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The military is always at the forefront of everything cool. Their tech eventually trickles down to us normal folk, but sometimes it doesn’t for good reason.


In this video, we see a screw-driven van that was originally built by the Soviet military in the 70s, and was recently restored by a group of Russian engineers. The thing looks straight up scary as it cuts up the earth every inch it travels, but it came plagued with some serious design flaws.

The concept of having a screw-propelled vehicle was thought of originally in the early 1900s. It wasn’t until World War II that the military thought it could be useful in battle. A British inventor named Geoffrey Pyke, and German soldier named Johannes Raedel, both created prototypes and they proved very capable off-road. The issue was on hard dry pavement they couldn’t go much faster than we can walk.

In the 1960s, Chrysler got in the game to provide the U.S. military with a screw-driven vehicle for the Vietnam War. Their two concepts, the Marsh Screw Amphibian, and the Riverine Utility Craft were excellent in mud and in Jungle conditions, but could only achieve 4 mph on solid ground.  If only some normal rubber tires could drop down for cruising on roads this thing would be unstoppable.  Plus, being a Chrysler, you could buy any parts you need at the local auto parts store!

The star of the first video is a ZVM-2901 and it was built using a cab from a UAZ-452 van. Don’t beat yourself up if you have no clue what any of that means, no one does. Its engine produces 159 horsepower and it features hollow tubes that allow it to float. It’s fun to watch it cruise around, but it’s obvious why this never really worked out. Vehicles with tracks were far superior and almost all militaries around the world agreed.

Related: Home owners association not happy with this WWII Tank parked on the street

There was a time when the military thought screw-drive was the future Ruptly TV/YouTube
Alex Palmeri About the author:
Alex Palmeri graduated with an Associates in Automotive Technology and started his career with Mercedes-Benz as an apprentice and shortly after a Master Technician. Currently Alex works as shop foreman in a large fleet repair facility. Aside from writing his automotive passion is very diverse. Alex’s car collection consists of ...Read more
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