By Danny Baggott @Dan_Baggie
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Videographer / director: Speedycop & Damion Jedlicka
Producer: Danny Baggott, Ruby Coote
Editor: Thom Johnson
Jeff Bloch, aka Speedycop, spent 3,000 hours converting a Vietnam attack chopper and an 86 Toyota chassis into the most unique, but practical, vehicle.
In the summer of 2016, Jeff and his team worked over the course of six months at his home in Southern Maryland, USA, and successfully built the unorthodox ‘Speedycopter’ that could operate on land and water.
Jeff, 45, told Barcroft TV: “This is the Speedycopter.
It’s a 1969 Bell OH-58 Kiowa Vietnam attack aircraft and it’s sitting on an 86 Toyota van chassis.
“It’s not just street legal and race ready, it’s also fully amphibious.”
Jeff originally bought the helicopter in an online auction for $3,100.
Using a 2002 Audi Quattro V6 engine, the vehicle can do 0-60mph in an impressive eight seconds.
Jeff said: “The 86 Toyota van that provided the chassis actually just gave us the front suspension.
We created a smooth hole underneath of that and filled the gaps with foam to provide floatation in the water.
“Then in the rear we put a 2002 Audi Quattro V6, that’s 220 horsepower with 30 valves.
It was lightweight and made decent power.
“So one engine drove it both on land and in the water – it was a good feat of engineering but it was a lot of work.”
Jeff has become famous in the engineering world due to his whacky creations – including the world’s first sideways VW camper van and an upside down Camaro racer.
With that said, Jeff admitted that the helicopter car was one of his most popular builds with the public.
He said: “Everywhere we took this helicopter people were amazed – they’d never seen, obviously, a road-racing helicopter before and certainly not one that was amphibious."
“And just the thought that this thing used to fly in Vietnam as an attack chopper and now was a street-legal race car that could go on the water – their minds were blown, it was fantastic!
“Every time we stopped for fuel or went down the highway, everyone was taking pictures of this thing and was totally wowed by it.
So it was a really fun vehicle to drive.”
Unfortunately for Jeff and his team, just two months ago their beloved helicopter car dramatically caught fire and was destroyed.
Jeff said: “We planned to take it to an event in Philadelphia - we were two hours into this trip at five o’clock in the morning when the driver smelt smoke inside the helicopter.
He pulled over, turned around and saw a small flame.
“He got the brand new extinguisher out, pulled the pin, went to put the fire out and nothing happened.
Within moments the helicopter was fully engulfed and it was a total loss – it was heartbreaking for all of us.
“3,000 hours and about $10,000 down the drain just that quickly in five minutes - it was altogether gone.”
Jeff later discovered that the military used magnesium in the builds of their helicopters – and once that catches fire, it’s very hard to put out.
Fortunately no one was injured in the fire and Jeff is remaining positive about his future builds.
He said: “We don’t have enough left to actually repair the helicopter and we’re not going to recreate another one because we’ve already done that.
“We’re going to keep building things that are new, unique, fun and interesting.
“There’s never going to be another road-racing attack helicopter that’s fully amphibious as well – we’ve checked that off, it’s been done – it was a cool build and we’re very proud of it.
“But we’re going to move onto bigger and better things.”