Production numbers fell way short for the Amphicar auto-boat combination – STLtoday.com

Yes, Aunt Dorothy, those ARE propellers you see under that little compact car. And that is a bow light and side marker lights you see up front and a Marine flag on the deck. And NO, you haven’t had too many Cuba Libres. That really is a boat AND a car all in one. It is the Amphicar, produced from 1961-1968.

Manufactured in Germany, the combination auto-boat was powered by a 1147cc Triumph Herald, 4-cylinder engine and could achieve a top speed of 70 mph if by land and a mere 8.06 mph if by sea.

George Randall (Randall’s Wines and Spirits) is the proud owner of one of 3,878 total produced from 1961-1965 when production ended. The vehicles were titled as the year in which they were sold, so you will find them listed as a model year as late as 1968, but they were actually built in the period of 1961-1965. The numbers fell far short of the planned production of 20,000 per year.

George’s little red Amphicar just returned from a “swim-in,” which is the term used to describe a number of annual events held by the International Amphicar Owners Club, of which there are 400 members.

FIN MAN Factoid: President Lyndon B. Johnson was known as an owner of an Amphicar. Johnson, a known practical joker, was said to enjoy frightening visitors at his Johnson City, Texas, ranch by driving them downhill in his Amphicar, directly into his property’s lake, all the while shouting he had malfunctioning brakes.

Breaking news

FOUR motor coaches have been reserved, so get ready to climb aboard for “Rollin’ With The FIN MAN II” on Saturday, Sept. 2. Pickup locations will be at the MoDOT commuter lots in North County (at I-270 and Lilac Ave.) and South County (at I-270 and Gravois Rd.). Times will be announced in next week’s column.

This tour will include a stop at MotoeXotica, Scott Brandt’s fascination collectible auto dealership in Fenton. Also included on the tour will be a stop at three locations (including a still-to-be-determined restoration shop) in the St. Louis metro area, the final one being Randall’s Liquors to see George Randall’s fascinating collection (including his Amphicar), many of which are custom-made, one-of-a-kind of cars and trucks. This stop will also include wine and spirits tasting.

Mail your check, made out to The FIN MAN, in the amount of $65 per person to The FIN MAN, c/o St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 900 N. Tucker, St. Louis, MO 63101. You may also pay using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card by calling me at 314-327-FINS. If I don’t answer, please leave your name and phone number and the best time to return your call. When making your reservations, please name any other persons who will be in your party and which commuter lot, North or South, at which you will be boarding.

The cost includes all transportation, buffet lunch (location to be announced in next week’s OCC) and wine tasting at Randall’s.

NOTE: Payment in full of $65 per person (nonrefundable) is due no later than Saturday, Aug. 26. Seating for this event will be limited to 200, so please make your reservations ASAP. Remember, I will need full names and addresses of all members in your party.

Upcoming events

The planned re-visit to Springfield, Ill., to visit the Levi collection has been scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2. More on “Rollin’ With The FIN MAN III” in the coming weeks.

And stay tuned here for the date and location of the next “Breakfast With The FIN MAN.”

Tri-Power Trivia questions return next week.

Thanks for reading the Old Car Column and Keep on Cruisin’!


Bruce Kunz, a.k.a. “THE FIN MAN,” is a member of the Society of Automobile Historians. If you love old cars and care about kids, visit thefinman.com.

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