Welcome to the Apocalypse, Now Is the Time to Pick Up an Amphibious Car
We’ve all had those feelings of doom and gloom. Fortunately, this is the week to pick up a cool car capable of traversing both land and sea.
If you're picking up big end of the world vibes right now, you're not the only one. From out-of-control fires to a worldwide pandemic, record-breaking hurricanes, economic woe and more, it all just seems like too much.
Friends, you need to be prepared. I'm not just talking about keeping stool softeners on hand for when you inevitably break into the MREs, either. You need a vehicle capable of traversing both land and sea. When Earth hurtles into nuclear winter from a baby shower mishap or whatever, you'll be the smart one in the amphibious car.
Luckily for us, this appears to be the week to pick one up, with two of the most interesting models ever made up for sale.
Road & Track found not one, but two Amphicar 770s for sale. Only 4,000 Amphicars were ever made, so it's relatively rare to find one. They're cute convertibles that just happen to go in the water, so people always viewed them as a bit of a novelty.
Yet that same novelty makes them the ideal cars for if-and-when some category-5 Hurricane Zzyzx finally returns your hometown to the Gulf. These were a favorite of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who sometimes liked to scare guests at his ranch by feigning a brake failure as he barreled into a lake, according to Business Insider.
Up for sale on eBay is a 1964 Amphicar 770 with just 1,981 miles. The current owners say that they never drove it in water and that you'll need to test the seaworthiness out on your own, but it looks to be in fine shape. You'll have to visit the listing itself to appreciate all of the listing's numerous nautical puns, but as of this writing, it sits at $12,100 with a reserve unmet. Look, it's a small price to pay for having the coolest ride in Waterworld.
If you'd rather not risk it because at this rate, someone devising a giant laser beam to melt the polar ice caps would fit right in with this year, there's also this fully restored 1967 Amphicar 770, also up on eBay. It has only 1,787 miles on the odometer and comes complete with life jackets and oars just in case, but those key extras come at a premium. The owner's buy-it-now price is $79,900.
Perhaps you also want to be prepared for any surprise asteroids that wipe out most of humanity and leave Earth a crater-pocked doomscape. Why not be prepared for both horrifying scenarios with this rugged 1944 Volkswagen Type 166 Schwimmwagen up for sale on Bring a Trailer?
The Schwimmwagen, like the beloved Beetle and Thing, is an aircooled Volkswagen with roots in the wrong side of history. However, it's one of the most interesting aircooleds ever made, as it's an amphibious military vehicle that's also ready to off-road. Like the Thing, it was based on another off-road military Volkswagen: the Type 82 Kübelwagen. The Schwimmwagen comes with a four-speed manual transmission hooked up to a two-speed transfer case, rear portal axles, and locking front and rear differentials. Its propeller is retractable to keep it out of harm's way when needed.
This is a pretty complete package, as the listing says it comes complete with a paddle, a shovel, numerous spare parts, records and even a replica Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon that's ready for display in a museum just in case Earth doesn't get tossed into a nightmare dimension for the ultimate viral TikTok. (Hey, all bets are off for this year.)
The seller says it was refurbished in Germany in the 1980s and they've done a bunch of recent work themselves since they acquired it in 2020, including rebuilding the carburetor, adjusting the valves, and adding new braking components, fresh fuel hoses and a new battery. It's also not cheap, though, with the current bid sitting at $85,000 with five days to go.
We realize that some of you are justifiably concerned that climate change is part of the issue (particularly the fires and storms), or that you may be worried about a Mad Max-style resource-barren hell world where the basic fluids to keep an internal combustion engine running become impossible to find. You could always stash the numbers-matching original engine in a bomb-proof box inside a bug-out bunker and go about rigging some on-car solar panels to an electric drivetrain, Looper-style. It's up to you.
Yet if you keep the original engines in there, these amphibious vehicles are powered by some of the simplest ones you can find. You'll have no worries about complicated computer systems and your right-to-repair here. The Amphicars are powered by a 70-cubic-inch four-cylinder Triumph Herald engine that's about as close to an old-school tractor's as you can get without getting "John Deere Green" stuck in your head. That's connected to a relatively simple four-speed manual transmission, too.
The Schwimmwagen, of course, has a Type 1 aircooled Beetle engine in the back—one of the simplest, most modular engines ever made. The seller believes that this particular example has an updated 36-hp Type 1 from the 1950s under the period-correct shrouds and air cleaner. Even I, a noted twenty-ply wuss, can hold an aircooled block, which is made easier by the fact that the cylinders are removable.
Admittedly, amphibious cars are always a bit of a compromise—not a great car and not a great boat—but we're having to make a lot of compromises in the year of our garbage 2020 already, aren't we? Either way, learning to live with a half-boat, half-car creation could be worth it to own a truly unique vehicle regardless of what the future has in store.
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