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Tag: flat-4

1973 Volkswagen SP2

Volkswagen do Brasil’s attempt to revise the Karmann Ghia Type 14 took two very different directions. Both were based on the 1600 wagon, but they took very different directions. The Karmann Ghia TC looked like a restyled version of the original, while the SP2 looked a bit like a Type 4 and a 928 had a wild child.

‘SP’ referenced São Paulo where the SP and SP2 were produced. The early model had a 1.6 liter flat-4, while the SP2 moved up to a 75 horsepower 1.7 air-cooled flat-4 mounted in the rear. The proportions of the body styling seemed to suggest the opposite though, with the long, low hood and hatchback GT profile looking more like a traditional sports car than any VW had before. Other period designs were borrowed – the Volkswagen 411, the Porsche 924 and Audi’s 100 Coupe S all had similar angles.

Only about 11,300 of these ultra-rare, Brazil-only SP2s were produced. They’re about as legendary as air-cooled VWs get in the U.S., so when one pops up for sale it’s worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Volkswagen SP2 on eBay

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1974 Volkswagen Brasilia

I’ll start out by saying that the Brasilia is not the most beautiful Volkswagen product. It is not the most beautiful air-cooled product, either. In fact, we can go a few steps further and argue that it’s not even the most beautiful product from Volkswagen do Brazil, but a factor of at least two – since the SP2 and Karmann Ghia TC have that market pretty firmly cornered. But all three of these Brazilian creations share one thing in common, besides being air-cooled and produced in South America – they’re über rare in the states. Today a clean Brasilia has popped up on eBay in Florida, and it was worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Volkswagen Brasilia on eBay

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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 Indstria de Veculos 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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1976 Volkswagen SP2

Here’s another alternative air-cooled Volkswagen from Brazil. We saw the Brasilia recently – Volkswagen do Brasil’s answer to the Golf platform and intended to extend the life of the Beetle platform. Here was their attempt to modernize the Karmann Ghia – the infamous SP2.

‘SP’ referenced So Paulo where the SP and SP2 were produced. The early model had a 1.6 liter flat-4, while the SP2 moved up to a 75 horsepower 1.7 air-cooled flat-4 mounted in the rear. The proportions of the body styling seemed to suggest the opposite though, with the long, low hood and hatchback GT profile looking more like a traditional sports car than any VW had before. Other period designs were borrowed – the Volkswagen 411, the Porsche 924 and Audi’s 100 Coupe S all had similar angles. But it was probably Volkswagen do Brasil’s own Karmann Ghia TC (Typ 145) that looked the most similar.

Only about 11,300 of these ultra-rare, Brazil-only SP2s were produced. They’re about as legendary as air-cooled VWs get in the U.S., so when one pops up for sale it’s worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 Volkswagen SP2 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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