The First Mass-Produced Amphibious Automobile

The two-seat Amphicar made its formal debut in West Germany in 1961. It was the first amphibious automobile mass-produced for sale to the public. The Amphicar was outfitted with apparatus for both surf and turf, meeting all the requirements for use on roads and on water. It came with maritime equipment like oars (folded up under the passenger seat), flares, life jackets, a bilge pump, and navigational lights. On Sept. 17, 1965 at 8:50 a.m., two British Army officers — Captain Michael Bailey and Captain Peter Tappenden set out to cross the English Channel in the Amphicar. The crossing was anything but uneventful, with the Amphicar encountering high winds and a powerful rainstorm. It landed north of the French port city of Calais at 4:30 p.m. The men stayed overnight in Calais and then drove approximately 375 miles on land to Frankfurt, making history.