Amphicars and Schwimmwagens!

Posted December 4, 2019


We drove cars into a river and they (mostly) didnt sink. Amphicars and Schwimmwagens are terrible cars, and terrible boats.
Watch to find out more!

The Amphicar Model 770 is an amphibious automobile, launched at the 1961 New York Auto Show, manufactured in West Germany and marketed from 1961 to 1968. Production stopped in 1965.

Designed by Hans Trippel, the amphibious vehicle was manufactured by the Quandt Group at Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde, with a total of 3,878 manufactured in a single generation.

A descendant of the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, the Amphicar offered only modest performance compared to most contemporary boats or cars, featured navigation lights and flag as mandated by Coast Guard — and after operation in water, required greasing at 13 points, one of which required removal of the rear seat.

The Amphicar’s engine was mounted at the rear of the craft, driving the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission. For use in the water, the same engine drove a pair of reversible propellers at the rear, with a second gear lever engaging forward or reverse drive. Once in the water, the main gear lever would normally be left in neutral. By engaging first gear as well as drive to the propellers when approaching a boat ramp, the Amphicar could drive itself out of the water. 

Production started in late 1960. By the end of 1963 complete production was stopped. From 1963-65 cars were assembled from shells and parts inventory built up in anticipation of sales of 25,000  units, with the last new build units assembled in 1965. Cars were titled in the year they actually sold rather than when they were produced, e.g. an unsold Amphicar assembled in 1963 or 1965 could be titled as 1967 or 1968 if that was when it was first sold, though the inventory could not be sold in the U.S. in the 1968 model year or later due to new environmental and USDOT emissions and safety equipment standards, they were available in other countries into 1968. The remaining inventory of unused parts was eventually purchased by Hugh Gordon of Santa Fe Springs, California

Song: Ikson – Don’t Worry Music promoted by Vlog No Copyright Music
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1919 Franklin Tour of America

Posted May 16, 2018

After collecting the coveted “Worst of Show” award at the Concours d’Lemons Georgia, Jim Eby plans to drive his 1919 Franklin to all the Concours d’Lemons events in the continental US, and we’d like you to help. If you live somewhere near the loosely outlined route of this road trip of near certain death you can help by offering up some garage space should something go terribly wrong and the 99-year-old Franklin require some repairs. Let us know by emailing your info to and we’ll set up a chain of folks with a few spare tools and more common sense than Jim.

The Franklin tops out at about 45mph so Jim will be traversing the country on back roads, not the interstates. Progress will be further slowed by having to stop every 100 miles or so to oil the top end of the Franklin’s inline 6 air-cooled engine. Jim estimates he will be able to do about 250 miles a day before daylight and his will to live run out for the day. If by some miracle, Jim or the Franklin don’t expire on the roadside, they will face stiff competition from the exceptionally horrible cars that turn up for Concours d’Lemons Michigan, July 28, 2018 at the Inn at St. Johns in Plymouth, MI and at Concours d’Lemons California on Aug. 25, 2018 at Seaside City Hall in Seaside, CA. We told Jim the best he can probably hope for is a hastily made up “Road Hammer” trophy, but he was undeterred. He cited the family history of his grandfather, who bought the Franklin new as his first car, and his father to take the Franklin on long road trips. It appears automotive insanity run deep in some families.

Look for Jim on the road somewhere near these areas:

July 21, 2018 – Leave St Petersburg

Chattanooga TN (possible Coker Tire, Ruby Falls, etc)

July 27-29  – Plymouth, MI (Concours d’Lemons, Concours d’Elegance of America)

Jackson, MI

Traverse City, MI (visit Hagerty Insurance)

Mackinac Bridge crossing
Spring Lake Park, MN (Odyssey Restorations, Franklin friendly restoration shop)

From here, generally follow near, around or on US2 west
Grand Forks, ND
Minot, ND
Glasgow, MT
Shelby, MT

Glacier Park, MT (either US2 or Going to the Sun Pass)

Kalispel, MT
Spokane, WA
Portland, WA

Seattle, WA

Florence, OR (probably drive 101 all the way to SF, maybe follow some of the Pebble Beach tour route)

Oakland, CA (Alloy Motors hot rod shop)

Santa Cruz, CA

Aug 21-26 Monterey, CA (Concours d’Lemons, Monterey Auto Week)

Bakersfield, CA (5 acre Franklin bone yard, Crystal Palace, Buttonwillow Raceway)

Palm Springs, CA

Gotta do some Rt 66 somewhere along here

Phoenix, AZ (almost all my in-laws live there)

Across New Mexico

Somewhere in Central Texas (this part isn’t that well defined as of right now)
New, Orleans, LA

Then skirt along the gulf coast to hwy 19 in Florida and home.

The not set in stone route of Jim’s ill-conceived Tour to all of the Concours d’Lemons shows
Jim’s grandfather took the Franklin on a cross country road trip in 1929. Photo taken in the CA Desert.
Newspaper article about Jim’s father taking the Franklin on a long road trip in 1947

Concours d’Lemons at HooptieCon CA 2018

Posted March 28, 2018

What happens when Billetproof, Concours d’Lemons, Radwood, Gambler 500 and Lemons Rally participants all get together at a 24Hour of Lemons race? HooptieCon is what happens. Brainchild of 24Hours of Lemons “Chief Perpetrator”, Jay Lamm, the inaugural HooptieCon at Sonoma Raceway on March 25, 2018 gathered all the misfit and oddball automotive events in one place to hilarious and amazingly fun result. While the usual whacky and terrible $500 Lemons race cars hurtled around Sonoma Raceway’s famed 2.52 mile road course shedding parts, spectators could take in traditional hot rods and customs (Billetproof), the worst of the automotive world (Concours d’Lemons), ‘80s and ‘90s cars complete with period dress, music and video games (Radwood), and ill-advised on and off road rally vehicles (Gambler 500 and Lemons Rally). As if half serious, half comical racing and all the oddball car shows weren’t enough, there was an Engine Heat BBQ Cook Off, a Crap-Cannes Film Festival and parade laps of the track for show participants. While judging the Cook Off, Alan Galbraith, self-described “Head Gasket” for Billetproof and Concours d’Lemons, remarked “Hands down, the best meal I’ve ever had cooked using only endurance racing-generated engine heat.”

To cap off what was an already full day of automotive fun, Radwood and the Concours d’Lemons bestowed Best and Worst of show honors/horrors to lucky/unlucky participants. Jon Sohaei took home Radwood’s Best of Show for displaying a very rad 80’s Lamborghini Jalpa, while the owner of the 1990 Cadillac Allante that took home the Concours d’Lemons Worst of Show trophy wished to remain anonymous, lest he be kicked out of the inexplicably fustian Allante Owners Club. “It is a day filled with automotive fun and idiocy, and we are just dumb enough to do it again next year,” remarked Jay Lamm.

Worst of Show winning 1990 Allante

Concours d’Lemons Georgia 2017 Photos

Posted May 5, 2017

Have you ever used the words “Over-restored Cosworth Vega” in a sentence? Neither had we until the 2017 Georgia Concours d’Lemons. While the rainy weather kept many from showing up the Cosworth Vega club showed up in strength. Tim Seaman took home “Worst of Show” honors with his “Over-restored Cosworth Vega”, becasue who does that to a Cosworth Vega? We are glad someone did. American Rustbelt Junk honors went to Kelly Ott and his lengthy 1977 Lincoln Continental Town car. The French Legion of Horror award was taken home by a Citroën 2CV that stayed at home… it couldn’t mkae it up a steep rain slicked driveway. After all the awards were given out the assembled crowd stayed under cover in the Grassroots Motorsports tent and exchanged stories of using their Hagerty Insurance roadside assistance services.