1963 Amphicar 770

Amphicar banner flat

The Amphicar, launched in 1961 at the New York Auto Show and built to ‘swim’ through water, is one of the most unconventional cars ever produced. Manufactured in West Germany, the vehicle was created by Hans Trippel and aimed to bring car-boats to the masses. Most Amphicars were sold in the USA (the first models were sold in UK from 1964-1967) and, for this reason, only 97 out of the 3,878 cars produced were right-hand drive.

Amphicar’s engine was located at the rear and, whilst in the water, it drove a pair of propellers with the gear lever left in neutral. By engaging first gear and putting the propellers in drive when approaching a ramp, the Amphicar could drive itself out of the water. However, after emerging from the water, the vehicle required greasing at 13 different points – one of which involved removing the rear seat. Needless to say, demand for the Amphicar never reached the heights its German designers had hoped for and production ceased.

Despite not being a roaring success, the Amphicar did make some notable achievements in its short life:

  • In 1965 two Amphicars successfully navigated the Yukon River in Alaska and, in the same year, two Amphicars crossed The English Channel.
  • In the mid -1960s, the Amphicar was a regular sighting on Windermere, England’s largest lake, driven by the former owner of Belle Isle, the Lake’s largest island.

The Amphicar displayed here had a potential top speed of almost 70mph on land and the four-seater convertible could become a seaworthy boat with the flick of a lever. It could then reach 10 knots on water. At almost 60 years old, this quirky and revolutionary exhibit is highly prized.

👁️ Where to find this car in the museum

Our Amphicar is located at the back of of ground floor exhibition hall.

Key Facts
Date of manufacture1963
PowertrainTriumph 1147 cc straight-4
ManufacturerQuandt Group
Production1960–1965: Only 3,878 built


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