"Taking the Plunge" An Amphicar Wedding in 1967 (With Video Link)!

Taking The Plunge

One of the 16mm film reels I found in the Bearcat Files contained an Amphicar wedding that was a little over one minute in length. It was not the actual wedding but leaving the church for the reception with a flotilla of 9 Amphicars in procession.

The film I had digitized was something of a mystery as I only heard Yusif Barakat telling me the story of the wedding he remembered from so long ago. When I got the Bearcat Files 4 months later, I luckily found the newspaper article from May 17, 1967, which stated that the best man of the wedding party Charles Shivel who was the sales manager at Bearcat Motors, provided a group of 9 Amphicars, then known as “The Amphibians,” to the wedding party to drive from the church to the reception.

The following are excerpts from the newspaper article and descriptions from watching the footage.

Bride and groom Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gibson and the party headed out of the church to friends and family pelting them with handfuls of rice. They were escorted in a white Amphicar festooned with tissue paper flowers leading the way. After entering the water and getting underway, the group performed several maneuvers including the famous V formation as they cruised toward the location of the reception. Venturing along for what seemed like quite a long time later, the flotilla began to have difficulty finding a ramp where they could return to dry land. Shivel was surprised to find the ramp at the Wyandotte Yacht Club where he planned to exit was closed. As the tissue flowers began to wilt in the water, so did the spirits of the party. They then headed to the next ramp he knew of at Riverview Street, but they somehow drove right by without seeing it. “On to Elizabeth Park!” cried the undaunted Shivel into the Walkie-Talkie each “Amphibian” carried with them. He then guided the procession toward a marina he knew of which was maintained by Wayne County, but then he spotted a ramp built recently by the city of Trenton at the foot of Harrison Street, and the group safely landed there.

The party then drove by land to the reception at the groom’s parents’ house. The trip had taken an hour and a half, but the couple and wedding party had a story to laugh about for many years to come about the harrowing trip down the Detroit River after “taking the plunge” together.

The minute long video has been digitized from its vintage format of 16mm reel film and loaded on to You Tube for viewing by Dan Gibson of Katestrackshack.com. Their business is restoring and selling 8 track tapes, but they also do much more with film conversion, and having read the previous article about the film, contacted be to volunteer their services in digitizing and cleaning up these rare glimpses into some Amphicar adventures from more 50 years ago. Dan and Kathy own a nice example of a white Amphicar and live in the Dallas area in Texas.

What is also remarkable is in this newspaper article photo, you can see the photographer standing on the ramp taking the 16mm film footage that I have of the event.

To see the wedding footage, visit Dan & Kathy’s page: https://tinyurl.com/Amphicar-Wedding


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Amphicar Expert
Mark, really cool! As you know my blue car is a Bearcat Motors Amphicar. I recall Conrad Walters ( the original owner I bought it from) telling me he and car were in the first water wedding in MI. Not sure if this was what he was speaking of or not. Can you read the boat numbers? I can't from the photo here but might be able to confirm if I can find an old picture.
In any case, thanks for sharing all this with us.
Hi Mike,
Yes, this was the wedding he was talking about. It is now brought to life with the discovery of the newspaper article and film of the event which tells us who the bride & groom were and we can tell from marine numbers some of the other cars. The blue car in the video number is MC 2328 GG.
There was a blue car used in other promotional activities back then that could have been yours, but there is no way to tell which car it was because until the marine numbers were assigned, they all look identical in pictures.
Glad you enjoyed this article and thanks for commenting.
Make sure to come back to see what other stories and videos I am ready to post here!


Amphicar Expert
Mark, I believe also that the original owner of my blue car may have cleaned out a lot of Bearcat stock/parts. I know Hugh Gordon said he would buy items from him when he was able. I received quite an assortment of parts when I purchased the car from him. He had two original dealer signs one double sided and one single sided along with parts. Most likely Hugh got the majority of the parts that he didn't want to keep. If you speak to him again ask him if he recalls Conrad Walters.