Most Expensive 1964 Amphicar 770 Ever Sells for $165,000, Has Tesla Battery Swap

The most expensive cars in the world are usually fast and powerful. The Amphicar 770 is neither of those things, but it’s rapidly turning into a popular collectible because it’s the world’s first series production amphibious car. This custom 1964 example dubbed the “AMP Car” just set an all-time auction record of $165,000 at Barrett-Jackson.

Only 3,878 Amphicars were produced from 1961 to 1965 and sold until 1968. They’ve always been popular collectibles, not only in America but also Germany and Austria. However, demand has gone through the roof in the past couple of years, and nobody knows why. At the 2022 Palm Beach auction, one sold for $161,700, and now a new record was set at the same venue.

However, while last year’s car was a 1965 model in perfect original condition, this one is something different. The AMP Car belongs to the private collection of Jeff Elson and received several mods at Gators Amphicars Florida.

Most notably, the original motor has been replaced with a Hyper 9V electric motor featuring 6 Tesla cells with a 232Ah capacity. Very interesting! It will supposedly do 110 miles on a full charge, and the whole thing is very nicely dressed up to view through a plexiglass window. The interior is also nicely laid out with a kind of rattan pattern on the seats, banana leaf patterned upholstery, and restomod gauges. We also couldn’t help but notice the LED headlights.

We couldn’t find out how much the EV engine makes, but the Amphicar usually came with a 43-horsepower 1.1-liter Triumph Herald engine, sold under license by the Germans. The car’s name “770” was supposed to mean it would do 7 knots on the water and 70 mph on the highway. In reality, this was quite a slow car and would become uncomfortable if you pushed past 50 mph.

We believe that fewer than 500 Amphicars are left in the US, even though this was their main market. Many have rusted away. I bet Florida is where you’ll find most of them. There’s a restaurant called Disney Springs in Orlando with a fleet of these things and they give out short rides for $120.

The Amphicar 770 was launched at the 1961 New York Auto Show, where it was in the company of such greats as the Jaguar E-Type, DS 19 by Citroen. It was made in West Germany and penned by industrial designer Hans Trippel, responsible for the Mercedes-Benz gullwing door. The concept was very similar to the VW Schwimmwagen, the 4×4 “swimming car” used by the Germans during the war.

They planned shells and parts to assemble 25,000. However, this proved a tough target, mainly due to the price: $3,395. By 1964, this dropped to $2,695, but that was still on par with the popular Ford Mustang which had just come out.

The Amphicar was also the favorite vehicle of US President Lyndon B. Johnson, who liked o terrorize guests at his Texas ranch by driving towards the late pretending the brakes had stopped working. It was quite the pop culture phenomenon in the 1960s, which might explain why it’s collectible. The 770 appeared in several movies and was even given away on The Price Is Right.

Some Amphicars were used by the Berlin police department. People really did want to believe this could be the car of the future, and the fact that it traversed both the English Channel and the Yukon River definitely helped.



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