VW’s SP Series


There hasn’t been much written or much interesting steel produced, it seems to us, about the Brazilian car industry. Apparently the Karmann Ghia was produced in significant numbers in Brazil – but apart from that a 1970s import ban simply resulted in poor quality facsimiles of European cars being produced.

It might be one of the biggest and most populous nations on the planet – but as far as car culture is concerned, it seems that the spirit of Samba, carnival and very attractive individuals seem to eclipse anything produced in a factory.

But, there is an exception to every rule: and Volkswagen’s SP series is it.

Originally conceived at the end of the 1960s by VW’s Brazilian operation, 10,000 odd of the resulting SP was produced in Brazilian factories. The car was based on the frame of the Variant and was powered by an air-cooled four-cylinder engine which displaced 1700 – and was apparently a little weedy.

Shame, because the lines of the car with that sporty-looking ‘brake’ style back end and air-friendly lozenge shape, the car’s looks wrote cheques that its performance couldn’t cash.

The final version of the car was undoubtedly the most interesting and was an attempt to solve the power problem by running with a tweaked version of the Passat 1.8. Unfortunately, it never went into widespread production.

With Brazil one of the few countries bucking the worldwide trend of downturn, how long can it be until the boys from Brazil come up with some thing interesting?