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The Amphicar; It's a Car, It's a Boat, It's...

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On: Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 12:01PM | By: Gary P Garry


The Amphicar; It's a Car, It's a Boat, It's...

During our current era, you hear the term “multitasking” frequently tossed about. Basically, you are supposed to be able to do more than one thing at once, and this is achieved through multitasking. This sounds like a great deal for people who are paying you to do things, but that's another article for a different blog.

There are certain types of motor vehicles that are built for multitasking. One such vehicle that immediately comes to mind is the pickup truck. Back in the day, pickups were for work, though they could provide basic transportation. The pickups of today have all the bells and whistles, and they can help you get 'er done, but they can also get you around in style.

So... there's multitasking, and then there's multitasking taken to another level... with this in mind, we want to share a few words about the legendary Amphicar.

When I was a little kid I saw one of these on the road one day, and I couldn't figure it out. My father told me it was an Amphicar, and it was a car, but it was also a boat. I didn't know if I should believe him, but I found out later that he was telling the truth.

The Amphicar was an amphibious automobile first introduced for the 1961 model year. It was a German car that was designed by a guy named Hanns Trippel. (That sounds like the name of the Belgian beer I had last night, but I digress.) He worked for a company called the Quandt Group.

The vehicle was powered by a 1147cc Triumph engine. It was allegedly capable of 70 mph on the road and seven knots in the water. In the water, it was steered by the front wheels, and that's not how real boats work. As a result, it was wobbly on the water in terms of maneuverability, and its seaworthiness was questionable.

Some things are better in principle than they are in practice, and, in retrospect, this can be said of the Amphicar. The vehicle lasted only through 1968, and fewer than 4,000 were produced.

The 1961Amphicar has the dubious distinction of being among the “50 Worst Cars of All Time”, according to Time magazine. That's gotta count for something, right?

Yes, it's the butt of jokes, but give the car/boat thingie its due. Today, the existing Amphicars are rare, they're unique, and they certainly inspire conversation. Shortcomings notwithstanding, I'd be willing to go for a cruise in one if I had the chance, but I'd definitely wear a life jacket.


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