Great Amphicar Mods

Countdown Clock to Amphicar Forums Shutdown


Bill Connelly

The List has been a bit quiet this eve, so here are a few ramblings to fill
the void:

It's probably an open secret by now that Ol' Bilgey's a bit of a lubricant
fetishist, but I've still gotta tell folks that I got Rob Vondracek's
improved engine oil and land transmission dipstick assemblies in the mail,
and firmly believe that these would be fine and sensible additions to ANY
Amphicar...Slavish originality be damned. If his jack point plug-in
swimming step and all those other gimcracks Rob's been quietly developing
are of a similar quality of workmanship, then I must say that weighed
against the truly sink-or-swim barest survival issues one reads about in
those old newsletters of the 60's and 70's that I've been scanning lately
for the Club website, we are now truly living in a Golden Age of Amphicar
ownership. That land tranny filler and stick assembly of Rob's is quite
simply more than just some "make-do solution." It's really a work of
artistic beauty, with its the smooth hard alloy lathed and ribbed dipstick
knob gleaming like some still-in-box Klingon marital aid. Mmmmmm... Well,
must go and test my fluids now....

But first, with Rob's, Gord's, Dave's, Scott's, Roger's, Allan's, Hugh's,
John's, Chris' and others whose strivings towards the improvement of the
breed can be found on the Club Classifieds at I,
or one, feel lucky to own an Amphicar in 2004. And next time someone asks
me, "But what about parts?", I'll answer truthfully, "The parts situation is
better now than when they were in the showrooms." And I'll mean it.

Bring on Celina 2004 and a lakeside beachhouse!


Amphicar Expert
Drilled a hole into the Frame of a Amphicar and almost filled the pail with water.Water can get into the frame where the E brake passes threw the frame. I now weld a 3/8 Bolt to hole and plug with a bolt.(it can be removed in Future to drain waster) The hole is drill at front area behind front tire.


  • 101_1316.JPG
    265.2 KB · Views: 42
  • 101_1317.JPG
    296.4 KB · Views: 42

Looks like you know just where to drill the hole to hit the frame to drain the water. Can we see one that is done with the bolt plug installed?

Wonder how much water is in my frame?

Looks like you have 2 different ones in the picture.
Did you drill and tap threads, or weld them in place?

You are always ahead of the curve on modifications & I appreciate you sharing with the forum.


Active Member
Hi Mark,

I first listed the problem and fix around 2003 or 4 but not much was said about it for years . Gord has talked about it recently and by now I'm sure he's run into it on many cars. My white car failed first at the front left side. When I realized what a serious problem it was I added the inspection holes on both my cars. I also added the front drain option in case I had a nasty leak when I was away from my vacuum pump. That front drain shown in a picture is just brass plumbing parts from the hardware store with the one piece being cut short. Being brass parts, welding isn't possible but brazing is and that's how I installed them. Actually I suspect a clean, solid application with JB weld might also work but don't tighten the brass plug very hard. I show a rubber drain plug in one of the photos but never use it myself since my cars run so dry. Leaving them open allows warm engine air to dry out any humidity that might get into the rails. If you have a wet running car, you can always run with the plugs in to keep water out of the rails. All four of my frame rails had either some water in them or signs of water being there at one time and one of the cars hadn't been in water in years. The last car I restored for someone had tremendous damage in the frame rails. This is not a trivial problem and should not be ignored.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red

Frame Rail Repair 52.jpg

Frame Rail Repair 47.jpg

Frame Rail Repair 26.jpg
Last edited:


Amphicar Expert
Drilled a 3/8th hole in frame and weld a nut in, Bolt installed will have a copper washer.101_1331.JPG


  • 101_1330.JPG
    315.4 KB · Views: 4


Active Member
I've used a much simpler steering brace on my cars and it's worked fine for many years.

brace2.jpgSteering Brace 5.jpg

John Friese
67 White
67 Red


Amphicar Expert
Some other smaller mod..
#1. is to weld in an extension so seat can be moved back for bigger owners. #1379
#2. Move the cruse cable attachment down to the bottom of the gas pedal pivot.#1381 shows the way it was.
#3. att. an L bracket to voltage regulator to move out from under firewall so you can see the attachments.#1382101_1379.JPG


  • 101_1381.JPG
    273.2 KB · Views: 28
  • 101_1382.JPG
    219.5 KB · Views: 29


Active Member
Hi Gord,
I had to do such a seat modification on a car I restored for a guy some years ago. Strangely, that car had two sets of mounts, one of them even shorter than the normal mounts. The tall owner needed something more roomy than the standard mounts, so I welded on extensions the way you did.

A similar variation of your throttle hand control link was done by Amphicar in very late cars. It was slightly different in that they used a different triangle piece and ran it down the left side. I came up with an even simpler fix that works just as well and doesn't require any disassembly. I have sold a stainless steel version of this fix for a few years now.

All of the cars I've done are converted to negative ground with a Lucas alternator. I like that alternator because Triumph used it in many cars and you can get the mounts from a junk yard. They bolt right up and look factory correct because they are factory correct, but for later Triumphs. With this system all the wiring is moved to the Starter solenoid except for two wires that are tied together, taped and tucked behind the rear harness.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red