Piranha Model Kits

When the AMT Corp. purchased the rights to produce the real Piranha automobile, they also acquired the rights to produce plastic model kits of the car. Shortly after the real car hit the drag strips, AMT released a 1/25th scale version of the PIRANHA Rear Engine "Funny Car" Dragster, kit #910.

The kit included a detailed chassis and engine that was very faithful to the original. Another unusual feature of this kit was a clear plastic, two-piece upper body. The upper portion could be painted or left clear to help show the detailed chassis and engine. The front and rear tires were molded as two-piece plastic units instead of black rubber. Decals were very well detailed, but listed the driver as Connie Swingle instead of Walt Stevens who eventually drove the car. The kit was billed as "Excitement in a Box!"

Piranha Dragster kit contents

Here is a photo of the Piranha Dragster kit contents. Note the clear body at lower left.

Detailed article on AMT Piranha Dragster model kit from 1967

The next kit that AMT released was "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." car, kit #912. Again, AMT went all out and created a super-detailed kit in 1/25th scale that copied the original almost perfectly. The kit included the one-piece chassis unit, upper and lower body panels, detailed Corvair engine, detailed suspension, opening gullwing doors, opening engine compartment lid, and many chrome plated parts.

Details include a weapons area, missle, parachute, and propellers for traveling in water. Optional guns could be mounted inside the front grille and "smoke generators" could be added to opened panels in the rear end. An U.N.C.L.E. logo graced the license plate. A decal was furnished to resemble a display placard describing the cars options.

U.N.C.L.E. car kit contents

Here is a photo of the U.N.C.L.E. car kit contents. The one-piece chassis is sitting inside the lower pan.

Shortly after AMT released the "Man from U.N.C.L.E." car, another model was released to tie in the spin-off show, the "Girl from U.N.C.L.E." car, kit #913. This kit was identical to the "Man..." version except for the box art and instruction sheet.

After the two U.N.C.L.E. TV series were cancelled, AMT made use of the Piranha toolings again with the release of the "Piranha Street'n'Strip" racing team, kit #916. This kit included the dragster, the U.N.C.L.E. car as a tow car, and a trailer to haul the dragster, all in one large box. This is by far the rarest of all the Piranha kits.

AMT made one last attempt to reissue the Piranha, this time with an international spy theme. The model was called the "Mademoiselle L'Agente Secrete 97" car, kit #T228. The kit had very nice box art, but all the wording on the box and the instructions were printed in French. There has been some discussion that this was done for overseas release, but was actually just a marketing ploy along the international theme.

Again, the model itself was a duplicate of the previous U.N.C.L.E. kits, and still included the logo on the license plate. A colorful, cardboard diorama backdrop of a street in France was also included in the kit.

This was the last reissue of any of the Piranha kits in their complete form. However, portions of one of the Piranha kits made it's way into other AMT kits over the years.

The Piranha Dragster chassis was used in two other AMT kits. One was the "Scorpion" mid-engine drag coupe (kit #T419), and the other was a 1953 Studebaker Funny Car.

There is hope that one or both Piranha kits may be reissued in their original form someday. We know that test shots were made of the U.N.C.L.E. car some years ago to evaluate the amount of damage the tooling had sustained during it's long period of storage. Let's hope the dragster is still intact too.

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Page Updated: 2009