1960 Centaur Piranha CRV-II

The CRV, which stood for Cycolac Research Vehicle, was a research project to test the feasibility of other metals and materials in the creation of an automobile. At the time, most of the cars were built from heavy. Plastics were becoming more popular and a proven product, and a potential candidate for a body of a car.

Marbon Chemical, a division of Borg-Warner, devised a way to promote their idea of using plastic in automobiles would be to build a concept. They commissioned Dann Deaver, co-founder of Centaur Engineering, to create a design. Other individuals responsible for designs and working with the plastic forming included William M. Schmidt and the Jentzen-Miller Company.

The CRV was a two-seater roadster that had a futuristic-looking wrap-around windscreen. Mounted in the rear was a four-cylinder water-cooled Sunbeam engine. The frame of the car was built from tubular frames. The body was comprised of a two-piece thermoplastic with the top section comprised of the seat structure and much of the interior. The bottom section had much of the support structure.

The CRV Concept was put on the show circuit to promote the new material and the work and talents of all individuals involved. The car was well received and soon a racing version was commissioned to race in SCCA competition.

The second prototype version of the car was dubbed the CRV-II. It too had a roadster design and built over a fiberglass chassis tub. Power was from an air-cooled Corvair engine mounted in the back. It was successful in racing, even winning the D-Modified championship in SCCA competition. It later participated in hillclimbs and smaller racing events. In modern times, the car still retains its plastic body and is vintage raced in the Western United States.

The third prototype was called the CRV-III. It too was built by Centaur, but it was never a compete car. It was designed as a crash test vehicle. The results of the test proved that the plastic did not offer a great deal of protection.

In 1966, the CRV-IV was introduced. It was a street version of the car that had a coupe roof and a full windshield. There were gullwing-style doors and a Corvair powerplant located mid-ship. This was soon followed by the CRV-V which had a similar design to the CRV-IV.

As with most concepts, these cars were built to demonstrate the feasibility of a product and to promote an idea. Marbon Chemical did not want to handle the responsibility of production, but rather provide the materials. They found the AMT Corporation of Troy, Michigan, which was willing to handle the production. AMT's business was in production plastic model cars.

AMT accepted the project and built a 1/24th scale model and a limited number of full size cars. Their intention was to build as many as fifty examples, though only a few were ever made. After purchasing the rights from Marbon, AMT gave the car a new name, the 'Piranha.' The design was changed rather significantly. They were given real doors and a sheet-steel chassis. The engine was switched in favor of a turbocharged Corvair engine.

Production was shut down in 1969. A few street cars remain, as well as a Chrysler Hemi-engined dragster and a Piranha coupe. Several kit makers offered the bodies during the 1970s.


By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2009

Concepts by Centaur



Recent Vehicle Additions

Competition at the Amelia Island Concours

Competition at the Amelia Island Concours

Competition has always been a part of the Amelia Island Concours dElegance. The core group of classes includes four Race Car groups (Prewar, 1946-57, 1958-66, 1967-83). Additionally, there are four...
The Elegance at Hershey

The Elegance at Hershey

Modeled after the finest concours in Europe and America, The Elegance is a genteel garden party featuring the worlds finest collector cars, arrayed around the classically manicured gardens of...
MAZDA6 SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL RACECARS COMPLETE THUNDERHILL 25-HOUR DEBUT

MAZDA6 SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL RACECARS COMPLETE THUNDERHILL 25-HOUR DEBUT

December 8, 2013 (WILLOWS Calif.) — The Venn diagram that best showcases Mazda Motorsports is the overlap between endurance racing and club racing. That overlap was showcased on a freezing cold...
MAZDA6 SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL RACECARS TO TACKLE THUNDERHILL 25-HOUR

MAZDA6 SKYACTIV-D CLEAN DIESEL RACECARS TO TACKLE THUNDERHILL 25-HOUR

December 3, 2013 (IRVINE, Calif.) — There have always been rivalries Yankees versus Red Sox. Beta versus VHS. Coke versus Pepsi. Tom versus Jerry. In the automotive retail world, that rivalry...
Barrett-Jackson Breaks Sales And Attendance Records At Its Spectacular 5th Annual Las Vegas Auction

Barrett-Jackson Breaks Sales And Attendance Records At Its Spectacular 5th Annual Las Vegas Auction

The Worlds Greatest Collector Car Auctions™ Brings Together Auto Enthusiasts from Near and Far Barrett-Jackson, The Worlds Greatest Collector Car Auctions™, announced today that it generated...

© 1998-2019. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

data-full-width-responsive="true">


Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Conceptcarz Google+ Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed

Conceptcarz.com
© 1998-2019 Conceptcarz.com Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent.