Pick of the Day: 1975 Puma GT 1600, Volkswagen-powered sports coupe

puma

The Pick of the Day is something you don’t see too often, or maybe ever, or even heard of unless you’re some kind of Volkswagen fanatic. 

This little yellow sports coupe is a 1975 Puma GT 1600, a car made in Brazil for the home market and rarely seen in the US; in period, they were brought here only in kit form, and not too many at that.

With a twin-carb, air-cooled 1,600cc VW boxer engine in the rear, the fastback coupe has definite Volkswagen underpinnings, but it didn’t start out that way.  Puma was a small Brazilian automaker that produced cars from 1964 through 1995, and the GT originally was built as a race car with front engine/front-wheel-drive powered by a DKW drivetrain. 

But in 1967, Volkswagen bought DKW and moved production out of Brazil, which had strict taxation laws against automotive imports, thus leaving Puma with no engines available.  So, the sports car was reborn in 1967 as the GT 1600 with a rear engine/rear-wheel-drive layout ala the VW Beetle, and now for street use.

puma

“It’s reported that only 22,000 were built,” states the Pompano Beach, Florida, dealer advertising the Puma on ClassicCars.com.  

This Volkswagen-powered Puma wears its all-original fiberglass body, which the dealer says has “some small paint imperfections” on the roof, and a black interior that the dealer says looks like new.   There’s no information in the ad regarding mileage or any restoration history.

The engine is linked with a Volkswagen 4-speed manual transaxle and rides on a set of 14-inch 5-spoke wheels.  The undercarriage is solid, the dealer adds, and the car “runs and drives great.”

“Lots of looks and fun to drive!!!” the dealer exclaims.

This sporty coupe would be a huge hit at any Volkswagen gathering, of which there are many, but the owner would need to be ready to answer loads of questions about what it is and where it came from. 

puma

The ad does not specify whether this Puma was built in Brazil or assembled from the kit, which most-likely would have been done by a handy owner in the US.  The kit-based cars came fairly complete, with a builder needing to supply only a VW engine and transaxle, front suspension, wheels and tires.

The Puma is priced at $23.500.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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