My Car Quest

October 31, 2014

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

by Mike -

In the early 1960s, a Borg-Warner subsidiary, Marob Chemical, experimented with the development of “CRV” (Cycolac Research Vehicle) cars, named after the plastic used to construct the bodies.

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

Piranha Kit Car By AMT Parked Next To A Jaguar C-Type

Only a handful were built. One was later modified and featured in the “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” TV show.

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

One actively campaigned in the SCCA’s Midwest Region and claimed the “D Modified” Central Division Championship. AMT, the model company, bought the rights to manufacture a 1/24th scale version and also built a limited run of full-size cars to enter into races to promote their kits.

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

The Piranha was styled by William Schmidt and constructed in Phoenix, Arizona by Jentzen-Miller.

It is powered by a turbocharged air-cooled horizontally opposed (boxer) 164 cid 6-cylinder engine developing 150 hp.

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

Only a handful of these cars were constructed. This example was a back yard find and has been fully restored, with the historically correct livery, painted decals and logos.

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

This car was photographed at the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in August 2012.

The text above describing this car was copied from the sign next to the car.

I think it is fascinating that a model car company would build real cars to help sell their model kits. I remember spending a lot of my paper route money on AMT model cars but I did not get the Piranha.

How often do you see a plastic kit car made by a model car company sitting next to a Jaguar C-Type? It was a first for me too.

I am sure there are more examples of this phenomenon – if you know of any other full size cars that were made by model companies share them with us in the Comments.

1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

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1960 Piranha Kit Car By AMT

Comments

  1. Revell used to have their logos on a lot of successful funny car/dragsters that they made kits for, although these were built by the racers themselves, and Revell just built the model kits depicting the cars. I still have the regular production 1950 Mercury convertible, the 1963 Corvette Stingray, and 1972 Chevelle SS AMT models that I built many years ago, and AMT was my favorite model company. Revell had interesting cars, but the quality of the parts was not as good as AMT, and please forget about Lindbergh. To this day, they make model kits that are impossible to assemble correctly – I recently attempted to build a Lindbergh biplane for my nephew, and it, like every other Lindbergh model, came out completely wrong. It is probably me and my lack of skills, but I have never been able to complete a Lindbergh model kit correctly. They had a dune buggy kit with a motor when I was 13, and you actually had to assemble the electric motor, do the windings, etc! I think most kids who could successfully complete these kits must have went on to win Nobel prizes! Anyway, your more knowledgable readers might know of other car model kit companies that actually built production cars. Thank you for always educational information. I always learn something from you and enjoy the postings immensely – they make my day! Glenn in the Bronx, NY

  2. Glenn,

    Unfortunately for me I do not have any of the models that I glued together. There were many AMT and Revell but no Lindbergh as far as I remember.

    Thank you for the support.

  3. I remember the Man From UNCLE but I do not remember this car but that was a long time ago. This car looks very fast.

  4. What’s a barn find like this worth? High and low..might have access to one.

  5. Richard M Carbajal Jr says:

    The Piranha was driven by my father – Richard M Carbajal Sr – who is now dying of Parkinsons – he was diagnosed at age 49 and is now 79. We are in Scottsdale AZ. The car was known as the “Carbajal Piranha”. I was only a kid when he drove that car but I was well aware of his driving abilities and there are many people who knew he could of been a great race driver. I know many stories of this car and my father should be recognized as the man who drove it faster then Indy cars did back in the early 60’s at Phoenix International Raceway. If anyone knows where I can see the car and get more information on it, please let me know. Richie at rmcarbajaljr@yahoo.com

  6. Richard its finally time that I find you and your dad I have owned this car now for 18 years and have been racing it for 6 years please give me a call 925-294-5666

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