Dry Docked: 1966 Amphicar

1966 Amphicar

It would seem that the market has just been flooded with Amphicars! We just featured one that was over in Massachusetts and now we have this project hailing from Constantia, New York. This one is thought to be a ’66 too and is also missing its title. I have made it a rule to never buy title-less cars, but obviously a few people know some tricks I don’t. Find the very active auction listing here on eBay. There appears to be a lot of interest considering the lack of title and the fact that this Amphicar has been sitting for 30 years! Then again, how many cars can carry you to the lake and then right into it? I’m sure this one will be purchased by someone who has fond memories of navigating both the roads and the waters. If you do, please share in the comments below!


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  1. MikeW

    Maybe you can adapt a fiberglass hull to put under it. LOL

  2. Dolphin Member

    Sorry to say, but I see these mainly as novelty vehicles that got used in places like the Finger Lakes district of upstate NY like this car, and then forgotten when the novelty wore off and the kinds grew up. Other then that, not really very useful.

    Good that there are lots of clear photos. I think the most important one is the one with the box of ‘Blind Rivets’ sitting on a rusty panel next what looks like a galvanized strip of metal that has been blind-riveted in. Any other problem areas, and what do they look like?

    • DT

      Not really very useful….Unless you want a car you can drive or a boat you can sail or both!!!

  3. Charles

    I walk away from titleless cars also, however if the car comes from a titleless state the situation can be different. New York has probably been a title state since the begining the appearance of motor vehicles. I am not sure, but judging from all of the laws in New York, I feel fairly safe making that assumption. If I am wrong, I am sure that someone will correct me.

    Alabama did not have titles on cars for many years, and consequently when looking at older vehicles coming from that state, there are still quite a few that have never had a title. When the vehicle is sold there is a place on the registration to sign the vehicle over to the next owner. Sales of these vehicles usually are accompanied with a Bill of Sale.

    In Georgia, the state I am most familiar with, any vehicle built before 1985, does not require a title. We owned several pre-85 models when we moved from GA to NC in 2001, however all of mine had titles, and I insisted on keeping them. The GA DMV would fuss at me and try to get me to surrender the titles, however I refused. When we moved to NC, it made the process of transfering the titles easier, because NC is a title state.

    We are having a hassle right now trying to register a 17 foot open car trailer in NC that my father built in GA in 1994. To make things complicated, the trailer has a GA title number listed on the registration, but no one ever remembers seeing a title for this trailer. Dad passed away in 2013, and I bought the trailer from my step mom in 2014. She signed a bill of sale, but NC will not accept it because there is a title number listed on the GA registration. The NC DMV has suggested that we remove the GA serial number plate and have assigned a NC homemade trailer SN to the unit. As soon as I have the new SN engraved on the frame and rear axle, have the trailer certified by the highway patrol, the DMV will issue a NC title and plate for the trailer. I know that this trailer is legit because I seen my father layout the steel structure and weld it together, however the whole process of swapping numbers seems sort of hinky.

    This experience reinforces my being leary of vehicles without titles…

    How do the restorer’s pull cars from junkyards and fields, rework them, and title them? In GA when a vehicle is sold to a wrecking yard the title is surrendered to the DMV. I have been told that once a vehicle has been reclassified as salvage, it can never be placed on the road again. I have bought a couple of parts cars over the years that came with paperwork stating that the vehicle was salvaged and could not be recertified for road use.

    As for the amphicar, from what I have seen the little cars were pretty lousy as cars and lousy as boats, but it is like everything else. What was odd and unpopular back in the day is desired and collectable today. A case in point is the Edsel.

    From the prices these things are bringing, maybe there is some appeal that I am not aware of.

  4. guggie

    1972 is when New York went to the titled vehicles system , before that a registration card was all we had !!

  5. jeff6599

    A titleless vehicle is no more effort to deal with than an engineless one or a doorless one. Just get a bill of sale and make sure all the details of the sale are presented and both parties sign it. If that cannot happen such as a logger owning a 40 acre parcel that has an abandoned vehicle on it and he gives it to you to get it out of his way, any state that uses titles can create a new title and even assign a new VIN (not VIN number as the N in VIN means number). I’m a retired dealer and have bought many titleless cars over the years and titled every one of them. Go online to your state DMV and look up the legislation covering what you want to do. I have found that many DMV employees know some of the laws but few know them all. Be sure of what you want to do, bring in a copy of the law as your proof and do it. Don’t ask questions you don’t already know the answer to so you cannot get NO for an answer. Your State Police/Patrol almost always has an officer assigned to each post that has extra training in these issues. Their concern is to check out the VIN to assure the vehicle was not stolen; they are quite helpful..

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I suppose that some states are easier, but here in Idaho the DMV claims that it is next to impossible unless you can convince the last owner to sign it over to you. That can get complicated if the car has been parked for a few decades. I know that in Wyoming you could do a sheriff’s sale and get a new title without too much hassle.

      • The Walrus

        Just find someone in a state that doesn’t title, have them register it, then sell it back to you. Non title states really don’t care if its been registered recently because they typically require a law enforcement official to physically verify and run the VIN. Once registered, a title state will always accept the non-title state process. Although that may take bringing documentation of their requirements as stated by jeff6599.

  6. moosie Craig

    New York started titles in 1973, previous to that cutoff year all you had was a registration for transferring ownership. As for this Amphicar, coincidentally I just saw a repeat of Wheeler Dealers where the Mike guy traveled to the U.S. and bought one in Florida for $ 28,000.00 it looked nice but was rusty the more they dug into it, it wound up selling for a meager profit.

  7. James Walker

    Here in BC Canada we have what is called the Warehouseman’s lien Act
    This allows anyone who has abandoned vehicles on his property to
    legally receive title to them so that they can sell them to recover storage costs
    I have done this twice and received title both times

  8. Rex Kahrs Member

    I’ll repeat the popular folklore on this car…

    LBJ had one of these cars on his Texas ranch during his Presidency from 63-68. He would host dignitaries and heads-of-state and take them for a drive in the car around the property, without telling them it was a boat car. Without warning ol’ Lyndon would just drive the car into the pond and scare the crap out of his passenger, all the while laughing his butt off.

    Maybe they’d had a Scotch or two, which made it even funnier. Besides Kinky Friedman, LBJ is probably my favorite Texan. If Ray Benson were a Texan it would be him.

  9. Gary E

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people bid on a car the first day. They act like the auction will be over when the music stops and they must be ahead. The only way to win is have the biggest bid at the scheduled end of the auction.

  10. Rex Kahrs Member

    Yes Gary, you are correct that people don’t realize that they are just bidding the price of the car up by bidding so early. And this is why the auction format of ebay is most beneficial to the seller, not the buyer. But, ebay is a great place to buy something that nobody else wants, as the price will remain low usually. It’s a bad place to buy something that everyone wants, for the reason you describe.

    And in general ebay isn’t a good place to buy cars for several reasons, but the two big ones are that you can’t see the car in person, and the pictures always make the car look better than it is.

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