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Schwimmwagen vs Amphicar: Guess which made-for-water car is most valuable

For land, we have cars. For water, we have boats. And sometimes we have one vehicle that acts as both.

Not because it's particularly practical, but because we can.

On CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage," auto appraiser Donald Osborne and Jay Leno examine three different cars, each of which was made for water, to see which one appreciates best.

1. 1944 VW Schwimmwagen

Which of these three cars made for water appreciates best?
CNBC
Which of these three cars made for water appreciates best?

The amphibious version of the VW Bug looks nothing like the ones you may be used to.

Instead, this one has military applications, similar to a U.S. Jeep. Designed to go from the road into the water, the Schwimmwagen has no doors. Its body is completely sealed underneath and the lights, exhaust and mufflers are mounted high on the frame.

To engage the car for water, a rider in the backseat uses a pole to push down a propeller that connects to the driveshaft. Then it really becomes a "swimming" car.

2. 1966 Amphicar 770

Propellers make the Amphicar 770 ideal for both land and sea.
CNBC
Propellers make the Amphicar 770 ideal for both land and sea.

Next, we have what can be considered a distant relative of the VW. It pretty much does the same thing but with a less military-inspired design.

Only one series of the Amphicar was produced: the model 770. That stood for 7 knots in the water and 70 miles-per-hour on land, a fairly impressive feat at the time.

Only about 10,000 units of this car were made. And even after its purchase, it remained relatively expensive for the buyer: In the United States, it had to be licensed as both a car and a boat.

3. 1916 Crane-Simplex Holbrook Skiff

The 1916 Crane-Simplex Holbrook Skiff was inspired by yacht design.
Source: CNBC
The 1916 Crane-Simplex Holbrook Skiff was inspired by yacht design.

Finally, we have a car that, unlike the others, is not designed to enter the water. Instead, the Holbrook Skiff, which was a one-off that Leno now owns, mostly just looks good near water.

Taking design inspiration from a yacht, the Skiff has a center door along the side and even a nonfunctioning propeller in the back. The engine is covered in brass and copper. Appearance-wise, it evokes a time when wealthy car owners had chauffeurs to clean and polish cars to keep the vehicles both attractive and functional.

The Skiff is a true head-turner, but how does it compare to the two other cars when it comes to appreciation? Watch the video to find out.

CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.