1966 Amphicar: Still Going Strong

Amphicar 770

Although Amphicars have little in common with Porsches besides their country of assembly, they do share one striking characteristic: the  sudden rise in interest and prices for project cars. In fact, it’s not entirely unlike the 21-window VW Buses as of late – maybe there’s something extra special about vintage German metal? Not that I’m biased, of course. Anyway, this 1966 Amphicar here on eBay hasn’t met its reserve price and is in need of complete restoration. With low production numbers and notoriety as one of the more successful land/sea experiments, values have climbed higher for these dual-purpose vehicles despite many of them being put away wet – literally! What I find curious about this particular car is that the seller notes he has a restored one in his garage, but clearly isn’t taking on this particular project which has lots of rust and no top. While I can find other things to spend my money on, I’ve always wanted a boat – but don’t have room for a trailer. Perhaps this is my answer!


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  1. MikeW

    After watching the WHEELER DEALERS show where they restored one, I’d say this one has to much rust to restore.

  2. Chris A.

    If you buy this one, you ‘ll be underwater in a big hurry. I’ve only seen one driven into the water once and it really is neat, but this one is too far gone. The chances on finding all the rust through areas and getting watertight integrity are slim. Looks like it had water trapped in the rear quarters and with that kind of damage, it might have been salt water. I’m thinking only good for spare parts.

  3. That Guy

    Fully restored these go for $40K-plus, so if the reserve isn’t stupid there’s plenty of room before you get underwater on this.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :-)

    This doesn’t actually look horrible. There’s undoubtedly more rust that’s not visible and the bodywork will be the biggest job, but I think this would look a lot scarier if it had salt-water history.

    • MikeW

      This one will never see water again !

  4. JW

    Rode in one of these in the mid 60’s when my folks were looking at a lake lot to buy, the salesman took us out in it to see the property. If only he knew my mom couldn’t swim and was deadly afraid of deep water, let’s just say she wasn’t pleased and didn’t buy the lake lot. They are cool to ride in but this one sure looks to be a big job. Too much for this old geezer.

  5. randy rush

    Not a big fan of these, I don’t understand the values either. Everyone says there rare, well wait till the value goes up more. I know a guy who has 47 of these stashed.

  6. Charles

    On Wheeler Dealers, Mike took a big chance testing is rusty amphicar in the water. It took on a lot of water in a short amount of time. I figured it would fill up with water and sink.

    At least with this car, one will not have to worry about this car/boat collecting rain water in the bildge.

  7. DREW V.

    Think I would rather have this barn find Amphi for less moneyt and with considerably less rust…


  8. Rick

    Let’s face it, these things didn’t “go strong” when they were new. That said, let me assure you one of these things and a little imagination could get you in a heap of trouble. Police frown on spending an entire night for a small “boat” full of teenagers who pass through one dam but decide to head for shore and go home before passing the marina that the lock master had alerted to keep an eye out for the tiny craft.

  9. Charles

    When I was a kid, maybe 13 or 14, a dealer in Merrit Island Florida displayed a couple of these things at a local shopping center over the summer. The area has many water ways, and most of them are salt water. My family were very active in the boating community, and I knew my way around water craft at a early age. These things were sort a a joke than, and age has not done much to improve them. It was not long before seriously rotten amphicars would be spotted in and around the Brevard County area. Frankly, I don’t see the appeal of a nice one, let alone a rust bucket. Yes it can be fixed, however with the price of repairs, it seems that one will be better off to find a nice original that has been lightly used and well cared for rather than trying to rebuild one.

  10. Brian

    Do you suppose the snow tires on the back contributed to the rust?

  11. Howard A Member

    These have gained a lot of steam recently, if for nothing else, the novelty factor. Sadly, these were neither good on the road or the water, and were serious rusters, as evidenced here. I agree, this one is pretty far gone, Oh, if it were only fiberglass!

  12. guggie

    I test drove one of these back in the sixties , wasnt a good car or a good boat , that being said , the guy who was selling them has passed and rumor has it that his daughter has several of these still in crates stored away .
    His sales pitch was it will get a complete wash down every spring and never rust like other cars up here in upstate NY , also told me he would rather drive the Amphicar than his wifes caddy . She had a 66 convertable (right )

  13. Chip H.

    Junk cars are showing up because of rising prices and idiots are overpaying for them. Also, many cars that were parts cars are being sold as “Needs a few parts” while of course you have to buy another parts car to find those parts. Then you can sell your parts car…..and on and on.

  14. Doug M. (West)

    So in boating circles, would-be sellers of their boats often claim proudly “never been in salt water” to establish some credible condition claims. Wonder if the Amphicar crowds sit in their lawn chairs at summer car shows drinking a few beers and ask each other “ever had your “Amphi” in salt water?” But then when I actually think of it, can you imagine how big an ocean wave would look to you if you decided to venture out into the surf?!!?

  15. Charles

    Salt water can mess up a marine engine in just a few trips. I witnessed the tear down of a a Mercruiser 7.4 Liter/Bravo II that used a big block Chevy engine. This unit was run in salt water for seven seasons, serviced regularly and stored in a dry rack every winter. The reason for the disassembly was that the engine was overheating. The water jacket inside of the block was solid rust, completely occluding water flow through the jacket.

    I have the same engine in a 1990 Mach I sport boat. After the rusty surprise from our friend’s boat, I decided to pull some parts and do an inspection of the water jacket on our engine. Our boat stays on a trailer inside of our garage when not in use. The boat is used exclusively on mountain lakes in NC, North GA, and Northern Alabama. It has never been in salt water. The water jacket inside of this 25 year-old cast iron block engine has a light coating of surface rust, and is completely clear of any scale.

    I have no doubt that a fresh water only Amphicar will fair far better than one exposed to salt water. Even though the engine cooling system on an Amphicar is a closed circuit, all of that sheet steel will certainly rust into oblivion exposed to salt water. If one bought an Amphicar new back in the 60’s, garaged it, kept it clean, did not drive it on salted roads in the winter, and only used it in fresh water lakes, it will probably be a gem today.

  16. Dale Watson

    I have several antique cars and what can you do with them ? Sit all day on hot top waiting to see if you got a trophy. Well I also have 1967 Amphicar which if I want to have fun I go to the many lakes and give pretty house wives with there kids rides and then on the way home I stop by the hot car shows and pickup my best of show trophy . The Amphicars don’t have anymore issues than Other cars if maintained . The high prices of these is also plus .

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