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Amphicar makes a splash Sydney Harbour

Is it a car? Is it a boat? No, it’s a 1960s Amphicar which has left local Sydney residents stunned after driving effortlessly down a ramp and into the harbour for a cruise.

Almost 60 years after being first launched into Sydney Harbour, the amphibious vehicle made a splash on Friday before heading to the Gosford Classic Car Museum, which has purchased the 1966 Amphicar 770.

An estimated 4000 Amphicars were made back in the 1960s with only about 100 remaining in the world.

Three or four of those are thought to be in Australia, says the museum’s head mechanic Jason Fischer, who is delighted to have one of the unique and rare automobiles in NSW.

“We’ve just imported it from the United States. We buy some weird and wonderful cars at the museum and this is definitely one of them.”

He explains that the vehicle is built like a boat with wheels, with rubber seals that line the edges of the doorframes, and a four-speed gearbox to make the transition from road to water seamless.

“You literally drive it like a car, then to go in the water you drive it down the boat ramp, select neutral, select the propellers, and then you’re away,” Mr Fischer told AAP.

The automobile can travel 11km/h on water and 110 km/hr on land, with drivers requiring both a boat and car licence to operate it.

Before many of today’s bridges were built, Rod Radford was one of the first Australians to purchase an Amphicar, with the NSW Central Coast pharmacist using it for dropping off medical supplies to patients.

“From his house in Wagstaff, he would drive his Amphicar in the water across to Umina, dropping prescriptions off to people, all in a normal day’s work,” Mr Fishcer told AAP.

Meanwhile, a favourite pastime of former US president Lyndon B Johnson was to plunge his Amphicar headfirst into a dam, proclaiming the brakes on http://gbsinternational.blogspot.nl/2017/03/tgw-107-gearbox-repair_6.html what appeared to be a regular road car had suddenly failed.

Startled friends would soon find out that particular car was designed for driving on land and in the water.

The Gosford Classic Car Museum is home to more than 400 classic cars with a value of $70 million.

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