Spotlight on Put-in-Bay Amphicar Days Enthusiasts
Meet Billy Syx from Mays Landing, NJ, one of the world’s few Amphicar restoration experts who has brought his friends and his famous yellow car “SPLASH” to the Erie Islands every summer since 1999. Despite traveling to countless locations with his Amphicars, Lake Erie remains Billy’s favorite. He will be one to watch at the Put-in-Bay Amphicar Days.
Next up is Jon March from Glastonbury, CT, a child of the Jetsons era who grew up with Frank Zappa’s keyboard player as his best friend. Jon saw an Amphicar gassing up at the New York Worlds Fair in 1964 and knew he had to have one when he grew up. Although he never really grew up, he did end up getting an Amphicar. His motto is “Life’s short: drive into the water!” He always has great stories, and Amphicar fun to share.
Finally, we have Dr. Craig Oiler from Catawba Island, OH, who fell in love with the water at an early age and saw his first Amphicar about 30 years ago. He knew it was a good sign when an Amphicar photobombed his wedding to Jen on Put-in-Bay. Craig and his friend Brian Snyder are two of the newest owners in America of rare 1960s Amphicars and spend much of the summer at Park Place Boat Club on Put-in-Bay and is a regular at Put-in-Bay Amphicar Days
Are you interested in coming to this fun Put-in-Bay Amphicar Days? Contact our favorite lodging partners!
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The History Of Amphicars
Amphicars are the only fully functional amphibious vehicles ever mass-produced for the public. Manufactured by the German company Quandt Group from 1961 to 1968, they quickly gained a reputation as the ultimate status symbol of the 1960s.
The story of the Amphicar began in the early 1950s when Hanns Trippel, a former German military engineer, began designing amphibious vehicles for the civilian market. Trippel produced a series of prototypes, including the Amphibian, the Sea Lion, and the Trippelwagen, but it was not until he began working with the Quandt Group in 1958 that the Amphicar finally became a reality.
The first Amphicar model, the Model 770, went into production in 1961. The car was powered by a four-cylinder Triumph Herald engine and had a top speed of 70 miles per hour on land and 7 knots on water. The vehicle was designed with a fiberglass body and had four-wheel drive to make it more maneuverable on the water.
Amphicars quickly became popular among celebrities and the wealthy. Some notable owners included US President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had an Amphicar at his Texas ranch, and billionaire Howard Hughes, who owned several. The Amphicar was even featured in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice,” which was driven by 007 himself.
Despite its popularity, production of the Amphicar was short-lived. By 1968, the Quandt Group had produced around 4,000 units, but the company was struggling financially, and the Amphicar was not selling as well as they had hoped. The company ceased production in 1968, and the Amphicar became a rarity on the roads and waterways of the world.
Today, Amphicars are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Many surviving vehicles have been restored to their original condition, and a small number are still used for recreational purposes. Even a few Amphicar clubs organize gatherings and events for owners and enthusiasts, such as Put-in-Bay Amphicar Days.
Despite the relatively short production run of Amphicar, its impact on automotive and boating history cannot be overstated. The car’s unique design and functionality continue to capture the imagination of people worldwide, and the Amphicar remains a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of its creators. Join us for the fun at the Put-in-Bay Amphicar Days’