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The Amphicar - the only non-military amphibious vehicle ever to go into mass production


March 8, 2005

Historical Amphicar image from the International Amphicar Owners Club archive.

Historical Amphicar image from the International Amphicar Owners Club archive.

Image Gallery (15 images)

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.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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