The Amphicar was created by Hans Trippel, an engineer from Germany who was tasked by the military to developed amphibious vehicles but Hans always wanted to create a civilian amphibious car. In 1959, Hans introduced his Eurocar during the Geneva Auto show. It was an engineering marvel but still had a lot of flaws. The Eurocar got the attention of the world and Hans received a 5 million budget to improve the design. The next year, he introduced the Amphicar. The perfected Amphicar was the result of countless redesigns.
In 1961, the Quandt Group took the name Amphicar Corporation and started the mass production of the Amphicar in Berlin, Germany. It became the 1st mass-produced civilian amphibious car. The Amphicar was powered by the Triumph Herald 1147 cc engine that is connected to a Hermes 4-speed transmission which propelled the Amphicar at a max land speed of 70 mph. On the water, it is propelled by the twin nylon propellers that is connected to the 2-speed transmission which allows forward and reverse drive. Its max water speed is 7 mph. The 770 model number is the combination of its max speeds. The steel hull made the Amphicar very stable on water and was believed to be unsinkable.
The Amphicar was given the tagline, “The sports car that swims.” The Amphicars were mainly sold in the United States. They were only available in 4 colors: fjord green, sand white, lagoon blue, and regatta red. Depending on the model year, it was sold from $2,800 to $3,300 but the market did not take it well. Originally, 20,000 Amphicars were planned to be produced per year but production ended in 1968 when less than 4,000 were sold. The innovative Amphicar failed to charm the market and the Amphicar Corporation eventually closed down. Hugh Gordon bought all of the leftover original parts who still sells them today. During it production run from 1961 to 1968, it is believed that around 3700 Amphicars were shipped to the United States, but only around 500 are believed to still be functional. Some of the famous Amphicar owners include former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson, and celebrities, Alan Jackson and Madonna.
This Amphicar was originally bought by the Hanks family from Howell Auto Sales located in Louisville, Kentucky on January 9, 1965. It was one of last 1965 models with serial number 100506 and marine number GK207HE. The dealer had 12 cars left and Mr. Hanks loved the fjord green finish matched with the white and yellow interior on this Amphicar. Only 2 things have been changed on this car since it came out of the showroom, the seals and tires. Flat spots started to appear on the original tires and were replaced but Mr. Hanks stored them. In 1999, the transmission was taken out for inspection, the seals were replaced and new rubber engine mounts were installed. The drive train is all original and it working condition. The last time it went on a naval voyage was on June 14, 2012, but its owner says that it is still water worthy. There are no problems driving it on land. This almost 50-year-old Amphicar received some minor paint fixes and the paint is mostly original.
Out of the 3,878 Amphicars built in 1965, this is probably the most original example out there. A low mileage and one owner complete survivor. Over the past few years, the Amphicars as original and as well-preserved as this have been auctioned for record prices.
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