“A vehicle that promised to revolutionize drowning, the Amphicar was the peacetime descendant of the Nazi Schwimmwagen (say it out loud — it's fun!). The standard line is that the Amphicar was both a lousy car and a lousy boat, but it certainly had its merits. Its single greatest demerit — and this is a big one — was that it wasn't particularly watertight. Its floatation was entirely dependent on whether the bilge pump could keep up with the leakage. If not, the Amphicar became the world's most aerodynamic anchor.” — Dan Neil in the TIME Magazine article “The 50 Worst Cars of All Time”
Amphicar owners tend to be more loving when speaking of their curious crossbreed between a car and a boat: “We like to think of it as the fastest car on the water and fastest boat on the road.”
Of all amphibious vehicles, the Amphicar is without a doubt the most famous one, and with almost 4,000 pieces built it's the most successfully produced civilian amphibious car to date.
Almost twenty years after the creation of his first amphibious car, the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, automotive designer Hans Trippel created this civilian variant. (In the meantime, he also designed the gullwing doors of the Mercedes 300SL, but that's a whole other story.) By combining a Triumph Herald 1147cc engine with a modified Porsche 356 gearbox, Trippel managed to make a car that could achieve speeds of 7 knots (12 km/h) in the water and 70 mph (110 km/h) on land — hence the model name "770".
This particular Amphicar is in a surprisingly original condition. Of the four available Amphicar colours, Beach White was the rarest, and they were always delivered with a red waterproof interior, black side bumpers and a black hood, and this is still the case for this example. And contrary to what Dan Neil claims, we have seen with our own eyes that this Amphicar is entirely waterproof! Regularly driven and navigated by its previous owner (with preparation before and cleaning afterwards done by our workshop) it is in fully working condition and ready for many more (nautical) miles!
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' The Elkhart Collection event, 1 - 2 May 2020. Check back soon for complete catalogue description. To view this car and others currently consigned.....