The Piranha is also known as the "Man From U.N.C.L.E. Car". The Piranha is a 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). The car featured a rear-mounted six-cylinder Corvair engine; a manual four-speed transmission; concealed twin-flame throwers in the front grill; a 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; and 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.
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 spinoff series THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E./NBC/1966-67. 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.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E The Complete Series on DVD contains two extra discs full of extra material related to the serie, on of this features are "Behind the Wheel: U.N.C.L.E.’s Piranha". This featurette looks at the Pirahna car. It includes an interview with Gene Winfield who designed the car, and with Robert Short who is the current owner of the car today.
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