Amphibious Ferrie

Amphycar on Chasewater

This is a bizarre, but fun-looking car-cum-boat, apparently being piloted around Chasewater. But who’s driving, and who’s the copilot? Image generously supplied by Tony Winn.

I’m very pleased to note that Tony Winn has been in touch again. Tony seems to be something of an expert on the Ralph Ferrie history, and has formerly contributed some fine material relating to the larger-than-life local entrepreneur.

These images are remarkable, and both myself and Tony would like to know more about them. I think I may have seen a car of this type in a local news story of late, but can’t remember what it was. That seems like an awful lot of faith to put into a door seal for starters, let alone whatever’s sealing the underside of the engine and transmission.

Amphycar 3

The car on the shore. Is the registration a clue, perhaps? Anyone recognise any familiar faces in the group? Image generously supplied by Tony Winn.

Tony wrote:

Hi Bob,

Got some crackers here mate!

This is another Ralph Ferrie connection, I think he bought the amphicar/boat in the 1960’s sometime. Don’t know who’s driving it, but I do know that it’s being driven in Chasewater.

Maybe somebody knows who’s in the pictures?


Tony Winn

Good question. What is the car, who owned it, and why weren’t they more successful? Who are the gentlemen – and the child – pictured?

It certainly looks like Chasewater.

I’d like to thank Tony for his generosity in supplying this unique thing, and to ask anyone else harbouring such wonderful ephemera to please, please let me have a copy. Great stuff.

Please, anything you’ve got, comment here or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Amphycar 2

There are so many questions here. How did it work, how was it sealed? How fast could it go? Were many made? Image generously supplied by Tony Winn.

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16 Responses to Amphibious Ferrie

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    Don’t know who the people are, but this says something about the vehicle: “drives like a boat on land and like a car in the water”.

  2. stymaster says:

    That’s an Amphicar for sure. It has a propellor at the rear, and the front wheels act as primitive rudders. Unsurprisingly it never really took off.

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    splendid photos ! I wonder if readers have photos or press reports of these two incidents I witnessed some years ago;-the flamingo that flew in from Dudley zoo to visit the lake some years ago, and at another time, the powerboat near tragedy when a boat that was being re-fuelled caught fire, the pilot ( if that’s the term) had to dive into the lake . The fuelling bowser which was parked on the bank, fortunately at some distance from the clubhouse, was driven away from the flames and from the speedboat by the quick-thinking tanker driver .
    kind regards

  4. Pedro says:

    Amphicar. (Germany) 1961 – I967.

    The Amphicar is an amphibious automobile, the first (and as of 2009 the only) such vehicle mass-produced for sale to the public. The German vehicle was designed by Hanns Trippel and manufactured by the Quandt Group at Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde. Its name is a portmanteau of “amphibious” and “car”.

  5. Brian Webster. says:

    I was working for Brownhills Motor Sales when Mr Ferrie took delivery of this vehicle & it used to be parked in the workshop where I worked with Bert Pearson alongside of the offices
    The “Amphicar” which Ralph had, was based on the Triumph Herald as I recollect. He had dealings & connections with “Standard Triumph” in Coventry. A bit of a novelty plaything for him !
    I think the driver could be Dennis Scrimshaw (accountant) & the chap, 3rd from the right could be John Starkey. Hope that this info just might be of interest.
    Regards. Brian

    • joan harris says:

      Hi brian have only just started using a computer saw your comment from 2013 my husband also worked at Brownsville motor sales in the 1960s

  6. Nigel Griffiths says:

    As the passenger in the car I was amazed to see this picture! I didn’t even realise the picture existed. The driver is my father Geoff Griffiths and I suspect he jumped at the chance to ‘test’ drive the car. We were both keen sailors at the time.
    Thank you for finding this and posting the images
    Nigel Griffiths

  7. Emma Griffiths says:

    Hi there the driver of the Amphicar is my father in law Geoff Griffiths and his eldest son Nigel.

  8. Simon Abnett says:

    I’m afraid That’s not my grandad driving he did have a car like that as my Aunty Ellen remembers going in it. If any body knows who it is please let us know.

  9. Abigail says:

    Ralph ferrie was my great grandad .my mom and nan could tell you many stories as a child I was told all about this car on chase water . I’ll get my mom or nan to post some photos or get in touch with some stories :)!

    • Hiya

      That would be great!

      Cheers Abigail

    • joan harris says:

      Hi Abigail my husband worked for your great grandad and tells me many stories about when he worked there I would love to speak to your nan

    • Nigel Griffiths says:

      Hi Abigail. Would love to know if you ever found any more pictures from this day. Sadly My Dad (The Driver) is no longer with us but it would be great to share anything else with my Mom whi is still alive

  10. Just to let you guys all know Geoff Griffiths the driver of the car passed away on 12th November this year. RIP Dad

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