Low-mileage museum exhibit Amphicar joins Mecum auction
Most classic cars handle like water craft - well, this one is! The Amphicar remains one of the hottest collector's items out there, and this one is up for grabs with Mecum auctions
The Amphicar remains an oddity from the innovative and future-conscious 1960s; mixing the capabilities of vehicular and seafaring modernisation to create ‘the car that swims’. Q-branch, eat your heart out. Better yet, this one could be yours when it heads to Mecum Auction's Kissimmee 2019 sale, January 3-13.
Designed by Hans Trippel and sold from 1961-1968, only 3878 examples were manufactured during a decade where curiosity reigned. Boasting the same 1147cc engine as the Triumph Herald, and therefore churning out an estimated 38.5bhp, the Amphicar was no gimmick; capable of navigating inland water sources like an automotive Ray Mears.
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To prove the water-going convertible could rule the waves, two Amphicars successfully navigated Alaska’s Yukon River before another pair crossed the English Channel in gale-force winds, enduring 20-foot surges and 6-meter waves.
Lyndon B. Johnson – 36th President of the United States – was impressed enough to acquire one, terrifying visitors to his Texas ranch by driving downhill in his Amphicar, directly into his property’s lake, shouting about malfunctioning brakes.
As such, with prolonged stretches in the water, most Amphicars rotted away. However, we’ve found a solid example for sale with Mecum Auctions. Having spent most of its life in a museum, the highly-original Amphicar trumpets a mere 1400 miles on the odometer.
One of two right-hand drive examples mistakenly sent to the United States when originally destined for Sweden back in 1967, Mecum’s example is a very late model – the 88th built with right-hand drive. Bearing a healthy Fjord Aqua paint scheme, the drivetrain appears to work perfectly – making this one of the finest working examples of an Amphicar on the market.
Capable of seven knots in water (depending on current) and 70mph on land, the interlinking prop lever and navigational lights are in great condition, whereas the original two-tone interior seats, trim panels, gauges and flooring present themselves devoid of blemishes or rust. The original tool box is also included alongside the original set of tyres.
As a collector’s item, you can’t get much better than this. Yet, in such concours condition, would you dare use it on the water?
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