Have you ever wanted an amphibious vehicle? Get in line, buddy! Luckily, this Volkswagen Type 166 Schwimmwagen is for sale in Connecticut — well, if you happen to have an extra $185,000 laying around.
The Type 166 was basically an amphibious version of the Kübelwagen. In other words, it had the guts and characteristics of the Beetles which became so popular amongst the flower power crowd a mere 20 years after Hitler's Continental rampage. Talk about a split personality.
Equipped with a 25 hp flat-four and a four-speed manual transmission, the little swimmers had four wheel drive in first gear and reverse, as well as portal axles for high ground clearance and reduced axle part stress. In contrast to the Kübelwagens — and the Beetle prototypes Ferdinand Porsche had tested throughout the late '30s — Schwimmwagens had rounded floorpans with welded seams, which worked better in water than typical flat floorpans. To make water crossings, the hinged propeller folded up on the rear deck could be lowered and fastened to a coupling connected to the engine's crankshaft (that meant oars had to be used for reverse). The driver steered on land and in the water with the front wheels. As you can see, they were pretty basic.
During World War II, the German Wermacht and Waffen SS used quite a few Schwimmwagens, making it the most extensively mass-produced amphibious vehicle the world has ever seen. Today, according to the Schwimmwagen Registry, there are 163 survivors of the original 14,265, only 13 of them in original condition.
So now's your chance to snag one! Who knows, maybe you could modify it a bit and become the next 'round-the-world amphibious car traveler! (Hat tip to Clay!)
Photo credit: eBay