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Holland man owns and drives rare amphibious car | News

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Holland man owns and drives rare amphibious car

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- The world is made up many people who collect many different things. Some examples are baseball cards, old toys and coins. Others collect much larger items – like cars.

For decades, a Holland man has made car collecting his passion. One of his prized pieces stands out as an unconventional form of transportation.

Ed Koops is a man in his 70s. He never revealed how deep into his 70s he is, but it won't matter, after you realize he has more toys than your average 10-year old. Ed and his wife moved to a house on Lake Macatawa in Holland in the early 1990s. The home is beautiful, and has a great view, but if you ever get a chance to visit, you'll be taken on a trip back in time.

Not in a Delorean like in the movie "Back to the Future", but rather in an amphibious car, one of roughly 4,000 that where mass produced for sale to the public in Germany between the years 1961-1965.

"It's pretty dirty over on that side, ain't it," said Koops, as he grabs a towel and vigorously wipes down his rare set of wheels.

Koops owns not one, but two rare "swim-in" automobiles.

"This one is named Molly," he said, pointing to the aqua-colored vehicle parked in his driveway.

Before Koops takes the car for a drive, (or in most cases a swim) he must perform a multi-point inspection.

"I have about 6-and-a-half inches of gas," he said, while using a traditional yardstick to measure his gas depth.

He also goes under the hood for an oil check, and airs up all four tires.

The Amphicar, as it's affectionately known, is not easy to find on the secondary market, should you be looking to find one. 3,600 of the 4,000 of them that were made were exported to the United States.

Koops says he got lucky and managed to find one of these vehicles for sale in La Porte, Indiana. He says jumped at the chance to buy it.

It's so much easier just driving this thing in," added Koops. "I don't have to fight with a boat trailer."

Koops created a path wide enough for a car on the left-hand side of his house. He hopped in Molly, started her up, then drove down the path to his backyard, and straight into Lake Macatawa.

"I have a boat and never put it in the water this year," said Koops while he splashed his Amphicar into the lake. "Finally, in retirement, I have something to play with."

While tooling around,and traveling at a robust 7 miles per hour, Koops and his Amphicar quickly become the talk of the lake. Once people see him and the car, he quickly elevates to celebrity status.

"Cruisers will make a U-turn to find out what the heck it is," added Koops. "People just gawk at you and wonder what's going on."

One time, the Coast Guard was dispatched to check out a "car floating in the water", Koops said.

"They came in with a chopper," said Koops, while chuckling. "That chopper came down real low and made a couple circles around us to make sure we were okay."

Driving an Amphicar has many perks, but there is one drawback that Koops says he deals with often.

"Sometimes we come up with minnows in the hub caps," he said.

From the endless reaction Ed Koops gets from gawkers, to his memorable entrances into the lake, Koops has become one of biggest splashes to hit Holland since wooden shoes and windmills.

Amphibious cars will be taking over Lake Macatawa in Holland this weekend. On September 11-13, Ed Koops is hosting a "swim-in", where amphicar owners from around the Midwest will bring their rare vehicles and cruise the lake together.

The Amphicar owners will all have their cars on display at Dunton Park for a few hours on Saturday, September 12th from 10:30am to 12:30am, should anybody want to get up close and personal with one of these rarities.

Up to ten Amphicars are expected to be in Holland for the three-day event.