Gliding across Sydney Harbour in an amphibious car

Photo and content © Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018
By Lara Vella • TODAY Sydney reporter 9:53pm Jan 31, 2018

It’s not often you get to feel like you’re in a James Bond film, but taking a spin in this extraordinary car comes pretty close.

This is a 1966 Amphicar. It’s a German-designed automobile taking you straight from the road and across Sydney Harbour.

And it’s quite remarkable how incredibly buoyant – and bizarre – you feel bobbing along the water in a floating car.

Speed isn’t her main asset, only tracking about 11km/h in the water.

But she sure is a head-turner, with white-wall tyres and a striking canary yellow making sure she’s the star attraction as we putter past Sydney’s ferries and delighted kayakers.

So exactly how does a car float on water?

Jason Fischer is the Operations Manager at the Gosford Classic Car Museum – the vehicle’s new home – and says it’s simply a matter of switching the gears into “boat mode.”

“The car is obviously shaped like a boat underneath, and the propellers are in the back,” he said.

During the 1960s, almost 4000 Amphicars were manufactured, retailing for about $3500. Now they’re worth upwards of $120,000.

Most sales came from the United States, including one purchased by former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In fact, one of his favourite pranks was to drive the car straight off a bridge, claiming the brakes had failed, as his terrified passengers clambered for the doors.

As we glide across to Shark Island, we cop a couple of big waves thanks to some very curious ferries coming a little too close for comfort, and there’s really not much you can do except hope a strong grip and stronger stomach will keep you afloat.

But as I look out at the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the leather passenger seat of a car, with my hand gently touching the soft waves, I have to admit, it’s one incredible ride that I’ll never forget.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018