The Amphicar was the answer to a question nobody asked. Even though it couldn’t do either task very well, it could traverse both land and water with ease. They are collector’s items today, especially if you can find one that has survived with its steel body still intact. The 1967 model available near Boston, Massachusetts has a remarkably low 9,900 miles and is very original. Find it here on eBay with one day left.
Today, the high asking price for an Amphicar is not unusual. It was not a runaway sales success, and production ended in 1965 with just under 4,000 cars produced. However, Amphicars could be titled the year they were sold rather than the year of production, so this example was manufactured some time between 1961 and 1965. As a later model, the seller notes that it benefits from being equipped with the bilge blower interconnect required by the Coast Guard and the DOT-mandated non-glare dash and interlock navigation light.
The Amphicar made its way on land and water without much gusto. The powerplant was pulled from the Triumph Herald 1200, and puts out a modest 43 b.h.p., but it was enough to propel the amphibious cruiser to 70 m.p.h. on land and up to 7 knots in open water. If an owner wanted to hot-rod their Amphicar, later versions of the same engine cranked out upwards of 75 b.h.p. The low mileage and original equipment indicates that this example made few trips down to the docks in its lifetime.
Like anything that sits in water, some Amphicars are heavily rusted when pulled from their slumber. Though little is known about this car’s history, its owner obviously took the proper storage measures as it is rust-free with perfect panel gaps. More importantly, the doors and windows fit tightly, which becomes a life-safety issue when river-bound. The seller also notes that there are no hobbyist modifications and that the car retains its original undercoating in the engine compartment.
With bidding already over $34,000, this German-made Amphicar will likely reach its lofty asking price. When you consider its original condition and all the recent mechanical work, including a new clutch, brake cylinders and refurbished carbs, it is also likely one of the best examples available on the market. Rumor has it that President Lyndon Johnson liked to terrify passengers by driving down a hill towards the water yelling that the brakes had failed. Stories and memories like those make owning one of these literal land-yachts all the more tempting.