EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Automakers put their best foot forward when it comes to designing safe and fuel efficient vehicles. It always hasn’t been that way, however.
There was a vehicle designed with amphibious adventure in mind.
It’s the joys of summer; the open road; a convertible; a lake; that’s not good unless, of course, you’re driving an Amphicar.
“We’re a little lost; which direction is highway 55,” jokes one driver.
It’s part car; part boat. There are only about 400 left in the world.
They were manufactured in Germany for just a few years in the 60′s. Amphicars now sell for $50,000 or more
This looks like the most fun vehicle you could ever have, and for a group of six friends in Minnesota, it’s all about the fun.
One driver says, “It really is an attitude. You can’t take yourself too seriously. It really is a bad car and a bad boat and it tends to make people smile.”
They only go about 60 miles per hour on land, seven in the water, but the Amphicar has always been like something straight out of a spy movie
“Do you feel like James Bond?” the reporter asks.
“Sometimes; depends what I am wearing,” says one driver.
There is always a small moment of panic, but with propellers in the back and seals on the doors the Amphicar is actually a pretty seaworthy ride; most of the time.
A driver reminds us, “There is one plug in the car and it is important you put that in.”
“And you forgot?” the reporter asks.
“Maybe I didn’t do that once,” the driver confesses.
The quirky little cars can be tough to maintain. They’re made of steel which means rust. It’s a reason the Amphicar never took off in mass production.
Now there’s literally just one place to buy spare parts, but for all its foibles one driver says, “It kind of drives like a truck.”
There’s no denying the 50-year-old cars can make anyone feel like a kid again.
One of the owners says, “If you own them, you will have the times of your life.”
On the lake or on the land, Amphicars, in decent condition, are still available; you just need to know where to look.
NewsChannel 4 found a partially restored 1963 Amphicar with 2,000 miles on EBay for $50,000.
Kristen Dahlgren reporting for NBC News.