It’s a wonder to me that some enterprising automaker hasn’t created an affordable, amphibious roadster for public consumption. Sure we have a few boutique car companies that sell interesting but hugely expensive amphibians but there’s nothing out the for the common Joe. Back in the 60’s there was though, it’s called the Amphicar and it was developed by some very talented West-German engineers with an eye on the booming American middle class.
The car was powered by a 1,147cc Triumph OHV inline 4-cylinder engine with a power output of just 43hp, this was enough to get it up to a top speed on land of 70mph and a top speed on water of 7knots, not enough for water-skiing but perfect for a river or lake cruiser.
On the road power was transmitted to the rear wheels and in the water, power was sent to the twin, rear mounted propellers. Steering was done by the front wheels both in the water and on land, this made it very easy for people with no boating experience to get behind the wheel and operate the Amphicar with confidence.
Pricing was originally set at $3,395 putting it in about the same bracket as the Austin-Healey 3000, though arguable the cars were aiming at very different markets it does go to show that affordability was maintained remarkably well by the Germans.
All-in, 3,878 Amphicars were built with most of them being shipped to the USA and many of them surviving to the current day thanks to dedicated owners clubs and entire online communities founded to keep the little floating roadsters alive.
This particular Amphicar hit the auction block at the Amelia Island RM Auction on March 10, 2012 and it sold for $63,250.
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.