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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1967 Puma GTE

Volkswagen specials are nothing new; cheap, reliable and easy to obtain parts, the basic construction of the original Beetle has been the basis for numerous custom hot rods and replicas. One of the more interesting, though, didn’t come from Germany at all. Built from the remnants of the DKW-Vemag custom business in Brazil of making modified DKWs, Puma was launched in 1967 now with Volkswagen underpinnings instead of the now Volkswagen subsidiary DKW. The look of the new coupe – dubbed the 1600 GTE – was reportedly based upon the Lamborghini Miura, though hints of other Italian exotics certainly show through. Still, as with most of these customs, finding a nice one you’d actually drive it pretty unlikely. But the seller of this custom custom went to great lengths to mimic Ferrari inspiration, and I have to say the results are impressive:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 Puma GTE on eBay

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1980 Volkswagen Ventura Coupe

When it comes to Volkswagen customs, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can get everything from a Baja Bug to a Bugatti, Ferraris to Mercedes-Benz 540Ks, and GT40, 917K and even the Monkeymobile. But most of them look somewhat out of proportion, like a real example of the car stuck in funhouse mirrors. But sometimes, when they weren’t intent on making a copy of another car, these customs can actually look okay – and the Ventura Coupe is a good example of that. Sure, there are styling cues from Bitters, Toyotas and some Italian metal, but the Ventura has its own unique style and doesn’t scream “kit car” from its first impression. Looking lovely in red, this Brazilian-built Volkswagen is a rare sight on these shores:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Ventura on eBay

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