the euphoria of the fifties and sixties some extraordinary cars
were born... Among the rare that were produced in series the amphibian
created by Herr Hans Trippel ( he was the creator of about anything
that roll and floated at that time) was launch in 1961 under the
cool name of Amphicar, certainly more poetic name that of the company
that created it .
built in Germany, it is a pure Germanic product, except for the
English engine which origin is of Triumph. Why this decision ? The
German industry at that time and in this category of cubic capacity
had hardly other choices but to propose the VW Beetle motor (it's
air cooling system is much more appropriate for aviation ! Whereas
boats are much more at ease with a water cooling system ! ) A French
engine ? Not enough or too powerful, therefore heavy. A Italian
engine ? Too fragile ? In fact, the Triumph engine was not such
a bad idea, although the weight of Amphicar seriously limits it's
performances as well on the ground as on water: it is a robust engine,
equipped with a good torque, which is extremely appropriate for
one... boat ! More especially as the oil drops which it loses, in
the great British tradition, are used as rust preventive with the
hull of this ship which is fully made of steel.
of the Amphicar is a compromise between the Italian style of the
time (cf: Renault Florida due to Frua and certain contemporary convertible
DKW), to which the inevitable wings "for the American look" seemed
to be added. In fact they play there perfect role when it is a question
of facing the waves as well as protecting the mechanics liberally
equipped with aerators on the lid of the back trunk.
accessories (navigation lights, bilge pump, shifter for the propellers
and the hand accelerator) are the only addition to any other conventional
cars, the four windows are manually operated and the hood folds
almost with ease.
control is in any point similar to any contemporary cars with the
pleasure of being four individuals rolling in a convertible. The
suspension is firm, the direction precise, the brakes suitable,
the performance limit is primarily due to the fact that final ratio
is short and with maximum speed, the engine turns very quickly which
discourages the driver.
great pleasure arrives whereas one approaches a water setting ramp:
after having properly locked the two additional handles on each
doors which seals them while rolling, one engages the propellers,
one goes down ( sometimes plunges ) in the water, it is then safe
to gear in neutral "Ground" and then... there we go !
behavior is perfectly suitable and Amphicar is not a bad boat !
The changes of course are done using the steering, the wheels are
the rudder. If there were to be one default that one would be located
in the change of course towards port side is broader than to starboard
for the propellers are turning clock wise, they contribute thus
to this turn on the right !
Ahoy !... Keep on going, one engages the first ground gear while
aligning oneself on the exit ramp, one leaves the water, disengages
the propellers and there we go. No matter where you go ! There you
are ! So there we go !