ORCHARD ISLAND — Is it a boat? Or a car? Or both? Indian Lake residents Larry and Pat DePasquale own what appears to look like a car, but the funny thing is, it drives on both roads and in the water.
Incredibly, they can wake up in the morning, get in their Amphicar, drive it right down their driveway, off the island they live on and straight into Indian Lake, right into the water!
Then they can drive it all over the lake and when they’re done, drive it straight home and right back up their driveway, without ever getting out of the vehicle.
So, what is this thing? Is it a car or a boat? Well, it’s both actually. It’s called an Amphicar and you can drive it on land or water. It’s kinda crazy and cool at the same time.
These quirky antique hybrid “fish out of water” vehicles have been around since 1961. All 3,878 of them were manufactured in West Germany between 1961 and 1968 with the majority being sold in America.
The Amphicar can go 70 miles per hour on land and 7 knots on water and gets a whopping 35 miles per gallon of fuel. It’s powered by a 4-cylinder Triumph Herald motor that produces 43 horsepower and has two propellers. They sold for around $3,000 when new in the ’60s and now go for as much as $124,000. Legally, they must be registered as a car and a boat.
This year will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Amphicar with a huge celebratory event, “swim-in” and festival to be held at Grand Lake St. Marys in Celina in late July.
The DePasquales, who are long time members of the International Amphicar Owners Club (IAOC) have been working very hard organizing and coordinating the July event. Pat is the treasurer of the IAOC and Larry is the Celina Coordinator and newsletter editor.
Production of the only commercial amphibious car ever made ceased 50 years ago, yet the allure and attraction of the Amphicar continues. In popular culture, Amphicars have appeared in many movies, including the Avengers. President Lyndon B. Johnson was an owner of an Amphicar. Also, incredibly, two Amphicars crossed the English Channel in 1965, fighting gale-force winds and 20-foot waves.
Amphicar owners and enthusiasts from all over the world will gather in Celina until July 29 for festivities, frolic and fun. A record turnout is expected for this momentous event. In fact, they will be attempting to break the world record of 70 amphibian cars at one one event. Currently, organizers have 65 of the vehicles registered and more are being added each day, with a goal closer to 100.
Amphicar owners from all over will be attending this event including Texas, Louisville, Ohio, Canada, Georgia, Michigan, California and Arkansas.
There will be a “swim-in” at the lake during the festivities which means over 60 Amphicars will be on the water. That should be quite a sight to see, whether you think it’s a car you’re seeing on the lake or a boat or both!