CELINA — A big attraction at the Celina Lake Festival is the Amphicars that make their way here from all over the country. This year, owners gathered at West Bank State Park for a world record attempt.
“There really is no official Guinness record in their books, so we’re going to try to establish it. In 2006, we had 62 cars, so I think we’re going to blow that away,” said Jim Golomb, President of the International Amphicar Owners Club.
On Saturday, 72 cars were photographed in the same place at the same time. Organizers of the event are going to submit the photo to the Guinness Book of World Records for the most Amphicars gathered at one time.
The Amphicars are vehicles that can go on the road, like a car, or in the water as a boat. They can reach 7 knots in the water and 70 mph on the highway.
“They’re not a good boat, they’re not a good car, but they’re usable. They go down the road okay; I think it’s a better car than it is a boat,” said Tim Wick of Slinger, Wisconsin.
Many traveled a great distance to be at the event, but that was not the case for Chuck Wannemacher and his wife Tina, who hail from Delphos.
“We’ve had our car eight years. We had it restored two years ago by Gord Souter up in Canada, and it runs like a top,” he said.
How the Wannemachers ended up with an Amphicar is another story.
“I always knew what they were. I really liked the cars. When we were dating, we were down by Cincinnati on the Ohio River, and a car pulled up and she liked it and just loved the car, dating at the time, I said, ‘Someday, I’ll buy one of those.’ Being a man of my word, move the clock ahead 22 years, we bought one,” he said.
Mike Echemann from Millersport, Ohio brought his 1967 Amphicar to the world record attempt. Keeping these Amphicars on the road can be tricky, but there are sources for parts.
“Little things break here and there, but most everything you can get. It’s a German car, but it’s got a Triumph Harold early Spitfire engine in it, so you can still get parts for it,” Echeman said.
One of the more unusual Amphicars was made up like the Batmobile. It’s owned by Roger Sallee of Lake Ozark, Missouri.
“This car was real rusty, so I bought 25 gallons of fiberglass and a large roll of fiberglass cloth. I was able to get a professional boat builder to help me. I bought a Batmobile model and we went to work and designed it, and it works great, works as well as any of these and the kids like it. It’s fun,” said Salee.
Batman and Batgirl even got behind the wheel of Salee’s vehicle for a few pictures.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.