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This article was published 2/9/2010 (4282 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
JEFF Norton admits it's hard to keep a low profile at the best of times when you drive a 1966 Amphicar.
But when the German-made rag-top -- which can be driven both on the road and in the water -- loses power in the middle of the Red River on a summer evening, resulting in four fire trucks, a Zodiac boat and two ambulances coming to the rescue, it's impossible. "It's a little embarrassing but I'm glad they were there," he said. "I've had it on the river two other times since I bought it in July and I've had it on Falcon Lake, West Hawk Lake and Lake Winnipeg and I haven't had any issues until this evening."
Norton decided to take a "swim" at the request of his friend, Stuart Waugh, who was in town from Toronto for the day. They entered the river near Main St. and the Perimeter Highway shortly after supper and everything was going fine until a bearing on one of the propeller shafts broke and the vehicle lost power.
They called a friend who owned a boat hoping to get a tow to shore but he suggested calling the fire department because it had a boat of its own that would be perfect for the job. Norton said he was a little surprised to see the entire cavalry show up.
"We didn't feel like we were at all in danger, other than it would get dark in an hour. We thought that would make it harder to deal with," Norton said.
There were just 3,878 Amphicars built in the early to mid-'60s and production ceased in 1968. Depending on the condition, the vehicles can be worth between $30,000 and $45,000. They are built to travel up to 112 km/h on the highway and 11 km/h on the water.