Want to have some fun? Check out this delightful film short from 1962 featuring the wonder of the day, the miraculous Amphicar 770.
The Amphicar, marketed from 1961 through 1968, is old news to the car enthusiast world, but when it was new it was the wonder of the age. First shown at the 1961 New York Auto Show, the Amphicar brought the covers of the popular workbench magazines to life: It’s a car! It’s a boat! It’s a miracle! This wonderful British Pathé newsreel item from 1962 captures the joy and excitement, accompanied by a groovy 1960s musical score that’s worth the trip all by itself.
A brief review: Designed by German engineer Hans Trippel and based in part on the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen of World War II, the Amphicar 770 was powered by a four-cylinder engine from the Triumph Herald 1200. With 43 horsepower, the car/boat hybrid was capable of 70 mph on the road or 7 knots on the water, while the front tires provided the steering on land or sea.
With backing from the Quandt Group, which also owned hefty chunks of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the Amphicar folks hoped to sell 20,000 units a year, but thanks in part to the hefty price (around $3,000, more than a new sports car at the time) only 3,878 were produced in total. As many owners have noted, the Amphicar was not a very good car or a very good boat, but it was a whole lot of fun—as illustrated in these delightful scenes at Hampton on Thames in London. Enjoy the video.