Imagine glimpsing this sight and not doing a double-take! I was just happy to have my camera on hand. The scene was at the 1986 Henley Royal Regatta, pitting dozens of crews against each other: "Eights," "Fours-with-coxswain," "Fours-without..." But then, suddenly a man wearing a "boater" (straw hat) came into view, casually driving his Amphicar down the river.
The Amphicar Model 770, a portmanteau of the words "auto" and "car," was an amphibious automobile, launched at the 1961 New York Auto Show. It was manufactured in West Germany and marketed in the United States from 1961-1967, with production having ended in 1965. Since I took the photo in 1986, this car was already a vintage vehicle 20 years old. (I saw one other such vehicle in the 1960s in Washington, DC on the Potomac River.) The car designed by Hans Trippel and manufactured in Lübeck saw a total production of only 3,878.
A descendant of the Volkswagen Schwimmwage, the Amphicar offered only modest performance compared to most contemporary boats or cars, featured navigation lights and flag as mandated by U.S. Coast Guard — and after operation in water, required greasing at 13 points, one of which required removal of the rear seat. In short, it was not overly practical. This is a scanned digital photo of a thirty-year-old Kodachrome slide.
This is far from the submersible Lotus Esprit, a slick white vehicle, made famous in the 1977 James Bond film with Roger Moore “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Following the completion of the film in 1989, that car was covered by blankets, was placed in a storage container, and hopelessly lost. Then in 2001 the Lotus Esprit was found in a New York storage container purchased for $100 (£64), and subsequently sold at the RM Auctions house in London for $860,000 (£550,000). The Long Island building contractor who bought the storage container initially had no idea what he had purchased.
Critiques | Translate
COSTANTINO (70264) 2017-03-28 9:27
Helo dear Bulent and have a nice time
and a happy new day
what coud I say for this Photo?
sometimes one photo is one thousand
words original version
ikeharel (79263) 2017-03-28 9:57
Outstanding red color and great clear picture that made me think for a minute this is a digital era picture, so distinct it is. Well done and special moment taken on photo.
Nicou (152118) 2017-03-28 10:11
Génaile compo une voiture bateau quelle iamge et cpatage quelle vue et ocmpo sueprbe ce rouge l'homme et son cahpeau de paille sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié
cornejo (47302) 2017-03-28 10:26
Hello Bulent, very good photograph of this interesting amphibious car, very well captured in this interesting image, with good clarity, light, color and quality. Very good and interesting work perfectly done, my congratulations, my friend. Thank you for sharing this beautiful work.
Good afternoon and happy week.
Affectionate greetings from the south of Spain.
papagolf21 (110446) 2017-03-28 11:47
Bonjour, cher ami Bulent,
C'est tout à fait dans l'esprit anglais, de voir ce pilote coiffé d'un canotier et le bras à la portière comme si cela relevait d'une normalité quotidienne.
Energysavingelk (2928) 2017-03-28 11:52
yes, they were manufactured in Germany, and I remember seeing some in the seventies. Their performance as boat were poor. They rode on very high heels, which means that the distance between bottom and road surface was significant, exceeding that of a modern SUV by far. A red one was rare, and the british version with right side steering wheel should be even rarer. The driver with his straw hat (which in German we call "Kreissäge" = disk saw) is a highlight!
Regards from Germany
lousat (98367) 2017-03-28 13:33
Hi Bulent,what a quality! It seems a pic made today and not with a old film camera. A very lucky opportunity to see and take this piece of cars history,i thought to one of the modern and funny boats that i seen on the river of Prague or Lyon,but it's different reading your note. A very interesting post,i like it! Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano
emka (107851) 2017-03-28 14:12
Hello dera Bulent, How funny this car in the river. Amusing picture. You were lucky to have your camera ready. Splendid view . Excellent quality for the thirty years old photo. Kind regrad s MAlgo
macjake (73063) 2017-03-28 15:47
this is just another typical rainy day in Vancouver!
Heck, In fact I think you took this photo today in Vancouver :)
another well informed note for us to read, that always makes the photo that much better and more interesting.
I like that you added in the boats at the top of the frame, its as if the owner of the 'car' is saying "to hell with you all" haha
Fis2 (107518) 2017-03-29 0:36
I like colors and depth.
Royaldevon (43965) 2017-03-29 1:43
I read your notes with interest as I just could not believe this was anything other than a James Bond movie set!
What a sight!
The wake reveals that this car is moving and not slowly sinking!
Well seen and well captured!
My warm regards,
CLODO (35956) 2017-03-29 3:57
I have only see that scene in a film or during a Top Gear show!
Excellent, right out of the fashion Henley regatas!
holmertz (59760) 2017-03-29 4:20
This is great fun and very eye-catching. Seeing a car moving through the water is a photo opportunity not to be missed, and if the floating car happens to be red it should be compulsory for anyone with a camera to document it. Your description confirms that this was not a totally rational vehicle, which the manufacturer also seems to have realized already after four years.
jhm (161013) 2017-03-29 4:37
We are not real neighbours on TE but one picture between.
The man with strew hat, shows his Amphicar Model 770 on a proud way.
The real English sire but no bowler hat.
Sharpness and clarity are perfect photographed.
Very well done, TFS.
samson (2142) 2017-03-30 4:20
Is this a car that looks like a boat, or a boat that looks like a car.
The man is sitting in water? Just thinking: if there is a door, definitely the water will seep in.
Motto of the day: Always have camera ready.
BWJ (3094) 2017-03-30 6:17
What an amazing, attention getting shot of the red Amphicar! Like many things in life being in the right place at the right time brings success. You were in the right setting to capture this treasure photograph. The quality of the scanned 1986 picture is excellent as is your description; a learning experience for me. I had never seen an Amphicar. A superb post!
Tue (43938) 2017-03-30 10:15
A really nice photo from your archives with this funny shot of this amphicar and the man (and its nice hat) driving (?) has car down the river. The real boats make a nice background.
mcmtanyel (29752) 2017-03-30 22:28
Selamlar Bülent Bey,
What a delicious photo from 30+ years ago! I have seen the likes of this car only in museums. Your film photography skills are excellent, very well done!
claudeD (41890) 2017-03-31 6:25
wonderful funny picture showing this amphicar in action. Very interesting note. I like the shot very much. TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg
rychem (43412) 2017-03-31 7:49
Perfect quality of the scanned photo, it is an documentary photo of a very attractive car :)
I like it very much, in those days the object of sighs, very well captured
worldcitizen (9454) 2017-03-31 16:44
This is definitely not something you see everyday, and it's an amusing capture. I like the cherry red color, and the flag. The red, white, and blue color scheme continues in the entire photo, including the boats in the background. To my eyes, there seems to be a bit of a blue cast in this shot, so I tried a simple WS to tweak the colors. :-)
abmdsudi (58302) 2017-03-31 21:56
This amphicar always generates ton of responses and for good reason, there are very few vehicles that did this. But i think the best part is the look on peoples faces when you motor down the boat ramp and splash into the river and cruise off...
It's amazing to see but don’t take them in salt water, as they are serious rusters. Great record shot, Congrats.
kasianowak (10605) 2017-04-02 4:36
I've never seen this before, thanks for sharing! The car-boat looks even better on the bluish background with out of focus boats to compare it to.
Have a nice Sunday
ChrisJ (119013) 2017-04-07 4:36
Now I am going to have to look up the amphibious vehicle I went in with several other tourists somewhere near Cairns in far north Queensland back in the 80's. It was a strange experience. Wonder if this is for show, or can it can really drive out of the water onto land? Tfs!
Yep They are still running tours: