Have you seen the sportscar that swims?

Amphicar in pride of place at Lakeland Motor Museum


It may sound like something from science fiction, but one of the Lakeland Motor Museum’s most unusual exhibits is an amphibious car built to ‘swim’ through water.

The Amphicar is one of the most unconventional cars ever produced and was marketed as the “sports car that swims”.

Bill Bewley, Chairman of the Lakeland Motor Museum standing with the Amphicar at the museum.

📷: Bill Bewley, Chairman of the Lakeland Motor Museum standing with the Amphicar at the museum.

A small flotilla made it safely across the English Channel in the 1960s and one was even driven by the former owner of Belle Isle – the largest of Windermere’s 18 islands – making it a regular sight gliding across England’s largest natural lake.

The 1966 Amphicar displayed at the Lakeland Motor Museum had a potential top speed of almost 70mph on land and the four-seater convertible could be converted to a seaworthy boat with the flick of a lever. It could then reach 10 knots on water, aided by twin propellers and using the front wheels as a rudder.

A close-up of the Amphicar on disply

The vehicle was created by the German engineer Hans Trippel, who aimed to bring so-called car-boats to the masses with an amphibious equivalent of Volkwagen Beetle. In the end, there was a lack of demand and fewer than 4,000 were ever made.

Bill Bewley, Chairman of the Lakeland Motor Museum, says, “The Amphicar is the only amphibious mass-produced passenger car ever made and at the time it was revolutionary.

“However, it didn’t sell as well as the German manufacturer originally hoped and today, examples like the one we have at the Museum are highly prized.”

He adds, “There are plenty of anecdotes from local people who used to see one of these unusual vehicles either driving around the Lake District or most memorably, easing through the waters of Windermere.

It is hard to believe that our Amphicar is now 55 years old - it certainly was ahead of its time!”

A montage of Amphicar images from the museum.

The Amphicar is just one exhibit in an ever-changing collection of 30,000 items at one of the North’s leading heritage attractions, all carefully assembled over six decades. Our vehicle is situated on our ground floor exhibition hall.

Watch a 1960s Pepsi commercial below featuring an Amphicar

(thanks to YouTube toubdr583)

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See this car up close at Lakeland Motor Museum.

We have over 100 classic cars in our collection and we're conveniently located in Backbarrow, at the southern tip on Windermere - in the heart of The Lake District.

As well as lots of classic cars on display, we have one of the largest collections of automobilia in the UK tracing the history of motoring. As well as a classic cars, we have classic motorbikes, classic bicycles and tout cars on display all house under one roof. We're open all year (except Christmas Day) and we are a perfect day out for whole family whatever the weather. Children get a free quiz upon entry and the riverside Cafe Ambio offers refreshments throughout the day.

Book your socially-distanced visit today. All customers are kept safely apart as we have staggered entry.


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