March 9, 2005 A spate of new amphibious vehicles in recent times and the seeming resurgence of interest in the area has seen us receive a wave of correspondence informing us of many amphibious projects around the world. During our research on the marketplace, one of the most fascinating amphibious vehicles to come to light has been the German-produced Amphicar - the only non-military amphibious vehicle ever to go into mass production.
Like the Gibbs Aquada, the Amphicar was a convertible and a serious watergoing vessel and a number of lengthy sea voyages were recorded, most notably Africa to Spain and three crossings of the English Channel, once in a Force 6 gale. Note, the Aquada now holds the record for an English Channel crossing by an amphibious vehicle.
Around 4000 Amphicars were produced in Germany during the 1960s and most of them were exported to the United States, where American President Lyndon Bain Johnson (pictured above) was one of the car’s many celebrity owners, and the vehicle starred in one of the Pepsi “Come Alive” TV commercials. Unfortunately, it was the United State’s EPA regulations which came into effect in 1968 which killed the vehicle
The Amphicar shared its main mechanicals with several other well known vehicles, being powered by a four cylinder 1147cc rear-mounted engine from a Triumph Herald sports car, using Porsche 356 transmission internals and brakes and suspension from Mercedes.
Many thanks to Marc Schlemmer, the President of the International Amphicar Owners Club for assistance with the pictures shown here.