- The only commercially successful “car that swims”
- Authentic restoration by marque specialists
- Extensive history file of documentation and manuals
- Always the crowd favorite in any collection or museum
Developed over a period of 15 years at a cost of $25 million, the Amphicar was debuted at the 1961 New York Auto Show as the first fully amphibious vehicle sold to the public. Upon reaching a boat ramp, the doors’ special watertight seals were locked into place, a bilge plug was installed, the front luggage lid was locked, and the car was driven – slowly – into the water. A lever then directed the engine’s power to dual rear propellers, and off the Amphicar went. The “captain” would steer his craft using the front wheels, which served as primitive rudders. Putting the car into reverse in the water would spin the propellers in reverse, serving as a brake, much as on conventional boats. For returning to shore, both the rear-wheel drive and the propeller drive could be operated at the same time.
The car offered here was owned as early as 1972 by Sidney Armistead of Alaska, who retained ownership of it until 2004. It next passed to another Alaskan owner, then, shortly thereafter, to Eugene Francavilla of Jupiter, Florida. In Mr. Francavilla’s ownership, the Amphicar was painstakingly restored in the attractive factory color of Lagoon Blue. The restoration was judged Most Unique at the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance in 2009 and won Best Amphicar at the Classic Boat Show in Mount Dora, Florida. A new top and interior have recently been installed, along with new fuel lines, and the engine compartment has been detailed. Accompanying the Amphicar are receipts relating to the restoration, a CD of photographs, and a large collection of manuals and service information.
One of the nicest Amphicars to recently come to market, this car is perhaps the most fun for the money to be found. It is a surefire crowd-pleaser, on road or lake!