1982 Puma GTC

Over the last few months I’ve taken a look at a few oddball Volkswagen do Brasil creations that were popular but never appeared here. Most recently was the Karmann Ghia TC, before that was the legendary and fantastic SP2, and first but mostly forgettable was the Brasilia:

1978 Volkswagen Brasilia LS

But the Brasilia’s rather humdrum existence was spiced up by an aftermarket producer known as Puma. Puma Indústria de Veículos SA’s roots were actually in producing rebodied front-engine DKWs in Brazil, but they managed to make the kit work with some refinement first on the Karmann Ghia and later on the Brasilia. The result was the Puma GTE – a pretty slick budget Ferrari Dino knockoff which somehow managed to work when so many VW-based customs didn’t. Puma added a convertible version called the GTS in the 1970s and then renamed that model the GTC for 1980, two years before the Brasilia shut down production. Sold as complete cars in South America and later South Africa, some kits were sent to North America – but this one is an original build and import:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Puma GTC on eBay

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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

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1980 Volkswagen Brasilia

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Paul has featured a couple of Brasilias here before, but its small original market means we almost never see them in the US. This one has made its way to Florida and looks to be in great shape after just 66k miles. The ones Paul featured were 2-door shooting brakes, while this one is the slightly less elegant 4-door. Interior and exterior look extremely nice, even in the frunk. It’s pretty much a Beetle but with a lot more practicality and a bit less cuteness. Who needs cute when you can be funky and rare?

Click for details: 1980 Volkswagen Brasilia on eBay

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1974 Volkswagen Brasilia

The two-door estate, or shooting brake, as it is sometimes referred to, is a bit of a dying breed in the automotive realm. MINI revived the concept a bit with the Clubman based on their second generation platform. Technically, this was a five-door vehicle, but it was essentially a two-door vehicle with a third door for rear egress and two dutch doors for the tailgate. Volkswagen has dabbled in this breed as well, most recently with the Fox, a variant of the Brazilian market Gol brought to the US in the late 1980s. It wasn’t a huge seller, being pulled from the market after a few short years and two years before the Fox disappeared altogether. You could almost consider the car you see here, the Brasilia, as that car’s ancestor.

The Brasilia was developed by Volkswagen do Brasil as a larger, more luxurious alternative to the Beetle, with some being built in Mexico, like the car we see here for sale in the state of Jalisco in Mexico. This car was never sold new in the United States, but a few have appeared in enthusiast circles north of the Mexican border, serving as a curious and slightly more up to date version of the Type 3 Squareback.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Volkswagen Brasilia on eBay

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1981 Volkswagen Brasilia

In the early 1970s, Volkswagen sought to develop a new line of cars for the Brazilian market, based on Beetle architecture that offered a bit more space and practicality. Thus, in 1973 the Brasilia was born, which bore resemblance to the 412. The Brasilia utilized the 1600 engine from the Beetle and remained in production until 1982, having been produced in Mexico and in Nigeria in kit form. Here is a very clean, original example that made the rare trek into the US.

1981 Volkswagen Brasilia

The seller states:

VW Brasilia for sale, the only reason I’m selling this car is because I need tha money, this is a very rare and unique model built in Brazil and Mexico, now in very high demand worldwide by those that truly want something different, A very rare opportunity to buy one of these in the US.

They were only sold in Brazil and Mexico and were never imported to the US, there is only four of this known registered in the US, now you can have the 5th. this car is all original, only have a paint job thats was made profesionally, only 48,000 original kilometers, that’s 29,800 miles, this car was stored 23 years for and old man who bouhgt it brand new, use it for jus a few years and store it, everything work great, engine is almost new, heather work good, absolutely no rust, never been involved in a car accident, has brand mew tires, the only modifications that have been made to the engine are; new electronic ignition system replacing the old points system and a new oil pump with filter, this parts are original bosh bought in a vw dealer no aftermarket parts, everything else is original.

This car is currently registered in Mexico, but can easily registered in the US. I’m asking $12,000 OBO or I can accept a car about the same price in trade in, this car has a great value for those who collect antique cars or love VWs, old bug.com has one of these for sale in 12,750 and not in the same conditions as this.

There’s no denying this is probably the best Brasilia you could buy in the US currently, however, $12,000 for what is essentially a Beetle in disguise is a tough pill to swallow, at least for me, no matter the condition. WIthout a doubt, its presence is rare in this country and could be worth a lot to the right Volkswagen collector.

-Paul