It’s emerging now in search for a new owner, one that would be willing to undertake the restoration to complete it so as to be able to enjoy it. The seller says the Amphicar’s 1,147cc Triumph Herald engine still runs freely, but it needs work. So does the rest of it, as photos in the gallery show: the vehicle is partly disassembled and requires more work and investment before it can go out for rides – and swims – again.
The old speedometer read 45,973 miles (73,986 km), so this old and very rare vehicle has seen some use. Strangely enough, very little of it was in the water: from what the seller is saying, the lower part presents no rust, which is a common thing in project Amphicars that emerge these days. This example comes in lagoon blue paintjob, with a yellow and white interior that was re-done under the seller.
Between 1961 and 1968, just 3,878 units of the Amphicar were produced, 90% of which were sold in the U.S. Of these, less than 400 examples remain today, and this is one of them. Bidding for it is now sitting at $26,600, which is in keeping with market trends: a drivable example that still needs work usually sells for $30-35,000.
Designed by ex-racing driver Hans Trippel in Germany, the Amphicar 770 could travel at a speed of 7 knots on water and 70 mph (110 kph) on land thanks to dual Hermes transmission. On the water, the engine powered two propellers under the car, while the front wheels acted as rudders, and you could launch it to water by simply driving it off the boat ramp.
The Amphicar was never a very impressive car, nor a particularly satisfying boat, but its appeal has stood the test of time, and it remains a must-have with collectors. It is a strange piece of automotive history but a much-desired one.