Bonhams | 2018-10-08 | Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia Auction Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum | Venue : Philadelphia, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Lot No. : 105
Year : 1967
Engine Size : -
Chassis No. : #200085
Engine No. : #FC90507HE
Estimate : US$ 50,000 - 60,000
US$ 50,400
Amphicar 770 Convertible Sold


1,147cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Single Solex Downdraft Carburetor
43bhp at 4,750rpm
4-Speed All-Synchromesh Manual Transmission plus Single Speed with Reverse Water Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Waterproof Hydraulic Drum Brakes
*One of only 97 right-hand drive Amphicars ever built and 10 believed to survive today
*Sea and land tested
*Two owners from new
*Saves the hassle of having to buy a boat
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 WWII. Trippel revived the concept post-war with the Amphicar (originally called the Eurocar). Necessarily of unitary construction, the cabriolet-style Amphicar was powered by a 70cu in (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. No special steering gear was required for use on water, the car being steered in the normal way. The design certainly worked, as demonstrated by a well-publicized stunt that saw an Amphicar successfully cross the English Channel from France to England in 1962. Despite the attractions of its dual capability, the Amphicar was not a commercial success. In what should have been its biggest market - the USA - the Amphicar was handicapped by the many difficulties involved in trying to comply with smog and safety regulations. Demand for what was essentially a novelty vehicle never remotely approached the 20,000 units projected annually, only 3,000-or-so being constructed before production ceased in 1968.
This rare Amphicar is made rarer still by its specifications, history, and presentation. Ordered new through the New Jersey importer of Amphicars, it was one of only 97 examples of the model ever produced in right-hand drive. The first owner, a pilot and flight instructor who lived on a lake in upstate New York, was so used to sitting on the right side of the cockpit that he made the unique decision to order his Amphicar in a specification matching this tendency. As a pilot, he was of course meticulous and detail oriented. Those attributes spilled over into the care for his conveyance for both land and sea. Carefully and regularly maintained throughout his long ownership, he would own the car for decades but sparingly drive it only about 2600 miles from new.
The current owner acquired the car from him about 25 years ago. In very nice, presentable and rust-free condition—a testament to the first owner's regular care—the decision was made to restore the car five years after acquiring it. Sent to marque expert Billy Syx of East Coast Amphicar, the vehicle was stripped and fully refurbished to like-new condition. Using the original panels, which were in good shape and free of tinworm, the car was brought to the show-winning condition it has remained in to this day. Regularly serviced and maintained by Mr. Syx, this Amphicar has managed to score a total of three first prize wins.
Driven a total of just over 5,300 miles, a figure that is believed to be from new, this right-hand drive Amphicar is understood to be one of just 10 remaining survivors of the 97 built. Tested on land and sea, it is both DOT and US Coast Guard certified and is supplied with both motor vehicle and water craft registrations. Complete with a correct jack, tool kit, and owner's manual in addition to front and rear navigational lights, marine flag, and a set of life jackets and paddles, it is no doubt ready to transport family and friends from the lake house to the beach—and beyond.

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