- The Amphicar was the first mass-produced vehicle that could drive on land and sea
- 3,878 were made and 3,046 were imported to America
- Now only a few remain that can still float in the water, making them a rare find
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: This is the Amphicar 770. When it launched in Germany in 1961, it was the first mass-produced car that could traverse land and sea. But after just seven years, the automaker went out of business, and the Amphicar would become a novelty. Of the 3,800 units produced, over 3,000 of them were imported to the US, where only a few remain today.
Ethan Langley: Not all of those will actually swim and drive. Within five years of me trying to make this dream come true, I think I found four that were for sale, and most of them were rusted out to the point that you didn’t want to own them.
Narrator: And only a lucky few own one that still floats, like Ethan Langley.
Ethan: So, the Amphicar is basically like a tank. It’s set up so everything’s sealed. It has a belly pan up underneath it, which is very unique for most vehicles and that kind of thing. But that’s what keeps it floating, keeps it watertight.
So, to get the car ready to go into the water, you have to do a few things. You want to make sure that the trunk in the front is actually latched down, ’cause there’s a seal up there. You’re going to hit the water pretty good, and the water’s going to come up over. You really want to make sure the plug’s in in the back to drain the water out. So you want to make sure that’s always put back in. Beyond that, just make sure the doors are latched, and have fun. All right, let’s get this beast a-rolling.
[laughs] Pretty crazy, huh?
It’s phenomenal in the water for what I’ve had per a boat. I think we can drive it around for 1 gallon per hour on the water. On the land, the suspension’s a little bit rough, just the way they designed it back in the ’60s, but all in all, I mean, it’s a great vehicle on land and in water.
Narrator: The Amphicar was a huge hit at first, but over time, sales began to dwindle. Production was forced to a halt after two years due to its expensive manufacturing process. And when the US changed its EPA regulations in 1968, the company lost 90% of its customer base. But the Amphicar has not been forgotten. Some have even made a business out of it, like the Amphicar tours that can be found at Disney Springs in Florida. This classic will be around for decades to come.