Story behind the Disney Amphicars

SNOWBIRD

Amphicar Expert
Both Dave and I have spent countless hours helping Steve get his Amphicars up and running!
They are always phoning me for info or a rare part the someone else does not have(Hmmm)
 

mschlem

Amphicar Expert & Former IAOC President
Should we "normal" users of Amphicars be concerned that Disney will be running through rare parts? It seems a shame if Disney is using up parts (for their business venture) that would take them away from everyday folks in the future.
I'm not saying those with parts shouldn't sell to Disney, I'm just asking if having Disney running Amphicars day in and day out creates a problem for the rest of us.

That leads to a broader question.....Is Disney good or bad for the Amphicar community?
I've always kinda thought that it was a bit demeaning to Amphi.

What do you all think?

Marc.
 

lelms

Gold Subscriber
Should we "normal" users of Amphicars be concerned that Disney will be running through rare parts? It seems a shame if Disney is using up parts (for their business venture) that would take them away from everyday folks in the future.
I'm not saying those with parts shouldn't sell to Disney, I'm just asking if having Disney running Amphicars day in and day out creates a problem for the rest of us.

That leads to a broader question.....Is Disney good or bad for the Amphicar community?
I've always kinda thought that it was a bit demeaning to Amphi.

What do you all think?

Marc.
I try to keep an open mind, but I keep having the feeling that our Amphis have been turned into a midway carnival attraction, next to the bumper cars and the freak show. I'd be interested in possibly having access to some of the 3200 new and improved parts.
 

mike_israel

Amphicar Forum Admin
Staff member
Should we "normal" users of Amphicars be concerned that Disney will be running through rare parts? It seems a shame if Disney is using up parts (for their business venture) that would take them away from everyday folks in the future.
I'm not saying those with parts shouldn't sell to Disney, I'm just asking if having Disney running Amphicars day in and day out creates a problem for the rest of us.

That leads to a broader question.....Is Disney good or bad for the Amphicar community?
I've always kinda thought that it was a bit demeaning to Amphi.

What do you all think?

Marc.

Its a good question. On the one hand, if Disney drives an increase in manufacture of repro parts, and those become available to others, it could be a good thing. Looks like they have been pretty creative in creating upgrades and substitutions but I do not think any of that has made its way to other Amphi owners. If they are simply hoarding and depleting unobtanium parts then the Amphi community will be hurt as a whole. Should they just buy out the entire inventory of Gordon Imports, we will all be left with museum pieces.

In reality, there is already a lot of parts hoarding that has occurred. I recall some guy in (in think MA) who has a warehouse of Amphis literally stacked up on giant shelves. A number of folks have multiple NOS transmissions stashed under their beds. On the other hand, folks like Gord (and others) have made new supplies available and have made he investment in creating new stuff. Time will tell but the future remains uncertain.
 

dougklink

Member
I have mixed feelings too, but in any case I wish they'd make the enhancements available or at least share what they did. And are there really only 400 left? Send like a lot more than that.
 
Count all the entries on the clubs VIN listing. Well over 500. Many have been parted and don't exist, but I would guess 500 is closer to actual cars left
 
Actually the Disney people don't really use any original Amphicar parts to maintain their cars. They change doors seals every few weeks and use generic rubber. The props are made of alloy, a generic inexpensive boat type, they are a little smaller than the originals but work OK. Original props are hard to find and it's said they had some issues with the plastic reproduction ones that are available. The cars aren't really used on the road so brakes and running gear last well. The engines are closer to stock than you would expect, they tried a number of different modifications but in many areas have since reverted back, simple is reliable. I reckon that what they do is positive for all of us - I like the fact a generation that thinks everybody lived in caves before the iphone and social media is learning that cool stuff happened 50 years ago. Be great if they could have those other late 60s European technologies there, hovercraft and supersonic passenger flight !
 
I visited the Disney Springs Boathouse yesterday. I took these photos of their cars. You can see the mod’s are quite extensive. They run these cars many times per day, so the modified are for reliability, continuous use, and to accommodate passengers safely. There are quite a few differences between individual Amphicars, but here are some common changes.

In the engine compartment:
* New radiator, shroud, and twin electric fans.
* Alternator.
* Larger muffler, with heat insulation.
* Quite a few electrical changes, with new relays.
* An additional bilge pump, with tubing to make pumped water spray up, so it’s visible.
* A fire suppression system.

Body/exterior:
* Doors replaced with fiberglass reproductions, with no door glass.
* Fiberglass hoods.
* Aluminum boat props, instead of our original plastic. There are quite a few weeds in their lake, and they day there were breaking prop blades.

Interior:
* Convertible top removed, to give more rear seat space, and accommodate life jackets.
* Some have added instruments, like voltmeters and cylinder head temp gauges.
* Many have radios removed.

Likely many other changes, too.

They run a nice operation. It's quite popular.

Doug
 

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Great update Doug!

Those rubber duck amphis like in the windshield of the green car in the picture are for sale on the Boathouse website for $17.99.
Looks like they have red, ivory & green.

 
My club membership had lapsed when the club gift (duck driving Amphicar) was sent out. I figured, not a problem! Went to the Boathouse to buy one. None available, they ordered 1000 last year, still haven’t come in.
 

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StephenChu

New Member
Should we "normal" users of Amphicars be concerned that Disney will be running through rare parts? It seems a shame if Disney is using up parts (for their business venture) that would take them away from everyday folks in the future.
I'm not saying those with parts shouldn't sell to Disney, I'm just asking if having Disney running Amphicars day in and day out creates a problem for the rest of us.

That leads to a broader question.....Is Disney good or bad for the Amphicar community?
I've always kinda thought that it was a bit demeaning to Amphi.

What do you all think?

Marc.
Aren't there alligators in Disney's Amphicar Lake?
 
The biggest concern regarding parts being used up, would have to be transmission spares! Thats something that can turn all of our cars into yard art! Gators…All they are saying is that over 200 have been removed from Disney property since 2016. FWC, Florida’s wildlife commission says there are 1.3 million across all 67 counties, you do the math.
 
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StephenChu

New Member
So grateful for John Howland's information on the number of alligators. I have been in an Amphicar in the water since November 17, 1967. I just would not enjoy being in Disney's Amphicar Lake with alligators. I used to see Amphicars at the NY World's Fair in 1965. I had every color but blue. The guy across Lake Shafer in 1966 had 2 blue ones. We all blew oil cooler hoses and switched to hydraulic lines.
 
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