1969 Volkswagen 1600L

This one’s a bit of a strange duck. And if it doesn’t look familiar to you, don’t worry – it didn’t to me, either. What we’re looking at is a 1969 Volkswagen 1600L, which looks vaguely like the Notchback model offered here in the 1960s. Of course, I said vaguely…because we didn’t get a four-door variant, nor did this styling come here. So what is this wonder? Well, it comes from Brazil, of course, and it underneath a Type 3 just like the Notchback. But the Brazilian version was styled by Márcio Piancastelli, who is probably best known for the designs of the neat Brasilia model and the even neater SP2. The 1600, though, was not a huge design success for him. Nicknamed “Zé do Caixão” – ‘Coffin Joe’, the sedan version would go on to only be sold for three model years before it was discontinued. It was the basis for a larger estate version though, as well as the quite neat Karmann Ghia TC. So let’s take a look at this oddball:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Volkswagen 1600L on eBay

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1984 Volkswagen Saveiro S

Hey, remember yesterday’s Gol LS?

1983 Volkswagen Gol LS

I mentioned that they made a pickup version of the Gol as well, which Volkswagen do Brasil sold as the Saveiro. It effectively followed the same recipe as the Rabbit Pickup; chop the front off of the normal car and make a somewhat usable back end. In the case of the Saveiro, the result was even a bit more bizarre-looking than the Sportruck, but nevertheless it’s neat to see one – and it’s perhaps no surprise that the seller of the Gol is also shifting this one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Saveiro S on eBay

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1983 Volkswagen Gol LS

Looking a bit like an alternate universe version of the early 80s Honda Accord hatchback, the Gol model was Volkswagen do Brasil’s replacement for the Brasilia . Based on a mix of components borrowed from the Audi B1 and B2 models, it initially was quite different than the Fox variants we’d see here in the late 80s. That’s because up front was not a familiar water-cooled engine; the Gol instead received a 1.3-liter flat-four from the Beetle under the front hood. Sound crazy? It was a bit, but it worked, and it was cheap – so it sold pretty well. They also made several different versions, including a Caddy-like ‘pickup‘ – but today we’re looking at an ’83 hatchback that’s already been imported:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen Gol LS on eBay

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1989 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon

The Volkswagen Fox is a model which is almost entirely overlooked by us. It’s not because we don’t like the concept of the entry-level Volkswagen brought to the U.S. from Brazil, but the budget pricing coupled with legendary 1980s Volkswagen reliability and build quality (cough cough) hasn’t exactly left a plethora of examples of these small VWs left to contemplate. The Fox was offered in three configurations – two door coupe, four door sedan and two door wagon. Without a doubt, it was the wagon which gets the most enthusiast attention these days. In profile, it looks a bit like a B2 Audi if they had made a wagon, and indeed pop the hood and you’ll see the same longitudinal configuration. Some parts are even interchangeable with the B2 Audis, like the steering rack. But more of this car was shared with the Golf than any Audi product, and though the Fox resurrected the Audi B1 nameplate here the two shared only a passing resemblance. Infrequently seen, these little wagons are neat cars that march to the beat of slightly different Brazilian drummers:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Fox GL Wagon 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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1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia TC

I’ll assume if you’re into this site you’re pretty familiar with the Type 14 Karmann Ghia even though I don’t talk about them much. Basically, it was the original Scirocco – taking the ‘pedestrian’ underpinnings of the Beetle and creating a sporty persona to mask them. If you’re a real fan of VWs, you’re probably also familiar with the second, upscale Karmann Ghia – the Type 34. I took a look at one last year:

1966 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 34

With only 42,500 sold compared to the nearly half million Type 14 Ghias produced – and never officially imported to the U.S., most people are fairly unaware of this model even though it’s arguably one of the prettiest Volkswagens made.

But there was an even more rare third Karmann Ghia. This was the Type 145 produced by Volkswagen do Brasil. Styled by Giugiaro and with the stretched Type III chassis underneath, a scant 18,000 of the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Touring Coupe (TC) were produced solely for the South American market:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia TC 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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1975 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia TC

I’m always intrigued by the variety of market specific vehicles that Volkswagen has produced over the years. From the myriad of Citi Golfs I’ve seen all over South Africa to the SP2 of the Brasilian market, this is a company that’s been very adept at making niche models for regional tastes. Case in point this 1975 Karmann Ghia TC for sale in São Paulo, Brasil. Produced from 1970 through 1976, this coupe was based on the Type 3 chassis and used the 1600cc “pancake” flat-4. This was the direct successor to the Type 14 Karmann Ghia and was sold only in South America. Just over 18,000 copies were ever produced.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia TC on eBay

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