The AMT Piranha Will Make You Cry U.N.C.L.E.


From 1964 to 1968 there existed a television show called The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum who portrayed two secret agents working for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
They battled against their enemies who were part of the THRUSH organization, which was developed after the fall of the Nazi regime and founded by high-ranking Nazi members who fled to Argentina.
The real star of the show arrived in the 3rd season in the from of the AMT Piranha spy car which was designed by famed car-crafter Gene Winfield. It is based on a Corvair (bonus points already) but features a sleek exterior design fit for a high-ranking U.N.C.L.E. member.Cars from this era feature heavy steel bodies. The Piranha was something of a revelation because of one word, plastics. Originally slated to use a Dodge Charger for the show, Winfield convinced the studio heads to have a look at the experimental vehicle that he and AMT were campaigning on the drag circuit.

The studio liked the idea and Winfield developed a version of the Piranha for the show. The Piranha Spy car was born and is a car you should all know about. AMT produced a few production versions of this kit for sale to the public but you would be hard pressed to find one in good shape now.

That hole in the gullwing door above Mr. Vaughn's head? That's the rocket launcher…

Ultimately the car was only featured in a few episodes because of various issues the crew had with the vehicle. The headroom was minimal inside and getting in and out of the car was a chore due to the large sills. Regardless, it is a motoring icon which seems to have disappeared from public knowledge. Hell…I had never even heard about it until my father in-law emailed me a link about the car.
The TV car is up front with the shorter production version behind it.

A sexy light-weight body with spy-guy-cool gullwing doors is awesome in itself but when you throw in the Corvair powerplant and Gene Winfield heritage…well, you don’t have to twist my arm because I am crying UNCLE!
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Piranha car and Stephanie Powers

Special thanks to Sam for bringing this awesome vehicle to my attention!
All photos and information on the car was found here: http://www.c-we.com/piranha/

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17 responses to “The AMT Piranha Will Make You Cry U.N.C.L.E.”

  1. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

    Very "Lotus Europa", innit? I used to watch that show quite a bit as a kid, but I don't remember ever having seen this car.

  2. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    So funny, a guy at work was just talking to me earlier about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and how cool it was back in the day. I've never seen or heard of it prior to today since I was born in '75. Sweet looking wheels though.

    1. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

      They call that synchronicity. Oddly enough, I was discussing The Man From U.N.C.L.E. this very morning with my next-door neighbor.

  3. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Good call. Lovely car and a great writeup.
    Now can we have a feature on the vehicles of the UK TV series UFO?

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Send me more info…

      1. Charles_Barrett Avatar

        A search on SHADO (Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defense Organization) cars, Commander Ed Straker, Col. Foster, or Gerry Anderson's UFO (he was the creator of The Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO, and Space:1999)
        <img src="http://scifipulse.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/strakerincar.jpg"&gt;

  4. dustin_driver Avatar

    That is some dope shit.

  5. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

    So the glasspacks on my '77 Cordoba were made by Nazi war criminals?

  6. engineerd Avatar

    I was reading this and thinking, "I just saw something about one of these for sale, but it didn't have a roof." Well, I did see something about one for sale: http://www.drivelineac.com/gm_crv_amt_piranha/ind
    It doesn't have a roof, but it does have a racing pedigree.

    1. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

      Synchronicity strikes again!

    2. Juliet C. Avatar
      Juliet C.

      Any car with an air cleaner sticking through the trunk lid is awesome in my book.

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    I want to see more Corvairs with gullwings. Someone, make that happen!

  8. Tripl3fast Avatar

    I do love me some 60's spy TV shows. Thow in the Prisoner and Patrick McGooan (sp?) with his kar something or other, and we will have a party.

  9. dukeisduke Avatar
    dukeisduke

    Wow, I remember the show, and the car. My older brother had one of the 1/25 scale kits.

  10. Juliet C. Avatar
    Juliet C.

    <img src="http://img2.allposters.com/images/MMPH/171810.jpg"&gt;
    Giggity, indeed.

  11. Donald Antuna Avatar

    This is a great blog post and I defer to you what you have said here. I have already subscribed to your RSS feed in Firefox and will be your regular reader. Thanks for your time in writing the post.

  12. Freddy Mather Avatar

    Come on dude, these facts* and proof* i imply who’s posting* lol 😛

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