Hanns Trippel - all his Amphibians


Hanns Trippel

After long illness Hanns Trippel, well known as “the father of the Schwimmwagens” died only a few days ahead of his birthday at the age of nearly 93.

Obviously he was the worlds expert in amphibious cars, an automobile pioneer who spent all his lifetime and energy to make the amphibious dream come true for all of us. Without him the Amphicar certainly would have never been built.
Hanns Trippel followed up his efforts in designing new amphibious prototypes until the end, but unfortunately the big success like in the 40s or 60s  was denied.

We all mourn and will miss him, but while restoring and driving our Amphicars, we will always remember him and keep his ideas and dreams alive.

Thank you Hanns Trippel

Starting at the age of 26,  Trippel raced cars.  Later, he added a propeller to his racing car and entered the world of amphibious cars. His little two-seater really swam, not too good, but it was an attractive show. The racing car was based on a DKW-F2 chassis with front wheel drive. The first water demonstration was in September 1934!
His second car, built in 1935 was not amphibious! It was based on a 2 litre Adler Kompressor and designed only for racing.
Trippel was not that good racer and gave that up to built another Adler chassis with a better amphibious vehicle. It was called "Land-Wasser-Zepp, Versuchswagen 3", because it was his 3rd car, but remember his 2nd amphibian.
This was the car shown to A. Hitler in Dec.1935. After that meeting, Trippel was sponsored by the German Wehrmacht. Their money increased the progress of developing, several prototypes until the Trippel SG6 was launched (schwimmfähiger Geländewagen, 6th car). It was first produced in Homburg/Saar.  Later, Trippel moved to Molsheim in 1940 to take over production line from Ettore Bugatti, for faster production of the redesigned SG6/41. Hitler's Army used more and more torpedos,which were produced later at the Trippel factory instead of amphibious vehicles.  Primary reason was the Army prefered the smaller VW-Schwimmwagen from Porsche over the Trippel Schwimwagens. Only about 800 cars were actually built until 1944.

To no avail, Trippel designed several special versions of his Amphibian - for private or military use.  Despite driving to Capri through the Mediterrian sea, the number of Trippel Schwimwagens produced compared to the 15.000 VW-Schwimmwagen was very small.
After war, the French kept Trippel into prison for three years.

After his release in 1949, a new Trippel car saw daylight. It was a small two seater, which could go into water, but had no extra water propulsion. The Allied forces did not support Trippel's amphibious ambitions.
Later, Trippel was forced to give up the effort. He took the car and developed it to an ordinary tiny coupé with gullwing doors (no more amphibious), called SK 10. This car concept was in production at several places under license but only few hundred cars were actually built. Disappointed, Trippel went 1957 back to design another amphibious car. This new car was called the Alligator and was the start of the Amphicar story.
Actually, the later produced Amphicar had little in common with Trippel's prototype. Somehow, Trippel was out of the project before production started.

In the late 60's, Trippel worked as an adviser and amphibian tester at several Europa-Jeep projects. Seeing the problems others were having, Trippel thought of building something himself that was better. With this came the Trippel T-74 in 1974.
On his search for a company to build his vehicles, Trippel really found several that were interested and left them all bankrupt. Sometimes the companies ran out of money, or they took his wallet and were never seen again. This odysse seemed to find an end in 1982 when Trippel was asked to design the Amphi-Ranger at RMA. Again, the partnership ended very early even before the first Ranger was produced.

It is most impressive that Trippel did never give up!!! At the age of 81(!), Trippel designed his new Aqua-Terra with Opel components. His very last prototype was designed in 1990.

Check out the new video about Trippel and his cars!

Complete list of Trippel cars:


1934 Land-Wasser-Zepp racing car, front wheel drive, DKW-F2 chassis
1935 no picture Rennwagen No.2 racing car, front wheel drive, streamlined body, two seater, Adler 2 litre Kompressor base
1935 Land-Wasser-Zepp Versuchswagen 3 front wheel drive, Adler
1936 Versuchswagen 4 4WD, Adler
1936 Versuchswagen 5 mid engine, based on Stoewer chassis, 4WD and four wheel-steering
1937-1939 SG 6 4WD, production car, Adler, two doors
1938 SK8 2WD, Adler, three seater
1938-1943 SG 6 Pionier big version of SG 6 to carry up to 16 pioneers, Opel
1941-1944 SG 6/41 new designed SG 6, Opel; minor versions: civil two door version was named "Kolonialpionier", Coupe called SG-P
1943 SG 7 4WD, Tatra
1943 Kabinenschlitten air-propeller
1949 SK9 two seater, floatable but no extra water propulsion
1950 SK10 not amphibious 
two seater, coupé, gullwing door only on right side. Later cars have ordinary two doors.
1952-1954 SIOP Marathon, 
Perl SK10, 
NV Marathon
not amphibious 
two seater, coupé or cabrio, produced by different manufacturer but without commercial success
1955-1958 Trippel 750, 
Weidner Condor
not amphibious 
two seater, coupé, about 200 produced cars alltogether by different manufactorer 
click smiley  to get  to a nice Weidner Condor website
1957 Alligator 2WD back, Austin
1958-1959 Eurocar 2WD back, Austin
1960 IWK, Amphicar prototype 2WD back, Austin, license by Trippel
1974 T74-Universal 2WD back, Opel
1975 T74-Military 4WD, Opel
1976 Seeotter 
= Mayer prototyp No 1
2WD back, Opel
1977 T77-Military 4WD, Ford
1977 T77-Universal 2WD, Ford
1977 Jeep 2WD, Ford, no extra water propulsion
1979 Amphiranger Universal 4WD, Ford, no extra water propulsion
1980 Amphiranger Military 4WD, Ford
1982 RMA, Amphi-Ranger prototype 4WD, Ford
1989 Aqua-Terra 2WD front, Opel 
1990 Aqua-Terra II 4WD, Peugeot

Check out the new video about Trippel and his cars!