1978 Volkswagen Brasilia LS

Do you ever wonder ‘What if VW had decided to make the Golf platform develop from the Beetle rather than the Audi 50?

Me either. But it’s an interesting thought exercise, and what’s interesting is that we actually have an example of what could have been. That’s because Volkswagen do Brasil did produce a hatchback successor to the Beetle, and here it is – the Brasilia. The Brazilian branch of VW utilized a Karmann Ghia floor, a 1600 cc Beetle motor and borrowed the styling from the Type 4s to create a small 3- and 5-door hatchback.

It was reasonably successful, too – Volkswagen do Brasil reportedly sold somewhere north of 1,000,000 of them over a ten year production cycle from 1973-1982. They were sold primarily in Central and South America, never making it past the Rio Grande officially, but kits of the Brasilia were also sent to Africa. The Brasilia remains the only mass-produced air-cooled rival to the Beetle, amazingly. Today, an absolutely pristine example is up on eBay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Brasilia LS on eBay


Year: 1978
Model: Brasilia LS
VIN: BA713013
Engine: 1.6 liter flat-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 27,340 mi
Price: $28,900 Buy It Now

The Brasilia was one of the first Volkswagens to be developed and built outside of the German manufacturing facilities. The former president of Volkswagen of Brazil, Rudolph Leidig, inspired by the SP2, challenged the brand engineers to produce a new version of the Beetle, however adapted to the Brazilian market. The new concept should offer more space, utilize the same mechanics but with a more contemporary look. After a series of prototypes, finally José Vicente Martins and Márcio Piancastelli presented a concept to be the final model. Similarly, to a ‘’mini-Variant’’, with a modernized version of the front of this vehicle, being 2 centimeters shorter than the Beetle, however with the same space between axles, bigger interior room and a wider frontal glass, a satisfactory front trunk and a practical hatchback door on the rear compartment. The straight-line body design was smooth and balanced which was innovative in the era. This styling characteristic gave a roomier interior for the passengers, something difficult to come around in the segment at those times. Launched on the market in 1973, it was responsible for the leadership in sales for Volkswagen for almost a decade. In 1978 was the first face lift of the Brasilia. The changes were discreet. The thin bumpers with round corners became more robust with plastic corners and rectangular format, the front hood getting two longitudinal lines, rear tail light received a new lens, like the ones used on Mercedes-Benz. On the same year it was presented in the Brazilian International car show as LS version, the most luxurious in the history of the Brasilia model, offering head support for the front seats, some exclusive exterior details like, side moldings, rubber molding on the bumpers, headlights with moldings and metallic colors. Also, it was offered with some upgraded equipment like rear defroster, clock and FM radio. The LS version was to be launched in 1979, but the initial 300 were released late 1978, just like the one that we are offering for sale. This version being extremely rare because of its luxurious style and price difference from the base model, made it difficult to sell.

The Brasilia made itself the best-selling vehicle in Brazil in 1979, with more than 150,000 units sold only that year. This unit in which we are selling includes all the available options in the LS version, including the original ‘’Mantiqueira’’ which is our Green Metallic. This vehicle is found with low miles, only 44,000 Kilometers (27,340 Miles) and even though it has been through a meticulous restoration process, it maintains its original body structure and seal. The interior is about 80% original from the manufacturer, the mechanical was completely restored which includes rebuilding the engine, brakes, clutch, bearings, wheels, tires and fuel tank and all these parts used on the restoration are original Volkswagen parts.

Please call to come see and inspect the car. All sales are AS-IS. We can help to export and transportation. 305-332-2294

If you haven’t yet, take some time to click through the photos. The restoration on this car is really quite impressive – especially so considering its price point and that it’s a relative unknown in the States. A slow trickle of these cars have made it up here to collectors, but buying this one certainly does place in you rarefied air-cooled circles still. On top of that, it’s likely one of the best ones out there. The question is – would you pay $30,000 for that honor?

Well, to put it into perspective, that’s a hefty premium over even very nice Beetles that come to market. Here, for example, is a lovely and classic restored Beetle for $11,000 less:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1960 Volkswagen Beetle on eBay


On the other hand, you’re going to be pretty much like everyone else in the air-cooled world if you choose a Beetle. How about something that’s a bit more rare to see, like this ’62 Type 3 1500 Notchback?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1962 Volkswagen Type 3 1500 Notchback on eBay


A beautiful and rarely seen example, the asking price is nonetheless double the Brasilia. Which would I rather be seen in? The 1500. Which would draw more attention at a show? I’d wager the Brasilia just might. You are paying a premium for that rarity in the U.S. and the restoration work, which appears to be thorough. But you’re also getting a lovely and very different collector car in a world where people are constantly trying to reinforce their individuality and stand apart from the crowd. Esta é a resposta.

-Carter

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