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History of the Amphicar

The Amphicar was built in Germany from 1961 to 1968.  Total Production was 3,878 vehicles.  The Amphicar is the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass produced.  3,046 Amphicars were imported into the United States between 1961 and 1967.  The Amphicar is rear engined and uses a 4 cylinder British-built Triumph Herald motor producing 43 HP.  All Amphicars are convertibles and the civilian models were originally offerend in only 4 colors:  Beach Sand White, Regatta Red, Lagoon Blue and Fjord Green.

The backbone of the Amphicar's electrics is basically a Lucas 12 volt positive ground system with certain items such as the horn, lighting, and switches made by other manufacturers such as Hella and Bosch.

The Amphicar has a top speed of 7 MPH on water and 70 MPH on land.  Hence, it was dubbed the "Model 770".  The Amphicar is moved in the water by its twin nylon propellers.  A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes (makers of the Porsche transmission) allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously.  The "land transmission" is a 4-speed-plus-reverse unit similar to those found in the old Volkswagen Beetles.  The "water transmission" is a 2-speed offering unique to the Amphicar featuring single forward and reverse gears.  In the water, the front wheels act as rudders.

When new, the Amphicar sold for  between $2,800 and $3,300 depending on the year.  Later model years actually sold for less than those of early years.  No 1968 model year Amphicars were directly imported into the USA.  This was because of the U.S. government's EPA and DOT regulations that went into effect beginning with the 1968 model year vehicles.  This caused a major financial disaster for the Amphicar Corporation since the USA represented about 90% of all Amphicar sales.  The Amphicar factory in Berlin, Germany closed for good in 1968, and the remaining inventory of unused parts was eventually purchased by Hugh Gordon of Sante Fe Springs, California.  Hugh's Gordon Imports remains the Amphicar owner's primary source for spare parts.

The Amphicar continues to appear in print, movies, and museums.  Please see the links below for additional information about the Amphicar.

Recent Amphicar Articles

The Amphicar continues to get media coverage!  If you want to check out the latest articles and news reports on Amphicars, this is the place.  Many club swim-ins are covered by local media outlets - its a great way to see how much fun they can be!

Amphicars in the Movies

The Amphicar is the star of any event it attends, but did you know it was also the star of several motion pictures?  Check out our list of films featuring this fun vehicle, including Pontiac Moon.  The Amphicar used this movie is currently owned by an IAOC Club member!


The uniqueness of the Amphicar made it the perfect vehicle for advertisers.  Come see the unusual ways the Amphicar was marketed by companies during its production run.

Amphicars in Museums

As always, the best way to get up close to an Amphicar is to attend one of the club's swim-ins. If you are more of a museum type, we have several museums listed which have Amphicars as part of their collection

Specialty Amphicars

Because of their dual purpose nature, several Amphicars with fitted with rescue equipment and were used by first responders.  Enter here to see the ways the Amphicar was used to help those who help others!