Last year, the dented body of a 1969 Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter sold at auction for $3,101. Previously, it had served in the Vietnam War, flown missions for a federal drug task force, and been chopped up for parts in Nashville, Tennessee, before floating away during a flood. Instead of landing in the junkyard, it got a second lease on life—as an amphibious car.
That's because the helicopter's new owner was Jeff Bloch, a novelty-car builder and D.C. police officer. Bloch, who had dreamed of making a helicopter racecar for years, received the chopper as a donation and immediately recruited 16 friends and family members to help make it drivable. They mounted the helicopter on the chassis of a mid-'80s Toyota van wagon and added a lightweight rear suspension from a Mazda Miata.