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10 Things You Should Know about the Amphicar


10 Things You Should Know about the Amphicar
Clickbait on PostWarClassic? Well, it's not because we're into old stuff that we don't adopt the new (even if slightly despicable) ways to lure the curious passer-by to our website with a tempting title! Today's subject: the Amphicar 770. Ahoy!

1. Let's start off by saying that of all the amphibious vehicles, the Amphicar is the boat that drives the best, while of all the cars it's the one that sails best. Good luck beating that combination!

2. The man who designed the Amphicar, Hans Trippel, also designed the gullwing doors of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Earlier on, he was also involved in the design of VW’s Schwimmwagen, but that's a tad more obvious.

3. On land, its speedometer goes all the way to 90mph. Let's just say Amphicars are as optimistic as their owners. 0-60mph can be achieved in 43 seconds, but as the optimistic Amphicarist would say: "Does your boat even achieve 60mph on land?"

4. The gearbox, designed by Hermes, is actually based on that of a Porsche 356 with most of the internals interchangeable. Of course, a Porsche 356 doesn't have a pair of reversible propellers at the rear. It’s about time VW upgraded the Schwimmwagen to Porsche level, no?

5. There is no rudder! To steer the car in the water, you simply turn the front wheels as you would on the road. It works pretty well, although making a U-turn on a narrow river can be tricky. Luckily, the paddle was a period option!

6. All joking aside, the Amphicar is perfectly watertight. Before delivery, every car had to pass a waterproof test in a pool. To ensure that the Amphicar keeps floating, you have to close the plug that you can use to drain the chassis, lock the doors and the bonnet, and switch on the bilge pump. If you've got all of that covered, you're good to go. (Life jackets were also a period option).

7. Tired of taking the Eurotunnel or the ferry to go to Beaulieu? Why not take the Amphicar! Amphicars really have crossed the English Channel, traversed the Strait of Gibraltar and made the passage to Southern California’s Catalina Island.

8. Mind you, it might not like the salt water… Also, don't forget that after an Amphicar has been in the water there are 13 grease points needing tender loving care, some of which require removing the rear seats.

9. As soon as you're on the water, the Amphicar is technically no longer a car but a boat, so it needs to follow all rules that apply to boats. Under which flag are you sailing, Captain?

10. Rusty body parts needing replacement will need some perseverance to track down. But mechanically it’s all rather straightforward. Apart from the Porsche transmission bits, the rear-mounted four-cylinder engine is a Triumph Herald-item while Mercedes-Benz supplied the suspension and brakes.

Oh. And finally, we do happen to know of an Amphicar for sale here!

(Words and pictures Vincent Mahy, drawing Eagle magazine)
    

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