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Hot Rods & Sports Cars

U.N.C.L.E. Piranha CarMan from U.N.C.L.E. Car - Metallic blue, two-seater custom built stock Piranha sports car made of thermoplastic seen on the espionage adventure THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E./NBC/1964-68. Equipped with gull-wing doors, the U.N.C.L.E. vehicle was driven by secret agents Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum).

Originally, a Dodge Charger car was used in a few episodes as the U.N.C.L.E. car. In the third season, auto designers Gene Winfield from AMT model car company and Dan Dever created a special vehicle similar to James Bond's gadget-filled Aston Martin for a cost of between thirty and forty thousand dollars. The car was also used by agent April Dancer (Stefanie Powers) on the spin-off series THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E./NBC/1966-67.

The U.N.C.L.E. Piranha car featured:

  • a rear-mounted six-cylinder Corvair engine

  • a manual four-speed transmission

  • concealed twin-flame throwers in the front gril

  • mock laser beam

  • mock rocket launchers built into the door

  • machine guns

  • rear rocket thrusters

  • a parachute mounted in the rear behind the license plate (which read: U.N.C.L.E.)

  • propellers for amphibious travel

  • infrared TV

  • a revolving wood-grain dash board that housed radar and sonar screens.

  • Dimensional specs: wheel base-88 inches; length-156 inches; and height-45 inches. Bubble type windows were added in the fourth season.

When the U.N.C.L.E. series was canceled, its specially built vehicle made the rounds at a number of custom car shows but eventually turned up rusting on blocks in Colorado, minus the engine.

The U.N.C.L.E. car was resurrected when Bob Short, a fan of the show from the Los Angeles, found the car and completely restored it to mint condition.

The U.N.C.L.E. car was also produced in miniature die-cast metal by Corgi and called a Gun Firing T.H.R.U.S.H. Buster. The first version was a 1961 Oldsmobile Super 88 sedan, with a miniature Solo and Illya who fired weapons out the window when a lever on top of the car was depressed. The car came with a silvered plastic ring that showed either the image of Napoleon or Illya when tilted from side to side.

Corgi then produced a version of the Piranha U.N.C.L.E. car complete with hood that opened and fired a rocket. AMT marketed a one-twenty-fifth scale plastic model version of the U.N.C.L.E. car in 1967.


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