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History Don Garlits restoring the AMT Piranha Dragster

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Carguy1965, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Carguy1965
    Joined: Dec 14, 2008
    Posts: 168

    Carguy1965
    Member
    from Illinois

    Don Garlits recently purchased the AMT Piranha Dragster from the wife of the late Rich Riddell of California. Riddell owned the car since 1990 and had started a complete restoration. Garlits purchased the car as a "basket case" and is in the process of a complete restoration of the vehicle for his museum. The car was originally built by Gene Winfield and Fred Smith at AMT's Phoenix Speed & Custom Division. Don has talked to Winfield about repainting the car the original blended colors.

    Below is a shot of the car when first built. The other shots were taken by museum personnel.

    Here is a link to more details and photos: http://www.c-we.com/piranha/garlits.htm
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  2. shock733
    Joined: Jan 19, 2009
    Posts: 199

    shock733
    Member
    from Florida

    Don's museum is first rate. This would make a great addition. I don't know how I can breeze thru Disney in 4 hours but I spend 8 in his 2 buildings.
     
  3. That is too cool! Glad to see it getting restored.
     

  4. Kent
    Joined: May 15, 2005
    Posts: 54

    Kent
    Member
    from KCMO

    thats not a dragster its a funny car
     
  5. Chaz
    Joined: Feb 24, 2004
    Posts: 5,016

    Chaz
    Member Emeritus

    I'm trying my damndest to remember when model companies could afford to sponsor a car. Its been a lotta years ago.
     
  6. Stick Shift
    Joined: Oct 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,558

    Stick Shift
    Member
    from LENA IL


    Or how about when a kid could afford a model kit? Thats been a few years ago too. :eek:
     
  7. KING CHASSIS
    Joined: Aug 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,867

    KING CHASSIS
    Member

    Yeah what he said.
     
  8. Tony Ray
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,019

    Tony Ray
    Member

    He also just got the Bounty Hunter dragster for the museum as well.. right down the street from my house!
     
  9. speedtool
    Joined: Oct 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,541

    speedtool
    BANNED

    I remember building that model as a kid!
     
  10. jpm49c
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 393

    jpm49c
    Member

    I saw this run at Beeline Dragway shortly after it was finished here in Phoenix. Sure was a great looking car but not the fastest. John
     
  11. wild willey
    Joined: Feb 17, 2008
    Posts: 261

    wild willey
    Member

    Dat's wat I am talkin' about!!!! KOOLSVILLE!!!!!!
     
  12. wild willey
    Joined: Feb 17, 2008
    Posts: 261

    wild willey
    Member

    Dat's wat I am talkin' about!!!! KOOLSVILLE!!!!!!
     
  13. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,421

    The37Kid
    Member

    On loan, or is it now his? Great restoration, saw it at Hershey about 10 years ago. If Don now owns it he is the third owner. :)
     
  14. Tony Ray
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,019

    Tony Ray
    Member

    Joe Gerdelman owned it, as well as set a record in it in '63 I beleive.My cousin was telling me the other week about it. He and his family are good friends of ours. Don Garlits and Joe are good friends. Beleive everytime Don raced at englishtown he stayed over at Joes place.Lately joe has been thinning out his cars collection due to health. I cant think of a better place for bounty hunter to go..
     
  15. The AMT Piranha 1/25th scale kit was reissued about 4-5 yrs ago, the box art was a poxy bright straight yellow painted Piranha, no decals etc , no history or info about the AMT original tie in with not only the 1:1 scale car but its use with major modifications as the "Man From Uncle" car. The kit is a straight reissue although the decals are not 100% correct for the original car. If you look around you should be able to come up with this recent reissue in the USA but if not contact me direct at my hobby shop, www.scaleautomobilia.com.au as I have a few of these reissues still in stock......regards, andyd
     
  16. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,775

    noboD
    Member

    Great minds think alike. I think it was there two years in a row, even bought a T shirt from the owner. He used to drive for Kalitta, but as usual I forget his name. Sorry Pipes, I was typing instead of reading. Thanks for the update.
     
  17. indianmark
    Joined: Oct 18, 2007
    Posts: 190

    indianmark
    Member

    I saw Joe Gerdelman with the Bounty hunter at a car show at the Flying W airport in Medford NJ about 6 or so years ago. Joe is a great guy with a great history. He truly did run with the big dogs and is a master with Hemi's. We were all standing around drinking some beers and talking to Joe when he said. Its time to fire up the car. He put on his fire suit and helmet, climbed into the Bounty hunter and with the help of his daughter in the push truck brought the Bounty Hunter onto the airstrip, gave it a push start to fire it up, and with a good old fashon flag start lit up the airstrip for good run. Not bad for a guy in his seventies. Joe is a regular guy who will allways take the time to talk to you about drag racing history.
     
  18. Carguy1965
    Joined: Dec 14, 2008
    Posts: 168

    Carguy1965
    Member
    from Illinois

    The reissued AMT Piranha model, as well as the original issue, can always be found on ebay. The reissue is obviously the cheapest.

    The front wheels are slightly different and the valve covers no longer say "Piranha", otherwise it is the same kit.

    After market decals are available from a couple of sources to replicate the original. One set even has both Connie Swingle AND Walt Stevens listed as the driver.

    The two-tone blue stripes on the decal sheet were reversed from the original car. The aftermarket decals also have two versions of the stripes.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  19. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    Does anyone know the wherabouts of Don Beebe, the guy who was the brainchild of it?
     
  20. roosters hot rods
    Joined: Oct 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,778

    roosters hot rods
    Member

    thats cool..im sure don will make it right..
     
  21. Carguy1965
    Joined: Dec 14, 2008
    Posts: 168

    Carguy1965
    Member
    from Illinois

    Don Beebe passed away years ago. He was an employee of AMT that was involved in the Ford Custom Car Caravan and the AMT Speed and Custom Division. Mostly into promotion I believe.

    The Piranha project was originally called the CRV (Cycolac Research Vehicle) and was created by Marbon Chemical to promote the use of plastic in the auto industry. Several prototypes were built by Centaur Engineering before they sold the rights to produce the cars to AMT.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  22. Carguy1965
    Joined: Dec 14, 2008
    Posts: 168

    Carguy1965
    Member
    from Illinois

    I chatted with Don Garlits today and he said the restoration of the Piranha Dragster is coming along well. The body is being painted right now and everything else is done. Here are a few new photos of the progress. Can't wait to see the finished product.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. Carguy1965
    Joined: Dec 14, 2008
    Posts: 168

    Carguy1965
    Member
    from Illinois

    Attached are the latest photos of the restoration of the Piranha at Don Garlits shop. Looking good!
     

    Attached Files:

  24. NITROFC
    Joined: Apr 17, 2001
    Posts: 6,177

    NITROFC
    BANNED

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