Famous 'Pawn Stars' Car -- Engine Burst Into Flames

2/11/2011 9:30 AM PST

Famous 'Pawn Stars' Car -- Engine Burst Into Flames

The sleek black 1966 Imperial Crown Convertible made famous on "Pawn Stars" was NEARLY laid to rest yesterday -- after its engine suddenly burst into flames -- but TMZ has learned ... there's still hope.

Sources connected with the show tell TMZ, a production assistant was driving the car -- which belongs to Richard aka "The Old Man" -- and right before he made it back to the shop for yesterday's taping ... the engine suddenly burst into flames.

They haven't pinpointed the exact reason behind the miniature explosion -- but we're told, a loose fuel hose is probably to blame.

No word on the extent of the damage either -- but according to our source, it shouldn't be too hard to fix.