Back in the 1960’s, amphibious cars were the stuff of spy novels and James Bond movies. The reality is that during that time period there was an amphibious car available for sale in the US and other countries. While certainly not as sexy as the vehicles from Ian Fleming’s imagination, the Amphicar 770 was a vehicle designed to be equally at home on land or water.
The Amphicar 770 debuted in 1961 at the New York Auto Show. The product of West Germany’s Quandt Group, a total of 3,878 Amipicars were produced between late 1960 and the end of production in 1965. The vehicles were titled in the year they were sold as opposed to the year they were built, explaining why 1966, 1967 and 1968 models exist. (NOTE: Amphicars were not allowed to be sold in the United States after 1967 due to the vehicles not conforming to updated emissions and safety standards imposed for 1968 model vehicles.)
Designer Hans Tripp drew inspiration from the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen in creating the Amphicar. While one magazine writer said the car “added a new dimension to the possibility of drowning”, the cars were actually very safe and well-engineered for both land and water applications. Power came from a 1,147cc British Triumph Herald powerplant, which while antiquated by contemporary standards was considered quite modern in 1961. Variants of that engine were used by Triumph until 1980.
The rear-mounted engine supplied power to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission. In the water, the driver generally shifted the gearbox into neutral and engaged the twin rear propellers by a second shift lever which controlled forward or reverse. With a touch of skill, an experienced driver could engage the transmission as the vehicle approached the boat ramp and glide effortlessly out of the water!
The 770 model designation came from the vehicle’s capability to travel at a speed of 7 knots on water (slightly over eight miles per hour) and 70 miles per hour on land. While painfully slow by today’s standards for cars and boats, it was definitely a unique vehicle. President Lyndon Johnson had an Amphicar on his Texas ranch and was famous for pranking visitors by heading downhill towards a pond and screaming that the car’s brakes had failed!
Amphicars have been used in numerous films and television shows over the years. Disneyworld in Orlando, FL opened an attraction in 2015 that allowed passengers to pay for a few peiople to ride in one of eight Amphicars in their fleet. A company is also offering Amphicar rides on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, MO through a kiosk on the Branson Landing.
This 1966 Amphicar 770 is among the roughly 600 believed to exist in the United States today. It has been in the portfolio of the present owner since October 2007 and has been stored during that time in a humidity-controlled environment. From the previous title we know the vehicle spent time in suburban Kansas City before our purchase. It appears to have had one respray in the original white at some point prior to acquisition by the present owner. The correct red and white interior is in excellent condition and likely was installed at the time of the respray. The black convertible top is also in exceptional condition and the manual top mechanism work well. The odometer shows just under 44,000 miles but we cannot verify if this is the actual mileage so in accordance with statutes governing registered Missouri auto dealers the vehicle will be sold mileage exempt.
Evergreen Digital Showroom offers this 1966 Amphicar 770 for sale at a price of $87,900 USD. Pre-purchase inspections are welcomed and encouraged. We will gladly assist the buyer with transportation arrangements at buyer’s expense or will work with any shipper of the buyer’s choice. For additional information or to make an offer, call sales manager Steve Russell at 417-532-8000.
Because of the number of vehicles we represent we cannot drive every vehicle for long distances. These vehicles have been part of static displays for long periods of time, in some cases for decades, and are subject to the flaws and imperfections consistent with that. While we do our best to disclose all issues we known about a vehicle in our advertising, these are old cars and something that has always worked in the past might not function properly today. Please check the requirements of your state regarding the licensing and registration of classic vehicles and make sure the vehicle you are looking at meets those if applicable. Unless otherwise noted, all vehicles represented by Evergreen Digital Showroom possess a clean (non-branded) title which will be provided the new buyer when purchase funds clear our financial institution. Virtually all our vehicles are sold as mileage exempt due to their age. We do not warranty any vehicle, nor any part of the vehicle including air conditioning systems, brake systems, electrical systems and gauges, fuel systems, accessories or powertrain components.
These are old vehicles and it is very common for them to require certain maintenance and upkeep for them to be operational. In many cases issues with leaks may develop when being driven after a long period of not being used. This is common, as classic cars at some point will leak fluids. For this reason, we do not encourage buyers to attempt driving their purchase home as we cannot guarantee functional reliability of these vehicles. We strongly encourage prospective buyers to be sure they are comfortable with these issues before purchasing a classic car.
Descriptions of vehicles represented by Evergreen Digital Showroom are intended to be informational in nature and do not in any way constitute any sort of warranty, expressed or implied. Again, these vehicles are presented “as-is, where-is” without guarantee or warranty. Vehicles manufactured prior to 1981 will likely not be included in the databases of companies such as CarFax and AutoCheck that provide vehicle history information to consumers. If you have specific questions regarding a vehicle we urge you to contact us at 417-532-8000.