would be to expensive.

A new production Amphicar would be a field day for lawyers in todays perfect no ones responsible for their actions world. Winnabego (spell check?) recently was sued and lost the case for around 2M plus a new Winnie by a guy that set the cruise control on 70MPH and walked to the back to make a cup of coffee. Of course the Winnie went off the road and crashed, however his case was based on the owners manual did not specify that you could not do this. Their new manuals now instruct you not to try this.

For more information try www.amphicar.com

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Ron, Your description of the layout of the amphi' is very intriquing. Just keeps reminding me how lame all new cars have become. Nothing new or exciting about them. By the way, my wife wants you to cut that out. "She said", we don't need another car. We'll see you at the "river" in the spring! Wayne

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">and I definately would be interested in seeing how they're built. </div></div>

Here is a cut a way of an Amphi. You can see the rear engine (Triumph Herald). The fuel tank is up front in the trunk. If you look closely, you can see the 2 shift levers. The short one operates the water trans.

color_Amphi_cutaway.GIF

An interesting note, only months after Amphicar was put out of business by regulations, the US Goverment created waivers for small companies (which would have included Amphicar). So had they done that earlier, who knows how many may have been built. They had planned on building 20,000 units

72 on Friday and I was out swimming the Amphi, this AM? 19 degrees and snowing! I love Colo!! grin.gif

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The doors are sealed much like a refridgerator. There is a flat seal on the body (hull) and another specifically shaped seal along the door edge. Where they meet, it seals up nicely.

There are a second set of door locks located at the rear and bottom of both doors that are designed not to seal the doors tighter as some think, but to keep you from opening the door while on the water. You feel like your in a car (you are!) and it is easy to forget opeing the door might be a bad thing. ooo.gif

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Amphicar! My wife wants to know the top speed of that thing on and "off" highway. She's like me. She likes fast cars! Interesting is nice too, she just told me. If this thread keeps going, all Amphicars in the barns of the world will soon be restored or have new homes. Wayne </div></div>

I have seen some Amphicars restored that 98% of the world would never even consider. But because of the rarity and sheer fun of them more are being saved everyday. Here is a perfect example of one that we called "The Brown Wonder " I rode in this car and it still swims in Ca.

As Ron mentioned they say 70MPH, and I have had mine up to 105MPH. Does it count that it was on a trailer? grin.gif I have seen vintage ads that stated up to 90MPH on land and 15MPH on water.This is only possible if both situations are on a steep downhill and you don't know any better. crazy.gif

I have had her up to 65MPH, but she is more comfortable @ 60. The front end being like a boat and the engine in the rear, tends to get light and too much like a boat. This increases the "pucker factor" a bit. They are geared pretty low, so hiway speeds are not good for long distances.

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Pat, You keep forgetting I grew up with bailing wire on the farm, have hot rods, and don't let computers or the gov-mint slow me down. Heck, I've even pulled the tag off a mattress to see what would happen. Nobody even showed up. grin.gif I guess that's why me and the "services" didn't get along. Wayne

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RW, Nice truck how do you keep it so clean? You stated above about laying the fins back for takeoff at 70MPH reminded me of a story last summer.

When I went to get the Amphicar registered here in PA for both a street and boat license it was quite a adventure to say the least. In fact to this day legality I can only use the Amphicar in the water and not on the street of which is another whole story that I will be correcting this spring. As I was filling the paperwork out a man at the counter next to me was listening to me explain to the young lady what I was trying to register. After a while he leaned over and asked me if this vehicle would fly like that car in the movie chitty chitty bang bang. I thought he was kidding but he was dead serious. I politely said no it won't fly. The lady registering the Amphicar at this point was very confused trying to accept the fact that a car went in the water also. The scary part is this guy was there to get a drivers license!

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I have seen 2 of these when I was a kid, was really fascinated with them and I wouldn't let my mother alone until she bought me a matchbox model of an Amphicar {I still have it}

This is a great thread full of information by experienced owners, makes me want to own one someday.

Could you tell us some of the weakspots to look out for when viewing a potential purchase and are door and axle seals reproduced or is it basically "find and fit"?

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> 105mph, Amphicar? Must been pulling that trailer with one of these-- www.aaca.org/misc/burgess.jpg I don't think a regular pick-me-up will go that fast pulling a trailer, on the other hand, I "know" this one will. Wayne </div></div>

Actually it was a '95 F-350 Crew cab Diesel. Didn't even know the Amphi was back there from Co to OH and back. Nice rig there for sure! One of our Amphicar guys has a nice rig (KW) he tows his Amphi with. Looks odd with a big rig and a small 5th wheel with an Amphicar behind it. He had the WTC flag raising picture painted on the back of his sleeper, very nicely done.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Could you tell us some of the weakspots to look out for when viewing a potential purchase and are door and axle seals reproduced or is it basically "find and fit"? </div></div>

The great thing about Amphicars is that most parts are available. They are spendy though. Several of us have repopped some of the hard to find parts. I do the manuals, another guy does bumpers and visors, another makes body parts in fiberglass.

You need to keep in mind that these cars were in the water, some in salt water (BAD!!) Mine will never see salt water. What most may consider to be really bad rust, we look at as average. The bottoms of the doors, engine cover, rear 1/4s are the most prone to rust. If these parts are repairable, you have a great start. The trans is thee most spendy part of all. You should make sure when possible that the trans does not have water in it and it is serviceable.

Our club members are really helpful and not like other clubs. No body cares if you have a "Brown Wonder" or a concourse show car. Virtually all of us swim our cars regularly. Nothing beats being in a (world record) crowd of 64 Amphicars on a lake. If you do your own work, we consider that to be the $10,000 talent. If you are paying somebody to do the job, start with a nice clean original car. Our club site always has a couple for sale in there.

c0106.jpg

Keep the questions coming! This is what Amphi owners do as these cars are ALWAYS on show. You get surrounded everywhere you go, so these are not for the person who wants to be left alone.

Cap'n John and

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Great picture, Amphicar! I like the headlights burning, gets the bathers attention when you're coming out. I too think this is a wonderful posting. Thanks! The truck in the net site is clean because it's still new(2500 miles). Winter is around the corner though, and we run upstate New York as well as N.W. Pennsylvania. I hate to see salt all over the aluminum panels and wheels. It's like a nice antique car though, made to drive not put in a museum somewhere. You guys have a good Thanksgiving. Wayne

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> my brother was the founder/first president of The International Amphicar Club. </div></div>

Very cool! I am not familiar with the early history of the club. What is his name? Does he have any memorbilia from then? I think the club was started in '68?

I'm outta here until Monday, to all, have a great Holiday and take a old car out at least once if ya can!

Cap'n John and

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RW, If you like the looks of the headlights on in the water you should see the expression on peoples faces when you use your turn signals, brake lights and reverse lights in the water. Its also has a boat horn that is used for both land and water. It really sounds strange blowing it when driving down the street. Also has front and rear (pole type) marine boat lights that look odd when driving down the street. Happy turkey day to all!!! smirk.gif

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