Some Past Club Member's Spotlights

Each Club Newsletter includes a special feature about a Club member.
Here are the past Spotlights since 2003


Click on a member to go directly to their spotlight;

2003 2004 2005
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Gary Schulz of Carey, Il

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Allan & Pam Woodcock of Oak Park, Ca

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Victor Nelson - Deltona, Fl

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Frank & Maddie Carione, Jr. - Mt. Sinai, NY

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Larry & Nancy Solheim - Mt. Vernon, WA

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Jeff Lane of Nashville, Tn

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John Hein of Kent, Wa.

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Paul Gibson of Columbus, Mt

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Fred & Donna Craig of Canton, Oh.

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Ken Campbell of Deer Park, Wa.

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Gloria Tiller of Kalamazoo, Mi.

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David Shappard of Mesquite, Tx.

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  John & Carol Edelstein of San Diego, Ca.

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  John & Toni Friese of Santa Barbara, Ca.

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  Francis “Red” Grandy of Hermon, NY.

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  Mike & Chris Echemann of Downers Grove, Il

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  Brian Crombie of Faribault, Mn.

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  Ron Green of Pa.


Copyright ©2002-2007® International Amphicar Owners Club.
All rights reserved.
Last updated May 07, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Bevins - On the Road (and Water)!  

What most of you may already know is that I use a wheelchair, but you may not know why. In 1982, I was riding on an inner tube being towed behind a Jeep in a snowy field in Montana. Long story; short is as I was swung around in a turn, the rope stretched and I hit the front end of my  '69 Bonneville ragtop with my back at an estimated 70+ MPH. Maybe someday I'll figure out just who parked my car there! (DOH!) This fractured my spine, dislocating the vertebrae over 7". They said it was almost a compound fracture and were surprised I had survived. This resulted in my paralysis from the waist down. Ever since then, I have proven what I already knew that nothing is impossible; just varying levels of difficulty. I �m not always successful in the most graceful of ways, or the quickest, but usually successful none the less. In 1992 I built and patented some hand controls for my Harley, but only after I already bought the bike and the sidecar without any idea of just how I was to ride it. Many said it couldn't be done. Pffft! That was all I needed to hear! I have forgotten just how many times have I been told that very thing and usually only after I had already done what couldn't be done!. Again but that is another story altogether. In early 2000, I purchased a decent original early model Ivory Amphicar sight unseen and showing just 2668 miles on the clock. She was my third Amphi and the first one that actually ran! I spent the next 2½ years restoring what would come to be known as "The Amphicar Extraordinaire" working non-stop, many a night in the garage until well after sunrise. Sometimes after work, on the way through the garage, I would stop to look at something or do a quick adjustment. The next thing I know it's 10 pm, I haven't been in the house, and I have ruined yet another good shirt! What would my mother say? ; ) In total, probably about 1500 or more hours, removing, sanding, stripping, straightening, repairing, replacing, bleeding and the obligatory occasional cursing. I can honestly say that 98% of it was done with my own two  hands with the exception of setting the drive train into the hull and the bodywork. Only one small detail was yet to be addressed� just how was I going to drive it? As you may have guessed, I am not very good with a foot clutch! After the Amphicar Extraordinaire was finally sea worthy in July 2002, I was still relegated to the passenger seat. I asked my Brother-in-law, Ted, if he would like the honor of being the first to drive her into the lake. My nephew, Daryl, was kind enough to drive her during our 2002 Celina Swim In. In fact, no less than 25 people drove her before I did! I called over a dozen companies worldwide who manufactured hand controls for cars, boats, tractors, trucks and airplanes. With only one exception, they all said, "It can't be done" Humm, that sounded very familiar. One company in Italy could do it, but I had to ship the car there and a check for $2500! They would do extensive modifications and this was unacceptable. I didn't think the Amphi or I was up to the task, so I moved to Plan "B". The throttle and brakes were easy by re-working parts from several existing sets of hand controls to fit snugly beneath the dash. The problem was in operating the clutch by hand or foot without modifying the original Amphicar controls. Like the Harley, I wanted to leave all stock controls intact and functional without permanent modifications. I didn't even want to drill a single hole, but in the end, one hole had to be added. One night I had the idea to add a hydraulic clutch and operate it by a hand clutch lever system. The clutch motion would be natural as it was the identical to my Harley. The throttle and brake operation were identical to my truck. I just needed to meld them together into one unit. After some investigations and careful measuring, I decided to use a master cylinder and slave from an International truck. Then I added a clutch handle and cable from a Harley (What else would you expect?). To lessen the forces required to pull the clutch handle by hand, I mated a vacuum power brake booster from a Geo to the master cylinder with a gasket from the bathroom sink to seal between them. There is not enough vacuum available from the 1147cc engine, so a 12 volt auxiliary vacuum pump was required. My intent was that the clutch lever would pull on a linkage I designed that pushed on the power booster. The booster operates the hydraulic master cylinder that in turn moves the slave cylinder engaging the clutch cable from the rear (at the trans). This would allow the independent operation, look and feel of the clutch by either foot or hand, with no modifications to the original controls. For ease of accessibility (and stealth), the master cylinder was hidden beneath the bilge blower under the left gray trunk board. The slave cylinder was mounted to the bell housing directly behind and in line with the end of the clutch cable. Finally, the 12 volt vacuum pump was mounted under the back seat in a box to protect it from the bilge water. For a clean look, the only parts exposed are the controls mounted beneath the dashboard. These will be powder coated black to better fit with the cars looks. All in all, it is a simple system that with a few tweaks, now works very well, and in time I hope it proves to be as reliable as my Harley controls have for the last 13 years. I would describe it as a power assisted hydraulic hand clutch system. Finally, I am able to drive The Amphicar Extraordinaire myself! At the time of this writing, I have put well over 500 miles on her in the last 2 months. At the very moment when I found myself alone and in the middle of a local lake in the Amphicar Extraordinaire, only then had I realized that the entire project had progressed from an ongoing restoration, to maintenance and mayhem! If you take nothing else from this, please take to heart my favorite 2 words ... CARPE DIUM! (Seize the day!)

Cap'n John Bevins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jan / Feb 2003 Member Spotlight:

Gary Schulz
Cary, Illinois

Gary Schulz of Cary, Illinois says he remembers Amphicars from way back in the 1960's when he was a little kid. There was an amusement park northwest of Chicago called Santa's Village. Among the usual roller coasters and children’s rides, Gary remembers there were funny looking cars going in and out of a small lake with boat ramps on each side. These little treasures were giving children and parents rides. On the scene was one of each of the four colors. Gary remembers the Amphicar having a large rear seat at that time, so he must have been small!

Gary was intrigued by these cars, but went on about his childhood not giving them much thought. Later on, during his college days, he saw a photo of an Amphicar and it rekindled his interest. He couldn't remember what they were called, but he started his search immediately. Looking in Hemmings Motor News, Gary found an add for Gordon Imports, which then led him to the car he now owns.

This Gordon’s Classified ad took him to a man in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who actually had three Amphicars for sale. He chose the car with the least amount of work needed considering the purchase price. The car came home with Gary in 1986, and the restoration began. Needing the usual bodywork in the rear quarters and bottom door skins, a body shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin got the body into shape over the course of the next two years or so. Gary did all the engine and mechanical work himself, finding it all in good shape because the car had only 2700 miles on it. Gary says the cost of restoration was definitely more than he expected, but well worth it in the end.

About one year after buying his first Amphicar, Gary found a 1962 Amphicar in Hemmings Motor News. This car was in Lexington, Kentucky. He bought the car for parts, as this Amphicar had been sunk at one time. The main component, being the transmission, was useless because it was filled with water. Gary still has the rear deck and trunk lids. Like most of us, Gary says he does not have the time to use and enjoy his Amphicar as much as he would like. He does, however, certainly enjoy the Celina Swim-In and cruising in the Fox River which is two miles from his home. Gary enjoys taking his kids for rides and letting his five year old daughter drive the Amphicar in the water. He would like to participate in a Wisconsin Regional Swim-In or other events close to his home. Gary lives with his wife Lisa and 2 daughters - Morgan and Paige. He is an Electrical Engineer, and enjoys car restorations in his spare time, mainly British cars. Gary has two other cars from the “Amphi-era”, both Mini Coopers (a 1964 and 1965). He also has a 1995 Lotus 7.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November/December 2004 Member Spotlight:

Fred and Donna Craig
Canton, Ohio
1967 Red

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It was in the winter of 1970 that Fred Craig first spotted his bright red Amphicar, forlorn and covered with snow, on a used car lot in downtown Canton, Ohio. It of course wasn't his at the time, but he sure was interested. No matter where the family was going, Maloney Motors was somehow on the way.  By early summer, Fred's wife, Donna, purchased the 1967 Amphicar with 2,000 miles on it for $1,200. She had it delivered the Saturday before Father's Day, and as you would guess, Fred was ecstatic! Amphi was used as a family car for several years. Donna drove it back and forth to work, and the boys used it as a car to go to school and on dates. Donna had initially accused Fred of wanting the car as a chick magnet, but it was soon apparent that it attracted many more men. An Amphicar seems to be an antidote for male shyness as innumerable strangers have boldly approached to ask the standard set of Amphicar questions.

The Craig's Amphicar has been in the water every year since 1970. They are lucky enough to have a half a dozen lakes and reservoirs within a forty-five minute drive, and they are only a little over an hour from Lake Erie. The Amphicar loves the variety. It has served as a swimming platform, fishing boat, lake cruiser, and even pulled the family's inflatable giraffe, Marie. Over the years the car has been a recreational vehicle rather than a show car, and now has 38,000 miles. It has been remarkably trouble free, and has worked great with nothing other than normal repairs-with one exception. Like other club members, the Craig's have given rides in their Amphicar for charity fundraisers. During one of these fundraisers, there was some trouble due to a hole which had rusted through underneath the door. After barely reaching shore, the two guys riding in the car offered to weld in new metal and repaint the patch. The only compensation they would take...another ride after it was fixed!

The car has been a big hit with the children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends. The entire Craig Clan of twelve (this past year thirteen) has gone every year to the International Amphicar Owners Club Convention in Celina. The car has been, and will continue to be, part of the family's tradition. There is no doubt that the tradition will continue for years to come! Fred and Donna have three children, and have just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past July. Fred spent most of his career working in Production Management at the Hoover vacuum factory.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September/October 2004 Member Spotlight:

Ken Campbell
Deer Park, Washington
1964 Blue

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Ken Campbell sent a short note after receiving his Celina 2003 video last Winter. "I really enjoy it, - especially since I've never seen an Amphicar go in and out of the water!" Ken goes on to explain that although he has owned his Amphicar since 1971, he has never seen one in action because he's always behind the wheel. Ken and his wife of 53 years, Eleanor, enjoy using Amphi in nearby lakes like Loon Lake and Hayden Lake in Idaho. In fact, Hayden Lake is where Ken and his Amphicar have received quite a work out the last few years.

You see, Ken was asked to help at a camp for 5th and 6th grade kids where he would serve as counselor/chaplain/storyteller. Since the camp was held at Hayden Lake, it was natural to bring Amphi. As you can imagine, Ken and his Amphicar were quite a hit giving rides to 100's of kids throughout the week. Each year since, Amphi has been invited back to the camp, and Ken, too!

Raised west of Tonasket, Washington, in what Ken describes as "remote cattle country", Ken moved to Spokane as an adult to work as an auto mechanic. Then, in 1967 he obtained his car dealer license and began to buy and sell cars, fixing them up as needed with his skills. He dealt in all types of cars, and even was a German NSU dealer. Ken still has 30-40 collector cars in all states of repair, but has no hesitation whatsoever in stating that the Amphicar is his favorite! Some of the other cars he owns include a King Midget, Henry J, Model T, Packards, Cadillacs, several NSU s, as well as a "flock" of French Simcas. Ken took his Amphi in trade over thirty years ago with 8000 miles on her. Today, Amphi shows about 12K. It's basically original, with Ken performing the general upkeep as needed. Misc. bearings and such, as well as repairing some of the typical rust in the rear quarters. Some clever additions, however, have been added, like his "flapper cover" on the bilge pump outlet. The flapper is wired to a light on the dash-when water is flowing, the flap is opened, the circuit broken and the light goes out. In addition to the car dealership, Ken has been an active Lay Minister, and has his own Christian radio program. From 1976 - 1997, Ken's show was a call-in format covering a wide variety of topics, and could be heard five days a week. Since '97, Ken has pulled back a bit and the show is now on weekly. You can imagine, with such a long history on the air, Ken is quite a well known radio personality in his area! Recently, Ken has published a book: "Stories I Lived" is a collection of short stories written from the viewpoint of Ken's early days. Although this is his first book, Ken has also been published in various religious magazines. Ken also enjoys running in the Spring Bloomsday Race in Spokane. 45K-50K people run in this annual event, and recently Ken had a top 20 finish in his age group! Not bad for a 7½ mile run. Ken and Eleanor really enjoy sharing their Amphicar. A trip to the lake always results in rides for children that are amazed with Amphi's abilities. One such trip included giving rides to 11 children, 7 of which were from one young couple. A set of quadruplets, a set of twins, then a single! Ken says, "Yes, indeed-Amphicars are responsible for causing their owners to meet a lot of nice people! Our Amphicar has brought us-and many others-much happiness!"


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July/August 2004 Member Spotlight:

Gloria Tiller
Kalamazoo, Michigan
1966 Green "I FLOAT"

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You may have met Gloria Tiller at one of the many Swim-Ins she's attended in the last couple of years, but there may be more to her than you realized! Gloria came to Kalamazoo from Grand Rapids to attend Western Michigan University where she earned an English degree and obtained her pilots license. Gloria comments, "I guess my greatest thrill was being part of the Sky Broncos and winning the National College Award for Top Woman Pilot." Gloria went on to spend 18 years in real estate before opening her own bookstore in 1988. The same year, Gloria bought Amphi. The bookstore was supposed to be a retirement project, and being married to a car dealer, they thought they needed a fun car to cruise around in.

An Amphicar was spotted in a Hemmings auction catalog, so they made the trip to Traverse City, Michigan to check it out. Gloria wasn't too impressed, but they came to buy! "There was only one other bidder against us, and he finally let the little car go to us. Then he came over to introduce himself. That is how I met Hugh Gordon", says Gloria. They played with the car for several years and continued to do periodic updates to keep her floating. Back then, they had the only Amphicar in the area and couldn't go anywhere without crowds. A favorite area was the channel and marina at South Haven, Michigan. Gloria was widowed in 1995 and decided the car was too "flashy" to be using by herself. She asked the Gilmore Classic Car Museum if they wanted Amphi for a display car. They built an entire exhibit around "orphans" and put Amphi in the middle. A DeLorean on one side, and a Tucker on the other.

Looking for something to drive on "fun days", Gloria bought a red, convertible Corvette. Stopping at a gas station didn't bring the crowds like Amphi did, but that didn't matter. What it did do, however, was bring her to the Corvette Club where she met husband Jim. Gloria says, "I told him about Amphi, like you would tell a new boyfriend, 'Oh, by the way, I have a 6 year old'". He wasn't too sure about a floating car. They did take the car out of the museum a few times in the next couple of years, but played with the Corvettes most of the time. They were really into concourse car shows and pylon racing. After a few years of cleaning her Corvette with a toothbrush, Gloria was ready for something else. As luck would have it, that's when the museum called saying that Amphi needed to be picked up. They bought a Duesenberg and needed the space. The Nerve!  Jim followed Gloria and Amphi home from the museum, driving his dark red modified Corvette, and not a soul saw him. He learned just how much attention an Amphicar gets. Gloria and Jim became active in the IAOC, and also realized how hard it is on an Amphicar to sit in a museum. New brakes, hoses, seals, etc. All the things that don't like the life of inactivity. Their local mechanics weren't very helpful, so Gloria had to learn some Amphi mechanics. "I learned just enough to let them know, that I knew, that they didn't know.", says Gloria. The Tiller's run Kazoo Books bookstore, which has expanded to 2 locations, and was just named Small Business of the Year in Michigan from SBTDC. Their employees know that Amphicar Swim-Ins are off limits for days off! Gloria says, "Celina is the highlight of our summer. I have to say that some our best friends seem to own Amphicars. Molly (she got her name last year), has been our passport into some of the best times I can remember."


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May/June 2004 Member Spotlight:

David Shappard
Mesquite, Texas
1964 Green "WET WON"

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Most Amphicar owners know what they paid for their Amphicar, and depending on the condition, the amount varies over a wide range. Others can even recite how much money has been spent on their Amphi restoring or "fixing it up". But David Shappard of Mesquite, Texas may well be the only person with an Amphicar that was paid $35 to take the Amphicar. Yup, that's right. David operated a towing service, and the owner of this neglected Amphi called and asked him to haul it away. David's reply? ..."My fee is $35"...and the Amphicar was his. David was well aware of this abandoned Amphicar, and had seen it unmoved for years. It seems that the previous owner purchased the car in 1970 and used it quite a bit, but as so often happens, for whatever reason, parked it where it remained for twenty years.

He remembered and liked Amphicars as a child, but David had no real interest in owning one until May of 2002, when he "purchased" this one. A complete restoration was started and lots of parts ordered. David, who has his own Auto Repair Shop, performed all the mechanical work while a friend did the metal work on the body. In all, the restoration was quite a task and detailed photos were taken along the way to document the entire process. By October of 2003, another Amphicar was brought back to life. Just two days later the unit enjoyed it's first swim in over 20 years..and so did David! In fact, this first swim was during the Texas Fall Swim-In held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

With the amount of work required to restore this Amphicar, the time to accomplish the task wasn't as long as some might expect. In fact, before beginning the restoration, David placed a bet with a friend that the Amphicar would "float in 2 years". The friend didn't think David could get the vehicle done in that amount of time, but David knew he could. He did; floating Amphi in well under the 2 year limit. Winning the bet gave David's Amphicar the name "WET WON". Amphi got wet, and David won! Since getting his Amphicar back on the road (and water!) David has clocked about 300 miles on land and 12 hours or so on the water. He lives just 4 to 5 miles from a lake where he and his girlfriend Terri can enjoy a swim most any time.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March/April 2003 Member Spotlight:

Allan & Pam Woodcock
Oak Park, California

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Allan and Pam started their Amphicar adventure in January of 2001 when they found their 1966 in a yard in Reseda, California. Stored under a couple of tarps, the 1974 license plates told the story of how long it had been there! A total restoration was started, beginning with removing all the paint and having a very experienced body man take to the project. He and Allan chose to use silicon bronze to weld so as not to distort the metal, and the few places that needed a little filler was taken care of using metal fill. Six coats of urethane were applied over etching primer and regular primer giving a great paint job. In fact, the paint looked so good that Allan chose to leave the dashboard and inside door tops, which were originally black wrinkle, the red painted finish! Finishing off the body work was a coat of Gluvit over the inside of the hull.

Meanwhile, some other restoration work was going on. The engine work included ported and polished head and heat treated valve seats. All the metal trim was polished and re-anodized, and a very quiet transmission was supplied by Theo Sahli. When asked about other aspects of the restoration, Allan comments on the countless hours of advice, parts, and support from the folks at Gordon Imports as well as several of the members of this very club. In all, this restoration only took a little over a year!


By April, 2002 the Amphicar project was complete. Allan really pushed this project along. Actually, the project took three months longer than expected having the body and paint work done, but Allan and Pam are certainly pleased with the results. In fact, all the work paid off when a nice award was won at the Milestone Car Society Show held in June of last year. The theme, "Orphan Cars of the 20th Century", was perfect for the first car show for Amphi and the Woodcock's!

Both enjoy the Amphicar as much as possible. One of their favorite swimming holes is Lake Casitas which is 40 miles from their home. They usually take the car there for the day and invite some friends for Amphicar swimming and a BBQ. Allan says, "The most fun we had was when Dave Derer and Billy Syx were with us at the same time. John Friese had his car that day, so we had many a laugh both on and off the water." Allan is a plumbing contractor, and his wife Pam is a Real Estate Agent. Pam is also enjoying some recent success as an artist, painting beautiful landscapes and seascapes which are selling quite well. Allan says, "These cars are made for just one thing, having fun, so I suppose it's all downhill from here, but we are going to have fun along the way."


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May/June 2003 Member Spotlight:

Victor Nelson - Deltona, Florida
1967 Green "Split Personality"

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Victor at the helm

The Brigantine "Yankee"Victor on the Yankee

From the time 12 year old Victor Nelson first took the reins of a friends Whizzer motor bike, he had a love of powered vehicles that he could not shake. At 14, he jumped at any chance to drive his parents new 1948 Ford "Woodie". Now, a retired Dentist in Florida, Victor and his wife Carol enjoy several classic cars..and their beloved Amphicar! The Amphicar certainly fits with Victor's automobile interest, but as he puts it, "to own a motor boat is slightly treasonous to my history." You see, at age 22 Victor began a 2½ year sojourn as the cook on the Brigantine YANKEE, a 100 ft. square rigger where he fed 23 people 3 meals a day. He prides himself as the only cook the Yankee ever had who made Danish pastries. The Yankee made 7 circumnavigations, of which Victor was on the last. Victor remarks, "You can find my picture in the December 1959 National Geographic, which is my claim to fame."

Victor's '48 Woodie...Exactly the same as his parents' one

After his sailing adventure, Victor went to school to become a dentist, and in the 1960's spent 3 years as a Dentist in the Air Force stationed in Germany. Naturally, his interest in automobiles took him to several car shows where he was first introduced to Amphicars. His sailing background kept him from really ever considering owning a vessel without a sail. In 1992, Victor's great friend Ronald Zack brought his Amphicar to Victor 's house where Vic got several great photos of the unit. Several years earlier, Ronald had brought the Amphicar to Florida from New Hampshire and was proud to show it off to Victor, who again, had no real interest in owning an Amphicar.

A few years later, Ronald, along with his Amphicar, moved 1100 miles north to Pennsylvania. He and Victor kept in touch, and in 1997, illness forced Ronald to sadly part the Amphicar. Victor, becoming more intrigued, bought the Amphicar. Six months later, having never even tested the car in water, Victor and Carol hadn't yet really "taken" to the Amphicar. They did, however, happen to stop in at the Mt. Dora Antique Wooden Boat Show with their 1948 Woodie. As luck would have it, three Amphicars were there in what turned out to be the first annual Mt. Dora Swim In! Victor got his first ride in an Amphicar from fellow dentist Dave Monier. That was all it took. By the following year, Vic got the nerve to take his 1967 into the water. From then on, there has been no stopping Victor and Carol. They swim most any chance they get. Now retired, they make good use of the lakes all around their home near Daytona Beach. They enjoy the Mount Dora Swim each year and have attended several other Regional events, including making a few trips to the National in Celina, Ohio!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


July/August 2003 Member Spotlight:

Frank & Maddie Carione, Jr. - Mt. Sinai, New York
1967 Regatta Red "I SWIM 2"

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Frank Carione, Jr. is a life long resident of Long Island, New York where he still lives with his wife Madeline.  Although Frank has only owned his Amphicar since the late 1980's, he holds quite a distinction within the International Amphicar Owners Club. This distinction started back in 1994 when Frank attended the Club's first annual Swim In and  Convention held in Northville, New York. Not only was this outing the first event for the Club and Frank, but it marked Frank's first trip ever into the water!

It was a few years earlier when Frank came across an Amphicar for sale, but was quite hesitant to purchase it. Having never heard of Gordon Imports, he was scared that parts would be unavailable. After seeing an advertisement, and a long phone conversation with Hugh, he realized that his worries were not valid and he made the purchase.

The car was still in possession of the original owner in New York.  It seems that the gentleman had a business selling Mopeds and other motor-bikes, and after selling a certain number of Mopeds, he would receive a free Amphicar as a reward.  This particular Amphicar was the third the businessman received!  The condition wasn't bad.  It had a minimal amount of rust here and there, but nothing major.  The car was quite solid and complete, although hadn't been used for years.

Frank started working on the car in his spare time, beginning with the rust repair. As it turns out, Frank's family owned a Waste Removal business. Being quite a large business, they had their own welding and maintenance shop to repair waste containers, dumpsters and trucks.  The crew in the shop had quite a bit of welding experience on these large containers and didn't shy away from this project, even forming the proper lip at the bottom of the rear quarter panels.

The Amphicar was then professionally painted, and a few miscellaneous items replaced like the carburetor and rubber seals. No work was ever done to the engine itself, in fact, it hasn't ever been out of the car.  Frank planned to paint the engine compartment some day, but since no work has been needed on the engine, the area is still as is.  The rest of the car is pretty much original.  Even the original interior is still in place..well, almost. Frank wanted a "spring type" rear seat base rather than the cushion type that his Amphicar had.  He fitted a new seat base for that reason.

After Frank's first Swim back in 1994, he has used his Amphicar essentially once a year since..at the National Convention and Swim-In of this Club. Which leads us back to that distinction mentioned earlier.  Frank and Maddie are the only people who have attended each and every of the ten National Meets, bringing Amphi to each!  That is quite an accomplishment and a commitment by both of them.  The long trip to Celina, Ohio is a welcome chance to get their Amphicar back into the water, and 2003 will mark the tenth annual event, and they plan to attend.

The business that his family built was quite obviously a big part of Frank's life, and he is proud that it was one of the leading Waste Removal businesses in the area.  The business was sold about five years ago, and Frank stayed on to continue in the management.  Just last year, Frank left the business and now works contracting and selling Log Cabins in upstate New York.

Frank and Maddie have a lake home about 5 hours away on Schroon Lake.  The Amphicar has only been there once, but they are looking forward to more adventures there in the future.  Getting into the Log Cabin business should be just the answer to letting that happen!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September/October 2003 Member Spotlight:

Larry & Nancy Solheim
Mt. Vernon, Washington
1966 White "AMPHI"

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Larry & Nancy Solheim's interest in Amphicars goes back many years, but their interest became "functional" in 1992 after watching two cars in the Port Townsend, Washington Rhododendron Festival Parade. After a considerable search, an affordable project car (blue '64) was located in Kentucky and shipped to Port Townsend. The price was right, but the car was a much larger project than anticipated! Later christened "MetalBeast", many square yards of extremely porous, rusted panels were removed as the hulk was dipped and an extreme restoration began.  

Larry & Nancy Solheim

Detailed view of the special tow-bar bumper, outer view   Detailed view of the special tow-bar bumper, inner view

Meanwhile, while ordering Triumph engine parts at the local NAPA, Larry was told of a widow in Seattle who had a "nearly perfect" Amphicar in her garage. Following a (softening up?) dinner out with Nancy, they made the 2-1/2 hour trip to a town where a nice (not nearly perfect, but again, low priced) Amphicar (white '66) was found. Amazingly the widow had remarried to a former neighbor who had worked with Larry's father for 35 years at the phone company. What a small world. Soon a 2nd Amphicar joined the Solheim fleet. With the newly rebuilt engine from MetalBeast, "Amphi" was ready to roll/swim in early 1993 while MetalBeast became relegated to parts-car status.

Work on MetalBeast languished as Amphi was busy swimming most weekends for the next several years, until in 2000 the idea of early retirement became an active cause. The conditions were right for the sale of Larry's machine shop, so the shop sold, followed by their Port Townsend home. One of the last projects in the Port Townsend shop was the completion of MetalBeast's restoration. She sold quickly and allowed the purchase of a 29' 1993 SeaBreeze motorhome for the express purpose of towing Amphi. Nancy & Larry moved to their lake cabin near Mt Vernon, Washington to use as a "home base" when not traveling an expected 40 -50% of the time. After extensive research and questioning of other owners, it was decided to tow Amphi "4-down" without a trailer. No need to worry about what to do with a trailer or dolly. Reinforcement structure was added to the bumper mounting brackets inside the trunk, and a "tool-lessly removable" hitch bracket was designed and fitted. Several local "test trips" were undertaken before a 10,000 mile round trip to Celina 2002 (via Crater Lake, Cheyenne, Yellowstone, Minneapolis, Detroit, Bass Island, etc) was made, mostly along the "blue roads" - US Highways vs. Interstate freeways. Many motorhomes are looked upon unhappily by other drivers, but Amphi as a "toad" (towed) always seems to get a smile. Larry reports that when he signals a lane change, people actually make room and let him in! Every fuel stop and campground is a mini car show: 10 minutes to pump gas and 20 minutes to talk to people. "We have met many wonderful people and seen incredibly beautiful and varied country", says Nancy. A longer 11,000 mile winter trek was just completed April 4th of this year, to/from southwest Florida. "This 5-month journey was made even better by the opportunity to visit with several exceptionally kind and friendly Amphicar owners along the travel route", adds Larry. Amphi and the Solheim's plan to hang around Lake McMurray, Washington for the summer and make a run into Canada to see and swim scenic Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise in the fall, before heading south again in January. Amphi says, "See you on the road and in Mt Dora 2004!"

Larry and Nancy underway


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November/December 2003 Member Spotlight:

Jeff Lane
Nashville, Tennessee
1964 Red...and many many more great vehicles!

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To say that Jeff Lane has a hobby of collecting cars is simply an understatement. Jeff has been collecting cars, very unique cars that is, since an early age. He is the owner of Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, which officially opened to the public October 9, 2003 with the Grand Opening held October 18, 2003. The center attraction on display in the museum is of course none other than his 1964 red Amphicar. Jeff has owned his Amphicar for six years and although he uses it regularly, he says he has never had to do any major mechanical repairs, just minor maintenance.

In the museum, Jeff's choices of vehicles are mostly European, although included are units representing Asia, Europe, and North and South America. His impressive collection of vehicles is certainly anything but ordinary. Jeff says he likes unique vehicles that make people smile. Around 1995, Jeff took his collecting to a higher level which resulted in outgrowing five buildings which stored all of the vehicles. In 2002, the decision was eventually made to open a museum. The museum is located in the former Sunbeam Bread bakery in Nashville. At 132,000 square feet, Jeff has plenty of room to display over 100 of his rare vintage vehicles!

Jeff & Susan

Jeff's '64 Amphicar in front of his Museum

Fun in an Alvis Stalwart

Jeff also has a 1960 Alvis Stalwart, a British made amphibious military vehicle, which he enjoys taking out along with his Amphicar on J. Percy Priest Lake in Nashville with his wife Susan and daughter Alison. With its large size, the Lanes can take several friends for a day of entertaining and fun on the water in first class amphibious style. 

Another Amphicar adventure Jeff enjoys is the annual boat parade on the Cumberland River each Fourth of July. The parade ends at Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville where a spectacular fireworks display is held. He says, "Once the show is over, it's a little tricky maneuvering around all of the boats, but the advantage with the Amphicar is not having to wait in the traffic jam of boats at the launch ramp." He just drives around them and goes straight up the ramp and out of the river! For more information on Jeff's extensive car collection, visit the museum's website at: www.lanemotormuseum.org...Or better yet, stop by when you're in the area! The museum is at 702 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville, and can be reached at 615-742-7445.

The Lane Motor Museum


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January/February 2004 Member Spotlight:

John Hein
Kent, Washington
1966 Green "AMPHICR"

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John Hein is an Ohio native who moved to the west coast with his family in 1956. He graduated from High School in 1962 and went to work at Boeing building jet airliners. Having seen new Amphicars for sale at the local dealership, John thought they were a little too expensive at the time. However, a used Amphicar was purchased in 1968, but it had been swamped by the previous owner and John was unable to restore it. The following year, after an unforgettable ride (on land) in Molt Taylor's flying automobile, the Aerocar, the Amphicar was sold to Mr. Taylor. Molt wanted to be able to say that he was the only person to have a car that could swim and one that could fly! 

By 1974, John still hadn't shaken his interest in the Amphicar. Spotting one in a front yard prompted him to stop by. It seems the owner had lost interest in the car so John bought it for $250. After a couple of hours of tuning and cleaning, he drove the car 40 miles home. His family loved the Amphicar and the freedom to go boating, exploring and swimming in the dozens of fresh water lakes in the Seattle area. Three years later this Amphicar was sold and soon, John missed the fun and uniqueness of the Amphicar. 1979 saw a move to Alaska for John where he worked as a bush pilot, logging more than 10,000 hours of flight time in 8½ years. A lot of those hours were in poor weather and many were on medevac flights often after dark. After so many night medevac flights he concluded that Alaskan babies are only born at night while it is snowing! He hopes to write a book one day about those flights entitled "Little Wings." 

John is Commercial and Instrument rated in airplanes and helicopters and loves to fly, but says the Amphicar is the most fun for the dollar. In 1987, John returned to the Seattle area and today works in Boeing's Interior Responsibility Center. He proudly says, "We make the most beautiful interiors for the world's finest airplanes." 

The Amphicar bug bit him hard as he saw them on the road and lakes near his home. His curiosity brought him to the Internet where he found the IAOC. His son, John Jr., gave him a miniature Amphicar for Christmas in 2001 and the search was on! After a lot of calls, visits, and patience, John found a well cared for car at Lake Stevens, 50 miles from his home. He had seen the car 10 years before, but the owner did not want to sell. A call from a local Amphicar owner alerted him to the availability of the car in May of 2003. Contact was immediately made and the car bought. John is doing a progressive restoration, replacing the windshield, top and other visible parts of the car, all the while enjoying its use. He likes to take along his mother, Lorna. She does not like boats, but loves to go in the Amphicar. He says, "the car never leaves the driveway without her, she just loves to go in the Amphicar." During good weather, they went out on the lake almost every day. "It is just as much fun to drive to the store or drive in with the Amphicar.", John adds. John a.k.a. "Cap'n Jack" and Lorna attended the 2003 Celina Swim-In without Amphi. They hope to make it out for the 2004 Swim-In with their Amphicar. John plans to keep his latest Amphicar. He says, "When I retire I want to have the Amphicar to take with me on my tour of North America. There's nothing quite like the Amphicar." 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March/April 2004 Member Spotlight:

Paul Gibson
Columbus, Montana
1962 Blue "BOATCAR"

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An Amphicar in Montana? Of course! In fact, this Amphicar has been in the same family since the 60's. Paul Gibson first remembers his 1967 Amphicar when he was growing up. The father of his High School sweetheart, Vickie, owned it. Paul spent a lot of time drooling over the vehicle, but Leroy Vaughn would one day become Paul's father in law. Years later, after Leroy's death, Paul and Vickie would inherit the Amphicar. Leroy Vaughn was quite an Amphi owner. Some might think that he abused the Amphicar, but the truth is he simply enjoyed having fun with it. Actually, "them" - he owned three. One was sold, the second wrecked by some joyriding kids working at a repair shop Leroy took it to, and the third is the one that Paul received in 1987. The wrecked Amphicar, although beyond repair, came along as a parts car. A five year restoration was begun to get the car back in tip-top shape.

Paul did most of the work himself, although he did obtain a professional paint job. The car is mostly restored to original spec's, but the original color yellow interior was replaced. Dual bilge pumps were also added. Another accessory is attached to the dash - an old wire can holder with an unopened can of Coors beer. Paul gave up drinking several years ago, but puts the can in its place whenever they take the car out in memory of Leroy. Since restoration, Paul has really enjoyed using the car both in and out of the water.

Taking Amphi to the lake for a swim usually includes several trips in and out of the water and driving through the roads of a lakeside campground, catching the eye of curious campers, then back to the ramp with a big splash!

Paul has also enjoyed having his Amphicar on "My Classic Car" TV show with Dennis Gage, and has made several trips to the Hot August Nights show in Reno, placing in the top 60 out of 1800 entries! One thing about the car that always catches peoples eye at a show is the odometer. Paul put a new one in during the restoration, but 2 miles later the cable broke. He'd rather have fun swimming than take the time to fix it, so it still reads 2 miles! Actually, the car has seen about 40,000 road miles and hundreds of water hours. Paul works at the Stillwater Platinum mine, plus owns his own soda blasting business. His schedule at the mine of working 7 days straight, then having 7 days off gives him time to enjoy using the Amphicar. The Montana weather doesn't stop him much, either. Rough water and cold weather are no problem for Paul - he simply puts the top up and the heater on and enjoys! Paul and Vickie have two grown children, Rusty and Stephanie, and three grandchildren. One thing is for sure, Paul will never part with the Amphicar. It will stay in the family for future generations to enjoy!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January/February 2005 Member Spotlight:

John and Carol Edelstein (aka. "Amphipoda & The Mermaid")
San Diego, California
1964 Blue

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Amphi arrived at the home of John and Carol Edelstein Spring of 1999, back when transmissions still seemed affordable. It was not an easy sell for Carol since she had no experience with Amphicars or any concept of how it would change their lives. Living within a half mile of a small lake, John decided it would be ideal to have an Amphicar for quick swims at a moment's notice. He decided to ask members of the then eScribe-hosted Ampicar-Lovers Internet board to send Carol messages of persuasion, and before long their little blue Amphi was found in a used car lot in San Marcos, California. Immediately, the International Amphicar Owners Club had two new members! In exchange for buying Amphi, Carol was promised a trip to Europe which John finally made good on in 2004.

Carol and John met and later married in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early 1990's. After a half dozen years of the Bay Area, they retreated to San Diego and began an amphibious lifestyle. Hobbies are naturally Amphi and other classic cars, their cats, traveling to exotic places and collecting antiques. By trade, John is a Quality Manager in a small medical device/bio-technology company. Carol is a Director of Human Resources in a pharmaceutical benefits management company. The couple will be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary in October 2005 by taking an excursion to South Africa and Madagascar. Sadly, Amphi can't join that voyage.

During a relatively brief Amphicar ownership period, John and Carol have given countless rides to friends, family and strangers alike. John and Carol say, "That is what we love to do most. Share the experience of vehicular buoyancy with anyone willing to climb aboard." Back when Amphi was purchased, they of course didn't know any other local owners. Since then, they've met over a dozen Southern California amphibians. In recent years, the Edelsteins, with help from their local fine finned friends, have begun hosting annual San Diego Swim-Ins. Recently, the events have included a charity bucket in which free rides are given to all who attend and a local non-partisan charity (San Diego Humane Society), is invited to partake in the festivities and secure donations. "Amphicars and sharing seem to go hand-in-hand," John explains.

Over the years, John has contributed to the IAOC in subtle ways. Perhaps you've seen one of his more than 400 Amphicar-Lovers List postings, or an IAOC newsletter article, or maybe one of the last two dozen Amphipoda's Perspectives published in the Club Newsletters. He also initiated the Amphibian of the Year Award (AYA) which has taken root, and is presented each year at the annual Swim-In in Celina, Ohio. They've attended 4 of the last 5 Celina gatherings, and have made many new friends. In response to what Amphi and the amphibious lifestyle has brought to his and Carol's life, John has this to say: "Amphi has changed our lives for the better in so many ways. So in appreciation for all who have helped us with our Amphi, have shown kindness by sharing rides, offered advice, sent me a cool photo, or just let me know I gave them a chuckle over the years with my writing, I now humbly accept the responsibility of becoming the next IAOC president."


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March/April 2005 Member Spotlight:

John & Toni Friese
Santa Barbara, California
1964 Red "ISWIM2"
1967 Ivory "IFLOAT2"

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John Friese is often quoted as saying “The only vehicle going down the road that might get more attention and smiles than an Amphicar is the Oscar Mayar Weinermobile” He should know.. .he's been routinely driving one of his two Amphi's around Santa Barbara since he got them over three years ago.
John grew up in Chicago, Illinois and spent his teenage years racing up and down the Fox River in an old Chris-Craft boat. As a lover of all things to do with boating, he remembers becoming aware of Amphicars back then. That memory stayed locked away while he pursued his education at SIU. All boating took a back seat during the early 70's as John graduated, created Friese Stereo and spent his time repairing Hi-Fi equipment for the southern Illinois college town of Carbondale.

In the summer of 1977, John and his wife Toni took up residence in Santa Barbara, Ca. He created The Audio/Video Clinic and spent the next 20 plus years running a thriving electronic repair business. In 2000, he sold the business, and, although he continued to do some electronic work, it soon became obvious that a new challenge was needed. A television show with Huel Howser featuring an Amphicar on Lake Piru in California triggered a dormant memory. Internet research and a visit to Gordon Imports sealed John’s fate.

In 2001 he located and purchased a red Amphicar in Illinois and left it back there for Dave (the Wave) Derer to work on. He purchased a similar white car in Kentucky and had it shipped to his home in Santa Barbara, where he spent the next 6 months using all his skills (and learning a lot of new ones) to lovingly restore this one himself. Both cars have larger engines in them (to more easily handle the California roads). He designed and installed his own clutch system, and, since his wife is a non-swimming mermaid, he had to insure that his cars do not take on a drop of water. Mission accomplished!
John’s white car has become well-known in town. It was featured in a local tv news spot, has taken awards in area car shows and drove in the Santa Barbara 2002 Fourth of July parade. Although the red car arrived on scene later, it has gathered it's own admirers.
John owns four other “land-locked” cars but none are towing vehicles, so he drives his Amphi's to all the lakes. He has driven as far as San Diego (4 hours away) to join Amphipoda and the southern California group at Lake Miramar and routinely makes the hour and a half run to the Puddingstone swim-ins. John and Toni’s favorite destination is closer to home. A
45 minute drive down the 101 and up a winding mountain road takes them to Lake Casitas. This is where, almost every other weekend in summer, you may find the Frieses, fellow Amphibians ,Allen and Pam Woodcock and friends sharing good food, good wine and good times with their beautiful little Amphicars.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May/June 2005 Member Spotlight:

Francis “Red” Grandy
Hermon, New York
1964 Red

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While enroute to Koblenz in 1965 Francis “Red” Grandy spotted a white car in the middle of the Rhine River. It was the first he had ever seen and the driver was Herr Schon, car dealer from Frankfurt. Red ordered one right on the spot. Perhaps you have heard about some hard luck Amphicars, well here are some stories from Red, the former Chief Photographer for the European Stars and Stripes newspaper.

The first incident he had with it he thought would be the last. He had met a school teacher from Munich, who shared his fondness for Manhattan cocktails, and came to visit him. During their meeting he showed her the Amphicar. They decided to see if it would float, mixed a cocktail shaker with Manhattans and found a place to drive into the Main River. As they drove in the teacher said, “You know that I can't swim.” At that moment, the tires hit some objects and tilted the car badly. Then she started screaming, “We’re sinking, we're sinking!” Sure enough, Red felt the cold water creeping up on the seat of his pants. He hit the bilge pump and headed full speed toward shore, certain that they were sinking. Then she said, “Oh no, the cocktails just tipped over.” They were sitting in ice-cold Manhattans. A happy ending perhaps unless you morn the mixed drinks.

The next incident was far more bizarre, and very ill advised. He wanted to give another visitor a ride and chose a ferry crossing at Mainflingen, also on the Main River. As they approached the crossing Red saw the ferry just leaving the far side. He knew there would be a 30 minute wait if he didn't beat it into the river so without checking he drove off what he thought was a graduated ramp as he had seen at all other the crossings. There was no ramp, just a 10 ft. wall that dropped straight down into about 16 ft. of water! They went off the wall and were completely submerged for several seconds, then floated back to the surface in front of the oncoming ferry. Red kicked on the props and sped off downstream, much to the amazement of the boat passengers, and Red. Surprisingly very little water came into the seating area. Amazing the engine didn't flood no pun intended.

This last accounting was not so dangerous, but pretty impressive none the less. Ted Rohde, another photographer, had to cover the 3rd Armored Division crossing the Main River near Aschaffenburg. Red offered to drive him there in the Amphicar. As they approached the crossing area they saw an M60 tank on the west bank while the 3rd Armored was still on the east bank. A sign said “No civilian vehicles past this point.” They disregarded this and pulled up next to the tank. The soldiers told them that due to high water that the army was having a problem getting their amphibious vehicles into the river. Just then a jeep with an MP officer pulled up next to them and yelled “What’s the matter with you, can't you read, get that car out of here!” In front of them was a gradual slope into the river. Red just released the brake and let the car roll down and into the river. Back at the tank the guys and the officer were yelling like mad. The 3rd Armored General was standing on the other shore and was most impressed as they pulled up in front of him. Later, the Amphicar was the star of the show as they cruised around for photos as the bridge was put together… It proved to be a great asset to Rohde as he got some great pictures. Still, it makes one wonder if this poor old Amphicar wished it had fallen into the hands of a little old lady from Pasadena instead of Red Grandy?

Red Grandy now lives in Hermon, New York on peaceful “Lazy River Road.” I imagine his rowdy and reckless Amphicar days are a thing of the past. But then again, we all still get the urge to make a BIG splash now and then. As newsletter editor, maybe I should pack up a shaker of Manhattans and pay Red a visit. You know, now that I think of it, maybe I better pack my snorkel too.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issue 120 July / August 2005 Spotlight

Mike and Chris Echemann
Downers Grove, Il
1963 Fjord Green

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Mike and Chris do an amphibious beach landin gin Holland Michigan. Pretty nice how an Amphi can cruise along the beach like that. Very nice!!!It's amazing how an Amphicar experience will stick in one's memory. One day back in the early 1960's while out on Indian Lake in Ohio in Mike's father's old Chris Craft they passed an Amphicar. As the years went by Mike didn't know exactly what he'd seen but the memory would not go away. Then while working in Columbus, Ohio 20 years later Mike saw one at a gas station and he instantly knew what he'd seen on the lake.

Then while living in Tennessee, Mike and Chris purchased Mike's parents, Ted & Shirley Echemann join in the aquatic fun of an Amphicar cruise. Oh, I sure hope Mike didn't drench his own parents.their first Amphicar. It wasn't long before several muscle cars were sold off and the Amphicar bug hit their family. Later he purchased a second car beautifully restored by Dan Borgman, from Florida, and they made their first real Amphicar friend. Mike has to admit that he was slow at putting their car in the water. At Celina in 1999 with Mike's parents (Ted and Shirley Echemann) in the car they joined an Amphicar caravan. They were in a 1964 fjord green car, which hadn't seen water since the late 60's, and their intention was to test it slowly. Well, they found out too late that the destination was the ‘hot hole” which is the crowd pleasing splash entry point at Celina. According to Mike, “All I could think of was my parents having to swim back to shore so I considered pulling aside.” However, his mermaid wife Chris was yelling, “Go, Go, Go!” So with hearts pounding they went for it and everything was fine.

Mike & Chris at Celina 2000, or 2001, or 2002, or 2003 or 2004?Mike and Chris now live in Downers Grove, Illinois with their four kids Ted, Erin, Amelia and Mary and the family dog Snoopy. The Echemanns' have owned several Amphicars over the years and, as Mike puts it, “What's really special about these cars are the friendships that continue to develop with other Amphicar owners. It's these friendships, which have really blessed us and made Amphicar ownership truly special.” The Echemann family is certainly “top fins” in our little community despite the grueling torture they inflicted upon yours truly during the Rock River ride mentioned on page 3 of this newsletter. Should I ever decide to visit the Echemanns' I'll be sure to bring lots and lots of extra clothes AND my wetsuit.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issue 121 Sept/Oct 2005

Brian Crombie

1964 Fjord Green
1967 White

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Sometime around 1985, Brian Crombie was sitting in his boat fishing with his father when along came this funny looking boat that looked like a car. He had no idea that it was indeed, an Amphicar. Waves were exchanged as the little car/boat putted by and that was the last he has seen one until November of 99. You see, Brian likes odd vehicles. His interest in them frequently took him to Internet web sites such as Ebay and the Yahoo auction site. According to Brian, "If you want to find cool stuff with engines, go to Ebay Motors and click on "Other Vehicles" then click on "Other". There you will find a lot of oddities that auction sites don’t have a category listing for, so it ends up there. “Other,” is where Brian found his first Amphicar!

Little did Brian know, he had purchased an Amphicar that was manufactured for the European market. He assumed they all had flat front directional lenses, speedometers that read 140 KPH and had the ignition mounted under the steering column. Wonder if his Euro Amphi is drawn to the wrong side of the road? Brian recalls the first time he took his Amphicar to a nearby lake for water test number one. "It was a Sunday morning. The prior week I had patched the rust holes with metal tape and silicone caulk. The boat ramp was empty. No one around. I had driven about ten miles, the furthest I had driven her so far. When I arrived, I opened the engine hood to check for fluid leaks and such when I saw a wisp of smoke coming from the right rear tire. I felt the rim and it was very hot. I knew not to take her in the water as I didn't want to douse the hot brake parts with the cool lake water. I waited about a half hour for it to cool and got in the drivers seat. I sat there for about a minute thinking about all that could go wrong, looking at the lake, looking at the gauges and back to the lake. Still not a soul in sight. I literally had to talk myself into driving a car

into the lake. My brain kept telling me that this is wrong. You don't intentionally drive a car into a lake. Finally, I told myself, you’re not going to find out what she'll do if you don't drive this car into the lake! In I went, back seat out. Ok, we're floating. Props engaged. Cool! It's a boat! Oh yeah, check for leaks. I turn around and yup, it leaks. No problem, we got a bilge pump. A minute later I hit the switch. Zap goes the fuse! Dang, gotta get out of here!” Brian’s first Amphicar ride lasted less than three minutes. How sad...

Since Memorial Day 05, Brian’s been mobbed at Dairy Queen, got countless thumbs up, honked at, smiled at a lot, funny looks, saw a guy take his picture with his cell phone while following him, had a teenager yell "nice lowrider" and been asked all the typical questions. The question he likes the best is, “how deep will it go?” His answer… “All the way to the bottom!” In that case - the editor reserves the right to wear full scuba gear when visiting with Brian in Faribault, Minnesota and I’ll bring a handful of extra bilge fuses too.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issue 122 Nov/Dec 2005

Ron Green

1967 Dark Blue

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Ron's fascination with mechanical things (especially with engines mounted to something) started at an early age, from building homemade go-karts to mini-bikes with parts scrounged from a junkyard. His father always did wonder why his lawnmower engines never lasted very long. As Ron puts it, “Saying that both his parents were extremely tolerant would be an understatement.”

Fast forward a few years and Ron's interest in collecting and tinkering with old cars and oddball things began. He knew of the Amphicar's existence but never had the opportunity to see one up close, however they always intrigued him. While showing a car at the AACA Hershey Fall Meet a few years back he made a comment to a fellow collector that I might start looking for an Amphicar. The fellow collector's comment was “who would want a car that goes in water.” Who would not want one Ron thought. Even his close friends didn't have a clue that the hunt had already begun, if not just in his head.

Ron's wife Valerie, who apparently tolerates his “craziness,” was upset that he sold their beautiful 67 Pontiac GTO as she would drive this car on occasion. She knew it probably wouldn’t be too long before that empty slot in the shop would be full so she mandated that the next one be a convertible. Welcome Amphicar!

So late one evening a little over 3 years ago Ron came up to bed later then normal and Valerie asked what he was up to. Ron said he had just purchased an Amphicar off eBay much to her surprise (and his); after all it is a convertible! Ron mentions, “Valerie doesn't drive a stick, and did I mention that she can't swim?” Ron went on the say, “Did I mention it is a convertible?” As a famous attorney once said “you must acquit if the tops goes up and clips.”

Ron has slowly been restoring the Amphicar the past three winters and is down to the exterior painting and interior upholstery. All of the hard stuff is complete including the mechanical bits. It needed a lot of work and was not safe; however they now use it all the time. Ron and Valerie have been attending Celina the past 3 years since joining the club and even went to the Mount Dora meet in 05.

Ron stated they really enjoy meeting and socializing with all the clubs members. “Unlike other car clubs this one focuses on camaraderie and fun and not just sitting behind an old car at a show.” And they hope to make it to more Amphicar events in the future. Having recently been appointed to the IAOC board Ron is looking forward to helping out our club in any way he can and meeting many more club members. He concluded the interview by saying, “Now if we could just figure out how to eliminate this thing called work.” (Sorry Ron, now that you're on the IAOC Board you'll be working your fingers to the bone in no time, just kidding. The IAOC Board welcomes Ron and greatly appreciates his volunteer spirit. After all, it's club members like Ron Green that keep this club afloat)