In the below video, we see a screw-driven van that was originally built by the Soviet military in the ’70s and was 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.
This post was originally published on October 11, 2017.