Docked 20 Years: 1964 Amphicar 770 Boat Car

How many of you remember the Amphicar from the 1960s? It was a quirky little machine that was part car and part boat. Fewer than 4,000 were made in a five-year period, so they don’t turn up for sale very often. This one is from 1964 (not 1974 as part of the ad says) and needs a total restoration. The seller even knows someone who can do it! The little car/boat is in Port St. Lucie, Florida and available here on craigslist for $9,600. Thanks to our shipmate HelenaNOLA for sending us this tip!

Amphicar, model 770, was an amphibious automobile that was built by the Quandt Group in West Germany from 1961-65. Its name was derived from the term “amphibi.” The majority of the cars produced were sold in the U.S. and were popular in numerous product campaigns and advertisements even years later. These vehicles had to meet both automotive and U.S. Coast Guard safety standards for things such as having navigation lights and flags. They also had to be registered as both cars and boats.

The engineering of these little swimmers was unique due to the need to function on both land and in water. The undersurface up front is slightly pointed and then sharply cut away. Wheels are set low so the vehicle stands well above ground level when on dry land. Water propulsion is via twin-propellers mounted under the rear bumper. And the body is made of steel rather than wood or fiberglass as with most boats.

The engine, at 1147cc, came from the Triumph Herald 1200. It enabled the Amphicar to reach 7 knots in the water and 70 mph on land. It was mounted at the rear and used a 4-speed manual transmission with rear wheel drive. The Amphicar has a cult following even today and owners often convene for “swim-ins.” The seller’s version of the car comes from 1964 and has been stored for 20 years; from the looks of things, that may not have always been indoors. It’s a total project vehicle that has “all the big components” according to the seller. Which leaves one to ask, “what’s missing?”

It’s rusty in quite a few places and we wonder how hard it will be to come across what’s not there to finish the job. The seller says there actually is an Amphicar dealer or garage in Orlando that can handle restorations on these little gems. Experts of these cars will probably find faults that I can’t. I know more about cars than I do boats. Most of the Amphicars that show up for sale are either garage queens or clunkers. Hagerty puts a premium on these odd vehicles ranging from the high 20s to whatever someone’s bank account can handle. These machines are not for everybody, but I’m betting no one else in your ‘hood has one. Don’t “miss the boat” or you might find yourself “underwater”!

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Note to Amphicar owners if driven into the ocean and put away wet this is what you end up with! Maybe worth the asking price for the rare bits. A big undertaking looking at the condition of this. I’m sure there are some Amphicars that started out this bad and anything is possible given the time and resources.

    Like 9
  2. Howard A Member

    The great Bob Dylan once said, “and you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone”,,even though he was talking about a very different subject, it still works here. Again, and again and again( you get the point) if only these were fiberglass. Hefty price for a parts car/boat, and they were good at neither task, a crummy boat, and a lousy car, it’s a miracle they sold any at all. The closeup of the bilge pump control would make me nervous.

    Like 16
  3. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    What alphasud said………

    Like 2
  4. Sam61

    Abandon ship…

    Like 11
  5. Paolo

    If I want an amphibian I will buy a genuine VW Type 128 and 166 Schwimmwagen, Mein Herr!

    Like 6
  6. Paolo

    More mysteries: The craigslist ad shows a Minnesota “10,000 Lakes” license plate on the front, a Florida collector plate on the back and a title from Puerto Rico.
    Interesting.

    Like 16
    • John Oliveri

      Maybe it swam over?

      Like 5
  7. Jim C

    This one’s almost past the point of salvation. But here’s one that’s beautiful….going for big bucks:

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/3324525254279977

    Like 3
    • ChingaTrailer

      You make a mistake in saying that it’s going for big bucks. It’s only an asking price but if no one pays, it’s not going anywhere

      Like 5
  8. Arby

    Look, my car is a boat – it’s a….blub….blub…..blub

    Like 6
  9. 433jeff

    They were poor cars and poor boats, but I followed one from the street to the boat ramp and into the water in under 5 seconds, he barely slowed down. And it was beyond cool, when I stack it up to the other boat cars?? Oh I’m not sure if there’s Competition. Super cool, but once again way to expensive

    Like 3
  10. A body Fan

    Restored as a vintage gasser would be interesting.

    Like 3
  11. ACZ

    Not likely to float your boat.

    Like 5
  12. Stan Marks

    How many life preservers come with this Titanic??

    Are we havin’ fun guys, or what? LOL!!

    Like 2
  13. John Oliveri

    Probably better if you drain the river bed, and tow it around the banks, can’t drown that way

    Like 3
  14. ken tilly UK Member

    Dan Short from “Fantom Works” restored one of these a couple of years back, and if memory serves me correctly, it cost the owner a fortune.

    Like 1
  15. carl pederson

    You would want to be sure that the bilge pump was in good working order with this bad boy!

    Like 2
  16. G-W

    It currently looks to be an AmphiAnchor. I watched both Wheeler Dealers and another show restore two of these, and they weren’t as far gone as this. Good luck is all I would say!

    Like 2
  17. PairsNPaint

    My friend and neighbor up the street had a really nice one of these until just recently. It was a hoot watching him drive it around the neighborhood. He sold it for around $50k I believe.
    This one not so much.

    Like 2
  18. C5 Corvette

    I think the manufacturer should have considered making the body and undercarriage out of fiberglass. also strict instructions on how to NOT drive (float) in salt water. The sad fact is no matter how well you think you can get all the salt water deposits off, it never happens!

    Like 1
  19. angliagt angliagt Member

    At least you won’t have to worry about this one rusting.

    Like 2
    • Slantasaurus

      That ship has sailed.

      Like 1
  20. M.C.S.

    I don’t care what anyone else thinks, these are beyond cool. The Amphibian 770 is actually one of my dream cars!

    I find it strange that the “80” and “90” are flipped backward on the speedometer (not that one of these could maintain such speeds). Is anyone else perplexed by this, or is it a common practice for ease of reading on a round gauge?

    Like 3
    • carl pederson

      Hmmmm….”one of my dream cars” you say…..I don’t know about that…this one looks like it would be your worst nightmare…

      Like 1
  21. Jim in AL

    I was in the Coast Guard and stationed in California.
    We were called to a beach where the owner of an AmphiCar tried to elude the CHP by going into the water. I guess they didn’t they were important enough for us to worry about. Problem is, once he entered the water he was under federal jurisdiction.
    He would have been MUCH better off to be pulled over by the CHP..

    Like 5
    • Paolo

      I would love to hear more about this story. Please feel free to tell us the rest of the story.

      Like 1
      • Jim in AL

        This happened in the 70’s. Worst part of the story was for him. Since he was just out driving, he didn’t have any of the needed safety equipment like Life Jacket(s), Fire Extinguisher or Flares and his Navigation Lights didn’t work.
        I remember hearing later that our coming to get him cost him $20,000.. Then, he still had the charges from the CHP to worry about.

        Like 1
  22. Bill McCoskey

    Having owned one of these, I feel I can reasonably say this is a “Parts Boat”.[I’ve been waiting a long time to say that!]

    Like 1
  23. JoeNYWF64

    VW bugs back in the day were advertised able to float, i believe. But could not go anywhere – unless u had a paddle or you had a good current. lol

    Like 1
  24. JohnfromSC

    For Sale…floated when parked.

    Like 4

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