Amphicar


Amphicar

Infobox Automobile


name = Amphicar
manufacturer = Quandt Group
production = 1961-1968
3,878 built
predecessor =
successor =
body_style = two door cabriolet
with boat features
engine = 1147 cc straight-4 "(Triumph)"
transmission = 4 speed
all-synchromesh manual
length = Auto in|171|0
width = Auto in|62|0
height = Auto in|60|0
weight = Auto lb|2324|0
wheelbase = Auto in|84|0 cite book |last=Cardew|first=Basil |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Daily Express Review of the 1966 Motor Show|year=1966 |publisher=Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd |location=London |id=]
track = Auto in|48|0(f)
Auto in|50|0(r)
related =
similar =
designer = Hanns Trippel
fuel_capacity = Convert|12.5|impgal|L usgal|0|abbr=on

The Amphicar is still the only amphibious automobile ever mass-produced for sale to the public. The German vehicle 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".

Performance

The powerplant was the 1147 cc (69 in³) engine from the British Triumph Herald 1200 introduced by the new owners Leyland Motors Ltd. 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. Called the "Model 770", the Amphicar could achieve speeds of 7 knots in the water and 70 mph (113 km/h) on land. Later versions of the engine displaced 1300cc and 1500cc and produced up to 75bhp. Some Amphicar owners have fitted these engines to improve performance.

In water as well as on land, the Amphicar steered with the front wheels making it less maneuverable than a conventional boat.cite book|last=Davis|first=Tony|title=Extra Lemon !|publisher=Bantam|location=Sydney|pages=p.147|isbn=1-86325-550-8|year=2005]

Amphicar adventures

Two Amphicars crossed the English Channel in 1968 enduring 20' waves and gale force winds. [cite web
url = http://www.amphicars.com/ukchancro.htm
title = CARS AHOY
accessdate = 2008-09-12
accessdaymonth =
accessmonthday =
accessyear =
author = Capt. Peter Tappenden, Capt. M.B. Bailey
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
date = 1965-12-10
year =
month =
format =
work =
publisher = Autocar
location =
pages =
language = English
doi =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
quote =
] In 1965 two Amphicar successfully navigated the Yukon river in Alaska. [cite web
url = http://www.amphicars.com/yukon.htm
title = The Yukon Adventure!
accessdate = 2008-09-12
accessdaymonth =
accessmonthday =
accessyear =
author = Oro Stewart
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =
year = 1965
month =
format = HTML
work =
publisher = Unknown
location =
pages =
language = English
doi =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
quote =
]

History

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. For instance, an Amphicar that was built 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 UK 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.

Driveability

Although underpowered by modern standards, a well maintained Amphicar can be a remarkably agile and pleasant vehicle to drive on both land and water. The fact that such a high proportion - roughly a quarter of the almost 4000 produced - have survived more than forty years is a testament to their very high initial production quality, and to the lengths to which many owners will go in order to maintain and restore their beloved vehicles.

Amphicar shows

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". [cite magazine |last= Froeber |first= Jacquelyne |authorlink= |coauthors= |year= 2008 |month= July |title= Ahoy, drivers! Off-roading takes on new meaning with vintage amphibious cars |journal= Coastal Living |volume= 12 |issue= 6 |page= 80 |id= |url= http://www.coastalliving.com/coastal/print/0,14644,1822631,00.html |accessdate= 2008-08-08 |quote= From coast to coast, owners hold 'swim-ins' — annual afternoon events to show off, share lunch, and offer bystanders a chance to take the plunge. ]

In popular culture

An Amphicar is featured in the James Coburn movie "The President's Analyst", where Coburn and the character named "Kropotkin" use the car to make an escape. One figures in a gag in "Inspector Closeau", where the title character attempts to follow it into the water in an ordinary car. The movie "Pontiac Moon" similarly features one being suddenly driven into the water after being operated on land.

A red 1967 Amphicar was featured in the episode "Bathysphere" of the action-adventure series "240-Robert" (1979) starring Mark Harmon and John Bennett Perry.

USA President Lyndon B. Johnson had an Amphicar at his ranch, a period picture shows him taking Walter Cronkite for a ride across a lake. There are also pictures of USA President Jimmy Carter driving an Amphicar.

In music culture there are reports that John Lennon had a white Amphicar on his English country estate around 1968.
Madonna is seen driving a blue Amphicar in the 1985 video of "Start Me Up".

An Amphicar was given away as a prize in an episode of the original version of The Price is Right in 1963. The winner, Shirl J. Hoffman of Ossining, NY, sold the car to a dealer in Schenectady, NY for $3500, after taking it for a short 'drive' on a nearby private lake.

ee also

* Gibbs Aquada (2004)
* Gibbs Humdinga (2006)
* Gibbs Quadski (2006)
* WaterCar

References

External links

* [http://www.amphicar.com/ Official Website of the International Amphicar Owners Club]
* [http://www.amphicars.com/ UK site with a lot of information on the "Wonderful world of Amphicars"]
* [http://www.expertmotor.com/news/amphicar.html See Amphicar in action]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2005/07/24/national/20050725_AMPHI_SLIDESHOW_index.html Amphicar slideshow]
* [http://www.amphicarventures.com/ Amphicar enthusiast from central NH; has photos, videos, history, and a list of Amphicar friendly lakes and ramps]
* [http://www.muscamoot-bay.com/Amphicar.html Amphicar, Muscamoot Bay (Lake St. Clair), Michigan"]


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