Start of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, 1971

Start of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, 1971
Super Yachts
Image by State Library of New South Wales collection
Format: 1 photonegative – 35 x 24 mm.

Notes: The Amphicar was a German vehicle manufactured 1960-1968. It was the first commercially produced amphibious car and used a Triumph Herald engine over the rear axle to power the wheels and twin propellors. In the water, the front wheels acted as rudders. The body was steel.

From the collections of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Information about photographic collections of the State Library of New South Wales

Persistent url:


  1. Fabulous! The bodywork looks reasonably Heraldish too. Though I don’t think the Herald had little fins on the rear wings like that. And obviously it had a radiator grille.

  2. I’m amazed that we’re not all driving amphibious cars now. In Sydney you’d get far more use of of one than a 4 wheel drive.

  3. These cars also used parts from Mercedes Benz. If I’m not mistaken, the transmission was produced by Daimler-Benz. A 1966 model 770 recently sold at RM Auctions for $44,000 []

  4. LOL—–something similar to mine eh???LOL
    don’t think James Bond would be seen in this one though!!

    thanks for coming and visiting me picklingtures!!

  5. I saw one of these once on a visit to Oban in Scotland, must have been about 67-68. Good to see more information about it. Thanks

  6. Wow so epically cool!!! I dig this shot!!

    My name is Traci and I am just beginning a brand new group on flickr, your photograph struck me and I would love to have it added to my group! Come add it and bring some others along too!

    Awesome shot! Come add it to our pot!

    shot luck
    You are invited to join and add your photo to the
    Shot Luck! I got lucky on this shot!

  7. To help seal out the water there was a secondary latch in the bottom of each door panel. You either pushed it down or or rotated it somehow and it pulled the doors in tighter against the weatherstrips.

    Seen one on display this past summmer at Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska this past summer..

  8. Amphicar — It’s as much a classic as the Tucker, Delorean, Kaiser Darrin, Edsel, Chrysler Airflow and others that dared to be different.
    But personally, I’d rather have a 1937 boattail Cord, which wouldn’t even float.

  9. Wow- Way Cool!! I always wanted an Amphicar. I’d seen a few of them when I was growing up in Portland and I always thought it was so cool how they’d drive down the boat launch & into the water.
    Great shot.


  10. I saw one drive right into Clear Lake in California and tool around. Right down the boat ramp-I never forgot it!

  11. I remember seeing one as a kid in the 70’s. Fascinating things.
    I don’t suppose there are many left now.

  12. There is a red Amphicar just like this in use today in the Guarapiranga Reservoir in São paulo , Brazil. Such a sight!

  13. A former American president , I believe it was — John F. Kennedy, owned one. He used to shock his guest (sometimes foreign dignitaries) –by driving it into the water.

  14. My dad actually owned one of these …terrific fun watching peoples faces as you drive into the water!..LOL

  15. Gee, guess what the insurance would not cover?
    [assuming that it would have even have been available]
    Fire theft & collision?
    First: Collision with what… a pier, another boat or jet-ski a buoy, a swimmer in addition to collision with a car or land-based property.
    Capsizing, sinking, leak damage, fire.
    Drowning perhaps in combination to collision.
    Theft – Report as a stolen car or a boat?
    If you are an underwriter, does your boss hate
    you so much that he would have you work on
    something like this?

  16. bbbbbbbbbbbbeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutttttttttttttttiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiifffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuulllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

  17. I can remember when the Amphicars were new. It was said of them that they were typical amphibians. They could go on land and in the water but were not well suited to either.

  18. In Poland we have a book character, who is called "Mr. Samochodzik" (Mr Car), and he has the same vehicle. Nice picture 🙂

  19. I’d wear a life jacket if I were them.
    With all the wash from the nearby boats
    and wave, I’d want a bilge pump as well.

  20. How fun. I love that you have added the history for each picture. We found old glass negatives in my Grandmothers belongings when she passed. No one knew about them. We can only guess as to who they may be as they are from the 1850s approx. We wish we knew.

  21. Hi Deanna2003,
    Your glass negatives may be important and you should take them to your nearest city library, museum or historical society for advice. If they are from the 1850’s, they are fairly rare and early in the history of photography

  22. Love all these old shots capturing our history! So lucky to be able to go back and see what wonderful things people have done before us =)

  23. My brother, a professional skipper for Nautor yachts, had one. It leaked like hell and rusted away quite quickly. They should have made it out of stainless steel and fiberglass, then, maybe it would have had a chance.

  24. My dad bought one of those in 1968. It was a 64 model. Twin screws in the back, sealing door jams. It was way cool but way scary. Most of those things sank and that sea looks a bit rough! Mom sold it for 50 bucks

  25. Most of these ideas end up being good at neither task. This one is reputed to have been a bad car and worse boat 😉

  26. @your mistakes…. Good point, but to me it’s more the intrinsic value of being able to do two things with the same object. And… it just LOOKS cool.

  27. I saw one of these at my uncles boat yard when I was a young lad.My guess is the steel body didnt last long so they gave up on em.Suprised no one went fiberglass with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Protected by WP Anti Spam