Say U.N.C.L.E.


Words by: Jared Paul Stern

“You look important. Or at least your suit does….”

The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Guy Ritchie’s remake of the mid-‘60s TV series, is a damn stylish film. That’s due to some very natty bespoke suiting from Timothy Everest as well as a series of fetching classic cars and other conveyances, all period correct of course. Among the eye-openers is a Jaguar E-Type roadster, a Jaguar MK9 sedan, a Ferrari 250 GTO, a Vespa VBB 150, a Metisse Desert Racer motorbike, and a mahogany Riva motorlaunch. There’s even a scene filmed at Goodwood, home of the famed Goodwood Festival of Speed, complete with vintage F1 racers. The 250 GTO, though featured on some of the movie posters, sadly doesn’t get much screen time, merely sitting in the villain’s driveway for a couple of scenes. But in any case it is just a replica, built from scratch because it would have been too expensive to rent one of the $25 million beauties. Still it would have been pretty wicked in the big chase scene, which instead features a Land Rover and a custom dune buggy.


The original TV series, while not quite as flashy in the vehicle department, did have one cool car that Ritchie and co. overlooked – the AMT Piranha Super Spy Car. Custom built by Gene Winfieldin in Phoenix, Arizona, the car featured 007-like gadgets including flame throwers, machine guns, laser beams, a radar screen, parachute, marine propellers and rocket launchers set into the gullwing doors. Power came from a rear-mounted Corvair engine, and the car was subsequently offered as a kit to U.N.C.L.E. fans though it only appeared in a few episodes. Bubble windows were added after U.N.C.L.E. actors Robert Vaughn (Napoleon Solo) and David McCallum (Illya Kuryakin) had trouble getting in and out of the thing. After the U.N.C.L.E. series were cancelled in 1968, the car was placed in storage and fell into disrepair. It was eventually purchased by a fan and restored to original condition. Nice one.

All film stills: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


Words by Jared Paul Stern