It turns out building insane vehicles from scratch was a hugely popular method of defecting communist regimes back in the late 60s and early 70s. Take Bernd Boettger, an engineer who lived in East Germany and was not too happy about it. Boettger was an excellent swimmer, but he knew he couldn't just jump into the Baltic Sea and swim his way to freedom, because that would be nuts. So he went and built himself a machine to do it for him. Basically it was a little motor and propeller that he could hang onto while it dragged him along the surface of the water.