19-20 January 2017

Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection

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Lot 166

1966 Amphicar 770

  • Chassis no. 106 523 027

Sold for $73,700

43 bhp, 1,147 cc Triumph OHV inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, coil-spring independent trailing-arm front and rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 82.7 in.

  • Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection
  • The only commercially successful “car that swims”
  • Beautiful, well-maintained, and authentic restoration
  • Extensive history file of documentation and manuals
  • Always the crowd favorite in any collection or museum

Developed over a period of 15 years at a cost of $25 million, the Amphicar was debuted at the 1961 New York Auto Show, as the first fully amphibious vehicle sold to the public. Resembling a combination of 1957 Thunderbird and Glasspar ski boat, it was motivated by a rear-mounted four-cylinder engine, borrowed from the Triumph Herald and driving the rear wheels. On land, it drove like any other small European automobile of its day.

Upon reaching a boat ramp, the doors’ special watertight seals were locked into place, a bilge plug was installed, the front luggage lid was locked, and the car was driven—slowly—into the water. A lever then directed the engine’s power to dual rear propellers, and off the Amphicar went. The “captain” would steer his craft using the front wheels, which served as rudders. Putting the car into reverse in the water would spin the propellers in reverse, serving as a brake, much as on conventional boats. For returning to shore, both the rear-wheel drive and the propeller drive could be operated at the same time.

About 3,878 Amphicars were built between 1961 and 1968. The majority, as planned, were exported to the United States, where they sold for $3,395, a price comparable to the Austin-Healey, to buyers that included President Lyndon Johnson. Surviving Amphicars are restored and enjoyed by enthusiastic owners’ clubs worldwide.

The car offered here was owned as early as 1972 by Sidney Armistead of Anchorage, Alaska, who obviously loved his Amphicar; he retained ownership of it until 2004, and along the way accumulated an exhaustive collection of materials devoted to keeping it running. In 2004 the car passed to another Alaskan owner, then, shortly thereafter, to Eugene “Gino” Francavilla of Jupiter, Florida. In Mr. Francavilla’s ownership the Amphicar was painstakingly restored to its present condition, in the attractive factory color of Lagoon Blue. Correct parts for the authentic restoration were sourced from several Amphicar experts. The restoration was judged Most Unique at the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance in 2009, and it won Best Amphicar at the Classic Boat Show in Mount Dora, Florida.

Close inspection of the Amphicar shows that the body is very solid and in excellent overall condition, especially underneath, which is extremely clean. The interior is virtually new, showing little use, appropriate to the 12,200 miles recorded at the time of cataloguing. It is accompanied by receipts relating to the restoration, a CD of photographs, and a large collection of information that will help keep the Amphicar on the road and afloat, including an owner’s manual, maintenance and repair manuals, and repair diagrams for the bilge pump.

One of the nicest Amphicars to recently come to market, this car is perhaps the most fun for the money to be found. It is a surefire crowd-pleaser, from Lake Havasu to Bay Harbor!

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more