Floating Through the Good Old Days
As a water well company, Cutter and Dad Drilling Company in Adel, Ga., our advertisements consisted of the company name on all our equipment, a basic ad in the phone book, referrals and our reputation. We also had a dune buggy and an Amphicar (part boat, part car) that we drove in most of the community parades. Our Amphicar received more attention than anything.
We had decided to drive our Amphicar and take our boys to Disney World in Orlando, Fla. It was about 240 miles from Adel. Before we arrived at our motel in Orlando, the engine developed a bad knock. We crippled the Amphicar to our motel and checked in. The knock was determined to be a rod bearing and the engine had to be removed to access the pan. The boys and I found a big tree hidden from the motel and most everyone. With limited tools, we managed to pull the engine with a rope hoist we made under a large tree limb. We removed the pan and found a parts store nearby that had the parts we needed. We managed to install the new rod bearings and reinstall the engine. We started it up and it seemed to run fine, so we headed to Disney World.
On our way home on Interstate 75, the engine developed the same knock. I stopped and reset the timing to reduce the knock. We were limiting our speed to 25 to 30 mph. We had a citizen’s band radio in the Amphicar for emergencies.
A couple truckers passed us and we heard their conversation. One said, “Did you see that thing. … It had propeller’s on it! I wonder why he was going so slow?” The other trucker said, “Dummy, he was looking for water!”
We saw we weren’t going to make it back to Adel, so we checked Bess and Piglet (Chris) into a motel near a truck stop. Then Randy and I caught a ride back to Adel with a trucker. Our shop was near the interstate.
We picked up my pickup and a tow-bar that fit the Amphicar and headed back to the motel. We headed home with the Amphicar in tow.
We later pulled the engine from the Amphicar again and had it completely rebuilt by an engine rebuilder.
We drove the Amphicar in parades, but had never put it into the water until moving to Oklahoma. Then we attended a well driller’s party at Canton Lake, Okla., and the drillers kept teasing me to drive it down a boat ramp into the lake. I thought I’d just launch it and make a quick circle in the lake. I did and immediately found that it wouldn’t make a quick circle. As soon as I could, I returned to land and jumped out to see how much it leaked and it hadn’t leaked at all.
Sometime later, George E. Failing Company transferred me to Casper, Wyo., where we drove the Amphicar to Alcova Lake (40 miles) almost every weekend. It received so much attention driving in, out and around the lake. Even the lake rangers liked it after we installed all the boating safety equipment and a boat license. An Amphicar must have a state tag and inspection to drive on the highways and a state boat license, inspection and water safety equipment to run in the water.
When we left Casper (thinking we’d be back soon) we left the Amphicar with a friend. Returning some five years later, we couldn’t find the friend or the Amphicar. Still looking!
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