What do you call a boat/car? It’s an Amphicar.

This amphibious boat/car promised to revolutionize drowning.  Actually, it’s an Amphicar that we enjoyed following on Wisconsin’s Lake Noquebay in our boat.
My beautiful picture This Amphicar was the peacetime descendant of the German Schwimmwagen.  They were known as the “Model 770″ and only 4,000 were built between 1961 and 1965.  The “770″ referred to the fact that it could do 7 knots (about 8 mph) in the water and 70 miles per hour on land.  It’s considered the fastest boat on land and the fastest car on the water.

I imagine you can’t wait to buy one.  A rust-free “swimmer” might cost anywhere from $10,000 to as much as $50,000, depending on its condition.  The car is made of steel and naturally prone to rust, so upkeep with paint and lots of wax is mandatory.
My beautiful picture
While waterborne, the front wheels serve as rudders, so turning the steering wheel right will take you to “starboard” and turning left will allow you to drive to “port”.  The one thing that doesn’t work is the brakes.  Halting a floating Amphicar works the same way you stop any other boat: you throw the props into reverse.
Amphicar with LBJ
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson enjoyed playing practical jokes.  While driving his amphicar on his Texas ranch, he took visitors for what became the scariest ride of their life.  He would shout “The brakes don’t work!  The brakes won’t hold!  We’re going in!  We’re going under!” while driving them downhill into his lake.

The Japan-based Fomm Company feels these cars could be useful in flood-prone areas.  They have developed an electric, waterproof car that could theoretically keep people mobile during natural disasters.  Would you feel safer during a Tsunami in one of these cars?

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