Celebrating Two Decades of Amphi-Car Fun at the Celina Lake Festival

A special anniversary and celebration is taking place this July for the Amphicar, the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass-produced.  This year marks the 20th anniversary that the International Amphi-Car Owners Club has attended the annual Amphi-Car Swim-in at the Celina Lake Festival.  Everyone loves seeing these little vehicles drive on land and then splash-into the water and become a boat.    3,878 Amphi-Ccars were built in Germany from 1961 to 1968.  Of those cars, 3,046 were imported into the United States. It is believed that there are less than 600 sea-worthy still in existence today.


The Amphi-Car has a top speed of 7 mph on water and 70 mph on land.  An Amphicar is moved in the water by its twin nylon propellers. A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes (makers of the Porsche transmission) allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously. The “land transmission” is a 4-speed-plus-reverse unit similar to those found in the old Volkswagen Beetles. The “water transmission” is a 2-speed offering unique to the Amphi-Car featuring single forward and reverse gears. In the water, the front wheels act as rudders.


When new, an Amphi-Car sold for between $2,800 and $3,300, depending on the year.  All Amphi-Cars are convertibles and were originally offered in only 4 colors: Beach White, Regatta Red, Lagoon Blue and Fjord Green (Aqua).   You will find many today that have been customized with paint and accessories. Some of the more unique include one adorned with Pink Flamingoes, one painted to resemble the Bat Mobile and another to resemble a huge Rubber Ducky.


Each year 30 to 40 members of the International Amphi-Car Owners Club bring their vehicles for an appearance at the festival.  You will begin seeing the cars on Tuesday and Wednesday of festival week as they drive around town and cruise along in the lake.  Their official festival appearances include a Swim-In on Friday evening and you can see the entire contingent of Amphi-Cars as they take part in the Grand Parade on Saturday evening.


The Celina Lake Festival, set for July 26-28, 2019, offers plenty of summer fun for the entire family including a huge collector car show, a fun car/boat poker run, a large craft show, free boat rides, a 5K run and music by the Decades on Friday night.  On Saturday night, RockHouse takes the stage.  Sunday is a special treat for the kids with lots of free fun including a kids fishing derby, pontoon rides, kiddie tractor pull, archery and canoeing,   Along with the Amphi-Cars, other top attractions this year will be the Friday night, Fabulous Fireworks over the lake and the Saturday evening Grand Parade.


The Celina Lake Festival takes place in Celina, Ohio, July 26–28 at Lake Shore Park along the northwest corner of Grand Lake St. Marys.  Admission and parking are free. More information about the festival is available at CelinaLakeFest.com