CRV 1967



Piranha dragster


It was never Marbon Chemical's intention to manufacture cars, but merely to create a market for their plastic products.
AMT purchased the rights from Marbon to build the plastic car, and agreed to purchase the plastic bodies and fiberglass chassis from them. Originally AMT planned to build 50 cars a year. To promote the new venture, AMT decided to build both a drag racing and sports racing version of the car. They even gave the car a new name, the "Piranha."
The Piranha dragster was build and toured the drag racing circuit in 1967 and was a big hit.
Soon, AMT started to build the street versions of the 1967 Piranha. Changes from the original CRV design included an extended roofline, small hinged hatches in the side windows, and optional "Gurney bubbles" in the roof for more head room. AMT had planned to offer the Piranha for sale to the public for around $5,000. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of building each car by hand and obtaining the Corvair engines and parts from GM, it cost AMT well over that amount to finish each car. After about four streetcars were completed, and GM announced they were dropping the Corvair very soon, the arrangement between AMT and Marbon broke down. AMT turned over the four unsold Piranha Coupés and all the extra parts to Marbon and they parted ways. Marbon stripped the AMT I.D. plates off the finished Piranhas, added CRV logos to the bodies, and distributed them for display at various company facilities, including their home office in Washington, West Virginia.
Marbon did find another customer for the CRV in a kit car company located in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cycolac bodies were sold as bolt-ons for the VW chassis. They were available in both Coupés and roadsters with Marbon furnishing the bodies to the kit car company. Eventually, the company made molds of the body and produced a modified version in fiberglass.
By this time, Marbon Chemical had created a second generation plastic vehicle called "Formacar." A new design had been created, building on the successful testing of the CRV program. One prototype was built and the concept almost sold to American Motors, but there were problems with the new plastic chassis that ultimately killed it. Promotional materials for Formacar often included photos of the new car sitting next to a "CRV" which was actually a Piranha. A sharp eye can detect the modified Piranha roofline, side window "hatches," and bulges in the roof.