AMPHICAR AMPHIBIOUS VEHICLES
The Amphicar is
a very interesting German built amphibious automobile, the first such vehicle mass-produced for sale to the public
started in 1961. The Amphicar was designed by Hanns Trippel and manufactured by the Quandt Group at Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde. Its name is a portmanteau of "amphibious" and "car". The Amphicar was designed to be marketed and sold in the USA. Compared to most boats or cars, its performance was modest, and only 4000 were produced by 1965. Nevertheless, it is still among the most successful amphibious civilian autos of all time, and still often prized and preserved as novelty collectible automobiles today.
powerplant was the 1147 cc (69 in³) engine from the British Triumph
Herald 1200. Many engines were tried in prototypes but the Triumph engine
was "state of the art" in 1961 and had the necessary combination
of performance, weight, cool running and reliability. Updated versions of
this engine remained in production in the Triumph Spitfire until 1980. The
Amphicar engine had a power output of 43 hp (32 kW) at 4750 rpm slightly
more than the Triumph Herald due to a shorter exhaust. Called the
"Model 770", the Amphicar could achieve speeds of 7 knots in the
water and 70 mph (110 km/h) on land. Later versions of the engine
displaced 1296 cc and 1493 cc and produced up to 75 bhp (56 kW). Some
Amphicar owners have fitted these engines to improve performance.
In 1965, two Amphicars successfully navigated the Yukon River in Alaska.
Production started in 1961. From 1963 to 1965 cars were assembled from parts inventory built up in anticipation of sales of 20,000 per year. Production ended in 1965. Cars were titled in the year they actually sold rather than when they were produced, e.g. an Amphicar assembled in 1963 could be titled a 1968 if that was when it was first sold. Most Amphicars were sold in the United States. Cars were sold in the United Kingdom from 1964. Total production was 3,878 vehicles before the company folded. 99 right-hand drives were converted from left-hand drives. Some were used in the Berlin police department and others were fitted for rescue operations.
underpowered by modern standards, a well-maintained Amphicar can be an
agile and pleasant vehicle to drive on both land and water. The fact that
such a high proportion –more than 700 of the almost 4000 produced –have
survived more than forty years is a testament to their high initial
production quality, and to the lengths to which many owners will go in
order to maintain and restore these vehicles.
During the fourth week in July, Amphicar owners convene at Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio. These events, and similar ones nationwide, are called "swim-ins".
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UK VEHICLE INSURANCE ONLINE A - Z
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