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1964 Amphicar 770 Chassis no. 101572

Sold for €46,000 inc. premium
Lot 9
1964 Amphicar 770
Chassis no. 101572

1964 Amphicar 770
Chassis no. 101572

Industrial designer Hans Trippel's experiments with amphibious vehicles began in the 1930s, bearing fruit in wartime in the form of the Volkswagen based Schwimmwagen, more than 14,000 of which saw service with the German Army in WW2. Trippel revived the concept post-war with the Amphicar (originally called the Eurocar), which was the first amphibious vehicle mass-produced for public sale. It was manufactured initially by Deutsche Industrie-Werke at Lübeck and later in Berlin by Deutsche Waggon und Maschinenfabriken.

Necessarily of unitary construction, the cabriolet-style Amphicar was powered by a 1,147cc four-cylinder Triumph Herald engine mounted in the rear and driving the rear wheels. A special transmission drove the two propellers that afforded a maximum cruising speed on water of around 6 knots (7mph), the top speed on land being around 70mph (112km/h) hence the choice of name: '770'. One owner was quoted as saying that he had 'the fastest car on the water and the fastest boat on the road.'

No special steering gear was required for use on water, the car being guided in the normal way using the steering wheel. The design certainly worked, as demonstrated by a well-publicised stunt that saw a pair of Amphicars successfully cross the English Channel from France to England in 1965 on their way to the Frankfurt Motor Show, while that same year another pair of Amphicars successfully navigated the Yukon River in Alaska. Nevertheless, and despite the attractions of its dual capability, the Amphicar was not a commercial success. In what should have been, and indeed was, its biggest market - the USA - the Amphicar was handicapped by the many difficulties involved in trying to make it comply with emissions and safety regulations. Demand for what was essentially a novelty vehicle never remotely approached the 20,000 units projected annually, a little under 4,000 being constructed before production ceased in 1968. The Amphicar's quirkiness often attracted the attention of filmmakers and it has appeared in several movies, including 'Inspector Clouseau' (1968).

This particular Amphicar had three owners in the USA prior to being exported to the Netherlands. The car was in a good condition when purchased but the current owner nevertheless decided to overhaul it cosmetically and mechanically in 2013. Works carried out include a repaint in red livery, while a check-up of the engine and floatation components was undertaken by specialists. The vehicle remains unmodified and to original specification, complete with life jackets, and is described as in good/very good condition. Nicely presented and ready to drive or sail, this rare motoring amphibian comes with instruction manuals, sundry invoices, miscellaneous paperwork, German Fahrzeugbrief and German technical inspection valid until 2015.

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  • 9 October 2014, 10:00 - 17:00 CEST
  • 10 October 2014, 09:00 - 17:00 CEST

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