Automotive Oddity: 1979 Herzog Conte Schwimmwagen – So Why Didn’t This Succeed?

What is it about the Germans and amphibious cars? Some kind of national neurosis obsession? Sure, the VW Schwimmwagen acquitted itself rather superbly in WW2, but being able to cross rivers in a war when the bridges are blown up is a most welcome ability, especially when you’re in a rapid retreat from the Russians.

Much of what was learned from the VW Schwimmwagen found its way into the Amphicar, an attempt to commercialize an amphibian car. Only 3,878 were built between 1960 and 1965. But that was not quite the end of it, as in the late ’70s the much more ambitious Conte Schwimmwagen appeared. And what a monstrosity it was, although it looked a bit less ungainly in the water.


There’s not a whole lot of info out there on the Conte, but it was based on a German Ford Granada, and used its 2.3 or 2.8 L V6 engine to power either the wheels or propellers.


I say “propellers” because the brochure refers to its “hydraulic twin screw system with power steering”.


That’s about all I have on it. There’s no indication any were ever built or sold beyond the prototype. That’s probably not very surprising.