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Land or Water Use: 1967 Amphicar 770

The Amphicar 770 was either a car that could also serve as a boat or a boat that could also perform as an automobile. With its unique design, it could travel up to seven knots on water and 70 mph on land. Fewer than 4,000 were built between 1963 and 1965, although some weren’t titled in the U.S. until 1967 (when they were finally sold). This ’67 edition is said to be like new, although its surroundings make you wonder how. Located on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, this floatable rarity is available here on craigslist for $65,000 OBO. Our appreciation to Gunter Kramer for another great tip that holds water!

A more accurate label for the Amphicar is as an “amphibious automobile” which was produced in West Germany. Most were built with left-hand-drive as buyers in the U.S. were the primary target market. Besides meeting highway specifications, the Amphicar had to pass Coast Guard requirements with onboard items like navigation lights and a U.S. flag. They were modest in size (14 feet) and weighed just 2,300 lbs. though made of thin metal. The “undercarriage” was slightly pointed for negotiating waterways. Engine size ranged from 1147cc to 1493cc depending on when they were manufactured and were supplied by Triumph.

These funky little vehicles seem to have survived despite their exposure to water. Lore has it that U.S. President Lyndon Johnson had one and would play tricks on his friends by hollering that the brakes were out as he was headed straight for water. The seller gives this edition from 1967 high praise, saying it’s “like new” except for a tear in the top and a missing mirror.  The red paint is said to be original and may be good. The odometer only reads 2,300 miles.

The vehicle is still wearing its 57-year-old tires, so they need to go. The vehicle was used sparingly and was never exposed to salt water per the seller. We’re told it drives and swims great, but when was the last time it performed these functions? From the looks of things, this Amphicar has been held captive in a busy garage. The seller may be flexible on the price (“best reasonable offer”).

Comments

  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    I know I’m not the only one thinking $65k, and 6 crappy pictures, and no engine photo(s)?! I’ve read of these being neither a good car or boat! GLWTS!!

    Like 26
    • Neil R Norris

      Crappy on water, crappy on land. And 65K for privilege of owning it? Please.

      Like 0
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    As one owner quipped – “It’s a horrible car,& a horrible boat –
    it does both things equally bad”.

    Like 16
    • Gregg

      But it does do both things!…. and how many vehicles can make that claim!

      Like 16
    • Tony O

      I’ve seen one of these in action and the water better be like glass and any waves and it will take in water

      Like 0
  3. HoA Howard A Member

    Does the speedometer work on water? If so, then 2300 nautical miles is about 2650 regular miles, and probably justified. I think everyone was sold as a novelty, and fell out of favor pretty quick. In this case, 2300 miles later. Perhaps in a lagoon or pond, but I’ve seen morons out in open water, big waves, no lifejackets, these swamp pretty easy, and you wouldn’t catch me on the water in one. They should have been fiberglass.

    Like 13
    • Orca17

      I remember an episode of Wheeler Dealers in which they restored an Amphicar. Fittingly, the first time that they took it into the water, it stopped running and they had to be towed back to shore. And this was after a full restoration.

      Like 5
      • Jon Calderon

        I saw that episode as well! Edd China was the best. Too bad he walked away from the show, but he had good reasons to. And Mike, being and Englishman, has such an ego he could never use proper english. Instead of saying XXX and I, it would always be me and XXX.

        Like 0
  4. Steve Widlund Member

    Post expired

    Like 2
  5. Yblocker

    I was just a mite when these around, but I remember them, seen a few going down the street, never saw one on the water. They were a novelty concept that flopped. Every one ever made wouldn’t be worth $65,000

    Like 3
  6. Patrick LaBarge

    Made in West Germany. Weird that it would have such a 60’s Soviet look.

    Like 2
  7. Elmo

    I have had the “pleasure” of riding in one of these on the road and, well, talk about your pieces of crap. If you’re into under powered boats & cars with crap suspension and handling, both in and out of water, this checks all your boxes.

    Like 4
  8. CeeOne

    Since these were German I’ve often wondered why they had a Triumph engine?

    My dad had a friend that had one, they took it into a marina at the ocean.

    Here’s a video of one on the West River in Vermont:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K64NxGT0xxA

    Like 4
  9. Sinkers

    Think about it: German Body/hull, English Engine and Lucas wiring, Trans axle made by the same folks that built 911 Tranny’s, Mercedes Bits galore and VW parts. Ask me how I know…

    Like 3
  10. Chas

    We have owned two Amphicars and still own a 1962 model today. I can tell you that most people who criticize these or who say that they are crap have never owned one, and have probably not even ridden in one.
    Sure, they are a compromise vehicle with limitations as a boat and as a car, but they do perform both functions remarkably well, especially for a vehicle produced more than sixty years ago! They perform very well on lakes with the only flaw being that they are painfully slow and designed for leisurely cruising, although we have actually pulled a small, lightweight water skier on ours (jump-starting from a raft as the Amphicar could not pull him up out of the water!). They were never designed for the open ocean or unprotected waters although more than one adventurous soul has crossed the English Channel in one!
    They are also slow on the road (70mph) but are actually quite pleasant to drive. No, they don’t handle like a sports car, but they were not designed for that and they are stable and easy to handle unless you are an absolute hoon in your driving manner.
    They are surprisingly reliable and can provide years of fun and enjoyment if you avoid salt water. There are a few condensation traps that cause rust in the lower fender edges, but this periodic repair is just part of routine maintenance for a steel, amphibious vehicle.
    I have also owned a much later glasfibre (1990) Dutton Mariner which, despite its almost forty year evolutionary design advantage, was an absolutely piece of crap car and nowhere near as nice an execution of the idea, and not nearly as pleasant to operate as the original Amphicar from almost forty years earlier.
    Come on out for a ride in our Amphicar. You will not be disappointed!
    Oh, and nice examples typically sell between $40K and $60K, so the ask is not too ridiculous depending on condition.

    Like 16
  11. Paul J.

    I was just in Disney Springs in Orlando, FL. They have three of these that are used as an attraction. For a fee, a driver will take you out for a quick trip in the DS lagoon.

    Like 6
    • Chas

      That company is buying a lot of these strong the country to expand their fleet of Amphicars. Small investment for a novelty income generator like that.

      Like 0
  12. John R Woolridge Jr

    There was one on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River here in Clearfield for about five years. It has since disappeared.

    Like 1
    • Neil R Norris

      Probably sank … just saying.

      Like 0
  13. robbert

    Nice try…but no cigar!

    Like 1
  14. RoadDog

    I wonder if, when you hit the left or right turn signal, does the port or starboard navigation light flash along with it? 😁

    Like 1
  15. Tony C

    Well, my car has demonstrated survivability in both land and water, though it was meant only for use on the former.

    Snark aside, I have seen several of these over the years, the last being a couple years ago in a museum in Manhattan, Kansas. Whatever their records were, I think they make for very nice automotive novelties when seen. Just one question: 65 kilos of what?

    (Okay, not all snark was set aside.)

    Like 0

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