Captain Zeppos' Car: De Eglantier & Tweng
Zeppos' preferred mode of transport in the second and third series
is quite a remarkable vehicle.
The Amphicar was designed by Hans Trippel (1908-2001), produced in
Berlin, Germany and was in production between 1961 and 1968, during
which time just under four thousand cars were made. The makers were
an independent company, The Amphicar Corporation, not directly
affiliated to any of the major motor car marques.
Initially, the company was subsidised by the German Government. The
production of the car's engine was, however, farmed out to Triumph
in the United Kingdom.
the name suggests, the Amphicar was meant to be at home on the water every bit
as much as it was on dry land. With its maximum speeds being 7mph on
water and 70mph on land, it soon became dubbed the "Model 770". On
water, however, it was not as impressive a performer as the
publicity claimed. Senne Rouffaer recalled, when interviewed for
VRT's Nieuwe mandaag, that "The front wheels were used as rudders, but the car was anything but
manoeuvrable on water. With the slightest current the Amphicar shook from one side to another on the water." Despite this,
many Amphicar owners convene regularly today for 'swim-ins',
where many of these unique vehicles take to the water for fun. Most
of the surviving Amphicars are in the United States, with
approximately 500 of the surviving 1000 there still in sea-worthy
shape. A handful of the cars are said to remain in Britain and
Europe - probably numbering less than one hundred, all told.
Quite a cult has grown around the Amphicar, which has become highly
collectable. The car has featured in several films, pop videos and
even showed up in an episode of the classic British television
series, The Avengers - Castle De'ath (October 1965).
Both the Austin Champ and the Amphicar used in Kapitein Zeppos
display the same registration number - HH 121. English visitors may
find this confusing, as in the UK, license plates are assigned to
vehicles, whereas in Belgium, they are assigned to drivers. Hence
the two cars used in the series were owned by the same driver - in
reality as well as in fiction!