Welcome To
The Amphicar Chronicles

Hi! You have reached our decidedly low-tech section of the web that will be telling the history-in-the-making of the restoration of our 1964 Amphicar. Enjoy, and please email us with any comments or suggestions here. If you want to see a big version of any of the pictures, just put your mouse pointer on the picture, right click on it, and choose "view picture" (at least this works for Netscape!)

Check back often, as I am an updating fool!!


P.S. If you need 8-track tapes, check out wife Kathy's  web site - Kate's Track Shack

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NEW!!!!   On To Page 3!

October 18, 2002

The Day We Make Contact

After a trip of 1000 miles from Arlington, TX, we arrive to pick up our new Amphicar! We purchased it on Ebay, and it was pretty much in the condition as described. It was stripped and sandblasted in 1974, and stored since. 

Here is the car sitting in the storage waiting for me to come and get it!!

wife dog car

Somewhere is the desolate badlands of Illinois.

October 19, 2002

Home Sweet Home

Don't I look stunning! Man, was I beat. 1000 miles from Illinois to Texas with most of that done in one day, and it rained all the way. The best part was in OKC, OK, where the road was repaved, but not striped yet. Night-time. glossy road, no striping, and the weight of the amphicar made the jeep's headlights a little higher than normal. Kathy was a little quiet during that part of the trip!!

As is obvious in the picture, the driver's quarter is long gone. The tire you see under the steering wheel has the engine sitting on top of it!  The right rear quarter was removed, and a new one was welded on, but only roughed in. The right rocker panel was also removed, but it was only tacked in place. The left rear lower quarter was removed, and never completed (the replacement quarter was in the car). There is not a straight fender on the car. Whether stuff was stacked against the car, or the sandblaster damaged it is unknown, but all the panels are badly dented, including the back. Oh well, beating out a dent is easier than rust repair! The entire car is covered with surface rust, and it is completely in pieces. The original interior is all there, but it is so dry-rotted that it splits when I touch it. The mechanical pieces include what is purportedly a rebuilt engine. 

No matched luggage? How many Amphicar parts can you spot in the trunk? Fortunately the rust is almost all just surface, and is easily sanded off. We used the interior of the car to hold parts on the way home. Everything made the trip home ok (except  for one hubcap on the jeep, which is now decorating the interstate somewhere).

Kathy has informed me that she wants to take it swimming in spring 2003! Yikes!!

A nice start The previous owner got the fender welded on, but it was severly warped in the process. Also, if you look closely at the rocker, they started to weld it on, and then just stopped mid-weld. The doors sticking out of the engine compartment are pretty straight. There is a big hole in the passenger door where rust was cut out, and the bottoms are a little crusty, but definitely fixable. You can also see the small section missing on the quarter, and the hole where rust was cut out under the rear bumper.

November 29th 2002

Happy Turkey Day!!

Below are some pictures showing the progress so far . I have been busting my hump on it. Thank goodness the weather here in Texas has been warm, and I have been able to get out and work on it quite a bit.

We had no problem getting the car title taken care of, but the folks at the Fish and Wildlife boating registration office had no idea of what we where talking about when we asked what we would need to get it titled and registered as a boat. I think it is straightened out, but until I have the boat title in my hands, I will keep my fingers crossed.

primer Here is the roughed in passenger side. I am still working on getting rid of the waves on the front fender. Block and sand, block and sand. Ugh. Perfection cannot be achieved, but I will make it look as good as I can! Word of advice...DON'T use an industrial grade sandblaster on a car. Everything is warped. Even the nose of the car is warpy. The hood is in good shape!!!

The door has been patched, and I think it turned out very well. Everything lines up well, and I am expecting no problem with the seal.

Quarter and rocker are all welded up, and looking pretty good!!

Oh, and the front and rear seats are at the upholstery shop. The guy was pretty excited to be working on Amphica rseats. He wanted to come out and see the car. They are going to strip and repaint the seat frames when they have them apart.

getting ready Another view of the progress so far. The front end is looking pretty good, and I am getting ready to install the quarter. I have straightened up the very jaggy cut left by the previous body man (probably 20 years ago...yikes!), and have derusted, sealed and painted the inner fender while the opportunity presents itself.

It is starting to look like a car again!! My goal is to get it in the paint shop by January 2003.

Oh, in the background you can see my kids hot-rodded "Power Wheels®". It is a junky Barbie Beach Patrol jeep that we picked up for 5 bucks at a garage sale. I have cut out under the hood, and installed a tractor 12 volt battery. That makes it fast, but then I installed another 12 volt battery. Woohoo!! They can pop wheelies now. I had the kids do a flying run on the driveway, and I clocked it at 10 mph. Twice as fast a stock, and they think a lot more fun. Sure does wear out the tires though.

Dec 04, 2002

The Fender And Door Are On!

body panels The picture is a little dark, but the new fender is on, and so is the door. It is starting to look like a car again. After doing this, I filled it up with water up to the door sills. First to check for leaks, and second to clean the dead rat and stuff off the bottom. Amazingly, there were very few leaks. There is a spot on the floor that had about 5 rust holes in it that I will need to weld up, and a couple of minor leaks on the rear quarters that I will have to seal. Not bad at all!!

The weather has gotten cold, so I guess I will work on the interior sheet metal for a while.

December 08 2002 

Garage-Bound Fun

rusty metal Well, it is cold and rainy outside today, so I am stuck in the garage.I decided to start tackling some of the interior rust. Boy, what fun! Sand sand sand and sand some more. And, since I  am inside,  and the amphicar holds water very well, I cannot wet sand. So, time to break out the brown sandpaper!

As you can see, I am working on the top well area right now. No major problems, just surface rust. Oh, and the lip where the convertible top screws down need to be straightened. Looks like the previous owner stacked up stuff on top of it, and bent it down. Nothing the channel locks won't fix right up!

not so rusty Much fun later, and here is the first pass at the primer. Looks mucho better already! Guess I know what I will be doing the rest of the week!

engine compartment Oh, and here is part one of the cleaned up engine compartment. I was a busy boy today!!

December 21 2002
HO HO HO (Soon)

sue and car Alright!! Christmas is almost here. I hope Santa remembers me. Behind my silly daughter Susan is an Amphicar that is almost ready for paint. I have been working on the interior and the deck lid, but I have also been putting the finishing touches on the body as time permits. As you can see, I have put on the trim, both for a test, and to get the necessary holes drilled in the new sheet metal. Kinda weird, but when I put the trim on, the car seemed much more car like, and not just a pile o' parts. Sure seems like every time I look close, I find another small blemish that needs attention. But, there are fewer and fewer!!

Here is a better shot of the interior. As you can see, the doors are all sanded down and primed. I have tried a new technique on the door bottoms to prevent rust. If it works, I will post it. Also, I was fooling around with the new glove box door I got from Mike today!! It is looking good. The paint guy is coming out to give us an estimate Monday (when he drops off the newly upholstered seats).

deck lid
One freshly stripped decklid!! It took 4 coats of stripper to get that old paint off!! Very little surface rust (yeah!) Time for final clean off, de-rusting and paint!

December 28 2002

The Car Is Painted

under construction After getting two estimates of close to $1000 bucks to paint the car, I decided to just do it myself. That way, all the mistakes are MINE!! So, I went and got a compressor, a HVLP gun and the necessary paint + respirator for about 460 bucks. Here is a view after I was about halfway finished with the drivers side. The rear quarters are a little wavy, but this is one car that is supposed to be "wavy"!!

still under construction
Here I am painting away. The paint is probably just a tad too yellow, but since the entire car is being done, it will all match! Amazing how the HVLP gun works. Virtually no overspray. The last time I painted a car, I ended up all green, and so was everything in the garage!

yet more construction
Here is another view. I think it looks pretty good! Just a couple of fish eyes, and a few runs to sand out! I will have to fine grain sand the entire car when done to get it really slicked up, but that is ok. The pro painter told me I would have to when he was finished too!! Pretty impressive progress for two months. Swim in the Spring is my mantra!!

I will be working on it some more tomorrow after church. We are having a short warm streak, so I am making hay!!!

Oh, and the seats are back too. They look great. Pictures tomorrow!

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