Home » German Car Spotting: Using An Amphicar The Wrong Way

German Car Spotting: Using An Amphicar The Wrong Way

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While David is in Germany he made a sacred promise to me on the eternally-glowing brake rotor that powers all of the Autopian: to send me any pics of interesting cars he sees while he’s over there, explaining to his mother that it’s really not all that weird that he’s pals with/started a business with a guy 20 years older than him. He started off with a great one: these pictures of an Amphicar 770 being towed by what would be a pretty unlikely tow vehicle here in America, a 2010-ish Mercedes-Benz CLS. But here’s the thing: whoever owns this lovely Amphicar seems to be doing it wrong.

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The problem isn’t with the Amphicar 770 itself: it appears to be in fantastic shape, and I think the blacked-out chrome look is actually really working for this, and is a look I’ve not seen on an Amphicar before, which tend to play up the car’s kitch value with all the chrome. The blacked-out trim here makes the car feel purposeful and a touch more aggressive, which, when added to a car that’s already pretty cute, results in a fantastic look for a car: plucky.

But what’s wrong here is that if in fact this Amphicar is capable of being driven, it should be driven to whatever water it’s likely being taken to, because that is the entire point of an amphibious car: you don’t need to trailer it! It’s not a boat! It’s absolutely capable of being driven on land, and then plunging into the water with the confident aplomb of a porpoise! That’s the magic of the car!

Sure, maybe you won’t enjoy the comforts of a Mercedes-Benz on the way, but that’s not the point! You can deal with a bit of discomfort if it means knowing that you’re using one of the only cars in the world capable of this very specific achievement to its fullest! A car you can drive on the autobahn, and then leap into the sea! Or lake or river or estuary or whatever!

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Sure, the little 1148cc Triumph engine only made about 43 horsepower, but that was enough to get the little boat-car to 70 mph, which is adequate for autobahn travel, at least in the slow lane. They could have done it, is all I’m saying.

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From the rear, that Amphicar looks like it’s looking right at David, locking headlight-eyes with him, peering deep into his soul. It also looks a bit angled on that trailer, doesn’t it? That all looks a bit wonky. Still, I do love European trailer taillights. Look at that nice combination of triangles and squares!

Hopefully we’ll get more good car spotting pics from David soon, so stay tuned!

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Maymar
Maymar
10 months ago

Doesn’t the Amphicar even have its own hitch? Throw the CLS on the trailer and see just how plucky the Amphicar is!

I mean, not on the Autobahn, but in a pinch, side roads would probably work?

05LGT
05LGT
10 months ago

It seems a good deal more likely that this is being trailered to a car show than a boat launch.

Jb996
Jb996
10 months ago
Reply to  05LGT

Look at you. Bringing reality into it!

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
10 months ago
Reply to  05LGT

Or the owner is bringing home their new Amphicar and trailering it because they drove the Mercedes there already and the Amphicar isn’t registered yet. Also this is Germany, right? Who knows if the Amphicar even passes TUV, they might not be able to legally drive it until it gets further repairs.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
10 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

It looks registered to me, but those are seasonal plates (Saisonkennzeichen). Unlikely that it would not be registered in July, but always a possibility.

https://allaboutberlin.com/glossary/Saisonkennzeichen

LuzifersLicht
LuzifersLicht
10 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Zooming in I believe it says 04-10 so April to October. Pretty sure on the 04 but don’t quote me on the 10.

Also the distance from Würzburg to Schweinfurt (SW on the plate) is maybe 40 kilometers, so yeah maybe towing wasn’t strictly necessary in this case. Assuming that’s the whole trip, maybe they’re just returning from the Portuguese coast I guess.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
10 months ago

The droopy number plate looks like a smile.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago

Amphibians are toad.

Jacob Rippey
Jacob Rippey
10 months ago

I want an Amphicar more than I care to admit.

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
10 months ago

Since it has an engine by Triumph, there exists the possibility that it’s simply broken.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
10 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

I was about to say—aren’t these kind of tough to keep afloat, too? Like, it could be on a trailer for the obvious reasons (sinks, doesn’t run, ???, Karlsruhe gave me a speeding ticket once and I haven’t forgiven the entire city since).

I still want an Amphicar really, really badly, though. Really, really, really badly. Give me the Amphicar.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

There’s no other way to own one than really badly. Their build quality ensures it.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
10 months ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

I still think someone should manufacture reproduction Amphicars (a la Peel P50 and Trident), but made out of fiberglass like a proper small boat, and of course with a more modern drivetrain – nothing crazy, just a wee bit more power and reliability, I’m thinking something along the lines of a turbocharged Kei car engine.

In most places as long as you build less than 500 a year, it should be plenty legal. And I’m sure 500 people somewhere would love to own a less troublesome Amphicar every year.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
10 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

that’d rule, TBH

ES
ES
10 months ago

if we’re replacing amphibians with mammals now, i’d replace porpoise with otter. the image of a porpoise thrashing through the grass, trying to return to the water is just a little too on the nose. cute little otter brings a little disneyfication.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

I think that’s someone who just purchased the Amphicar off of Bringen Sie Einen Anhänger Mit.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Ich weiß was ich habe

Gee See
Gee See
10 months ago

The car doesn’t look like it was secured that well.. with only the blue/green strap?

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Gee See

Two straps, left rear and right front, probably so the car’s diagonal distance will span the rails better as I suggested below. My guess is that the two unsecured wheels are only on the very edge of being supported, but it’s better to have it this way than the alternative of two on the same side being on edge.

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Having been there involved in trailering many old tiny European cars, can confirm that “wide ramp stance” can be a definite issue that needs to be dealt with.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
10 months ago

“Explaining to his mother that it’s really not all that weird that he’s pals with/started a business with a guy” that documented his chainsaw assault&battery.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
10 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

chainsaw assault on a battery

Fixed that for ya

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
10 months ago

I just hope he remembers to switch cars when he gets to the lake,

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

Where’s the fun in that?

Buzz
Buzz
10 months ago

Why are we Americans so afraid to use our cars to tow stuff? Mercedes says the towing capacity for a 2012 CLS 550 is “N/A,” but clearly it is capable of moving a two-axle trailer plus a car and a boat. What’s the deal?!?

https://media.mbusa.com/releases/release-60446fa91ae21c35d9b86e004ca378af-2012-mercedes-benz-cls550-technical-data

JDE
JDE
10 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

Back in the day when cars had proper steel frames they were usually good for 3-5 thousand lbs of towed goodness. depending of course on how good of a welder Uncle Frank was at the time.

Buzz
Buzz
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I love it, and that last picture is exactly what I mean. How and why have we convinced ourselves that we need these moronically huge vehicles to pull an aluminum boat or pop-up camper somewhere?

My Focus ST has a factory tow rating of 0lbs. You’re telling me it’s such a fragile car that the engine, transmission, and brakes will all explode if I pull anything heavier than a bike rack? It’s nonsense!

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

Here’s another shot of that last arrangement:

https://live.staticflickr.com/1269/4707393468_285e76548d_c.jpg

Even I will admit, however, that sometimes it’s nice to have a larger red tow vehicle when dealing with sufficiently sizable green towed vehicles:

https://live.staticflickr.com/3114/5716601092_8192732189_o.jpg

SLM
SLM
10 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

I just went see tow ratings for a fiesta ST on ford.fr (I’m french) and it’s rated for 1600kg. I think it’s because of regulations more than capacity

Fordlover1983
Fordlover1983
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

While my fleet is not that “unique”, I do put a trailer hitch on EVERYTHING! I have a homemade 6×10 utility trailer (used to be a pop-up camper) that has been behind an Aspire, Escort, Focus, Taurus, Mustang, Windstar and Ranger. It has a KS “under 2000” tag, but has been well over that a few times. None of my vehicles complained (much). I do use the bigger vehicles when I pull the other pop-up (the one we still camp in), but that’s usually highway miles, so more power helps!

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
10 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

American tow ratings are much stricter. Which may just be a product of Americans much more likely to have big truck to tow with in the first place (or even just the big heavy land yahcts when the regulations were being made.) States generally don’t have a trailer speed limit though, whereas Europeans do.

Last edited 10 months ago by Chartreuse Bison
Olaf Hart
Olaf Hart
10 months ago

This seems to be a cultural thing
North American tow ratings seem to be given with the idea that the driver can disregard the fact they are towing and carry on at any speed, with the trailer loaded however it falls. This leads to low tow ratings and excessively long drawbars.
Other places expect the driver to use some disgression and often have lower open-road speed limits.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
10 months ago
Reply to  Olaf Hart

At least in my state the rule of thumb for pulling trailers is that you have to go 5-10 mph slower than the speed limit. I think everyone here hates people with trailers as a result, but at least it maybe makes the road safer?

Phuzz
Phuzz
10 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

There are regulations on towing weights in the UK, but I’ve never met anyone who knew them. The general attitude is as long as you can get up the hills on your journey, then that’s sufficient towing capacity.
The US fixation on towing capacity does seem slightly weird to me. Especially in a country where every vehicle is powered by a massive V8.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
10 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

Because it’s more profitable to sell trucks and SUVs with current emissions regulations. Automakers thus want to encourage more people to buy trucks and SUVs, so they come up with excuses for why you need one and market the crap out of it. Therefore, the public has been led to believe that they need trucks and SUVs for towing, because that’s what the automakers told them, and normies who know nothing about cars can’t think for themselves so they don’t question it.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
10 months ago

The less David tells his mother about the Autopian, the less concerned she’ll be.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
10 months ago

“It also looks a bit angled on that trailer, doesn’t it?”

The car appears to be held in place with one strap around the right front tire and one around the left rear tire, so my guess is this is a solution to the problem of narrow older cars not fitting properly on the widely-spaced rails of modern rental trailers. I’ve been in a similar situation but haven’t had to resort to quite this approach.

10001010
10001010
10 months ago

But why is it crooked on the trailer?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
10 months ago

So guessing this, like most of DT’s crap, is not drivable. Them Germans have rules you know.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
10 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Ja. The TÜV has a reputation for being brutal on older vehicles.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
10 months ago
Reply to  UnseenCat

I prefer the stance my state seems to take. Old Car? Meh, its likely going to kill you anyway, so why bother wasting time and money pretending it can be “safer”

Windchaser
Windchaser
10 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

To keep it from killing other people.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Windchaser

Eh, win win so long as I’m not involved. (whistles a tune and walks off)

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