Possible Engine Conversion


New Member
I have a 1989 VW Camper. When its second engine crapped out I discover than many VW owners put Subaru 2.5L engines in their old vans. It took me a few months but the trouble was well worth it.
So, that got me thinking. If someone were going to replace the engine in an Amphicar what engine would be best? I know "best" is a loaded term where different interests would lead to very different solutions. But, if you were only interested in reliability, weight, and quietness, what engine would fit best?

Arnold in Charleston


Arnold, I am building an Amphicar with a Toyota MR2 engine(twin cam 4 cyl) hooked to a VW bus trans, Gonna run hydrolic driven props with pump on engine. Drive train is mocked up,axels in, clutch hooked up, throttle in , waiting on $$$ for prop set up. Tom

Midwest Amphicar

Worlds Largest Amphicar Destination
I always liked the idea of a Honda Vtech. That would smoke the competition. Pics of Toms radical custom can be found at Hemmings site, search Amphicar in their blog area.
Later Dave

Craig Parada

Craig Parada
It's nice to know we have better choices of running gear than Cubans. The ability to triple the horsepower makes the already marginal suspension and brakes more than scary.

I like the concept of hydraulic-driven props or jet-drives to avoid all those seals. And there are many fine little diesels avaiable now, and those seem better for boats. Lengthening the hull (for better leg room and increased hull-speed), and so much more would be great for comfort, safety and performance, but that's what scratch-builts do.

Still. given the rarity of Amphicars, and the development of replica pieces, do we really need to bugger up any more Originals to create hotrods? It's your responsibility and right to do whatever feeds your needs, but I just can't cheer this.

Craig in Alviso, CA

Midwest Amphicar

Worlds Largest Amphicar Destination
Take a look at pic "how to dry an Amphicar". On a previous post. Taking an absolute rotted useless recyclable and making it an exciting exercise of imagination. Whats not to love? The "hot rod" I am building languished on the for sale section for almost a year. Destined to be a parts car. Hopefully soon to be driven. Plus the part I really like about custom .....My Gordons parts bill about $350. I hear the crowd cheering! Later Dave the Wave


Amphi Guru & Former IAOC President
Custom cars are a way that many that would otherwise be recycled and lost completely to have another life. Customs or "hot rods" are exciting and a well done one is art. There are so many Amphicars out there that having a few customs is very appealing to me. I have been setting aside parts for years now for mine. I have a vision and it will stand out even in a crowd of Amphicars.

I applaud Tom for his customs!!! Both Fin-Zilla and the Amphi-Baker were cars that were too far gone to restore economically. Dave's car is also in this category. I love originals, but many "restored" Amphicars are not completely correct anyway. Does it matter? No. We are unique in our hobby because we love 'em all!


I been day dreaming about a jet ski conversion for awhile. One on either side of the engine. Could use a modern in line four of some type with a trans axle and do away with the props. I can even see cutting the fenders to use larger diameter tires and giving the car a shallow V hull. A twin stick boat throttle to feather the jets and tie the jet nozzles into the steering wheel. Bet that would be a fun ride!