Amphicars at Disney


FED UP with the usual Mickey Mouse stuff at Disney World? Well, hereís an opportunity to demolish a seafood tower, keep the kids excited and get a ride in a piece of automotive history.

The section of the park formerly known as Downtown Disney has come in for a spruce up and rebranding and itís now known as Disney Springs. One of the culinary highlights is The Boathouse, and owner Steven Schussler has come up with a novel way of getting guests across the water to the restaurant.

Heís commissioned a fleet of Amphicars that chug across at seven knots driving into the drink from a special launch ramp. The reason why the Amphicar is so loved and such a commercial disaster is that most of them sank, which is clearly not a great look for Disney. To that end, the resort has ploughed thousands in bringing the cars up to date. Granted, the sinkings were largely because original keepers didnít put the drain plugs back in.

The Disney Amphicars get uprated bilge pumps, just one of 3200 components which were engineered specifically for The Boathouseís Amphicars. Thereís also a new ignition system, a revised engine cooling setup and re-engineered exhaust routing. Schussler estimates he spent around $70,000 on each car. Of the carís starting condition, Schussler explained, ďIt doesnít matter what condition theyíre in, they all need that work.Ē

Originally built in Germany between 1961 and 1968, itís estimated that fewer than 600 functional examples exist.

A rear-mounted Triumph 1147cc inline-four provides the power, to the wheels when on land and to twin propellers once you hit the water. The front wheels act as rudders to steer the Amphicar on water.

At $125, a 25-minute ride in an Amphicar isnít cheap but it serves up an automotive experience like no other.


President Lyndon B Johnson owned an Amphicar. Johnson would enjoy frightening visitors at his Texas ranch by driving them downhill in his Amphicar, directly into his property's lake, all the while shouting that his brakes had failed.