1954 Justicialista: Porsche Powered

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This 1954 Justicialista is not only great for “what is it” trivia, but it’s also a front wheel drive car with a engine meant for the rear. This car was based on the German DKW 4 door front wheel sedan with styling adapted from the 1951 Chevy. It’s an interesting story. In 1949 the Argentina government, think Peron, took over the factory producing navy aircraft. Argentina was hoping to establish an automotive industry. In order to get a car into production quickly, they decided to adapt the DKW drivetrain. The DKW 2 stroke engine wasn’t powerful enough, so they had to find a different engine. So they created a fiberglass body and powered it using a Porsche 356 engine and 4 speed transmission. It was available as either a coupe or a roadster with a removable hardtop, as well as a 2+2 version. They even built a couple of front engine V8 versions! This coupe is listed here on eBay Australia with bidding at $17,000 in case you had any fantasies of buying it. It’s lacking an engine (perhaps used in the Porsche ahead of it) Is that really a transverse leaf spring suspension visible above the transmission? And from the looks of the rear of this car, it looks like it was never completed.

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  1. Dolphin Member

    Ouch! This is the definition of slab-sided ugly. I guess this is what you get with design by government, when a few different government agencies each get a different chunk of the car to design but don’t talk to each other. Looks like the wheels and tires are the best part of the car. And 100 MPH with 55 HP from 1.5 liters? I don’t think so.

  2. MikeW

    It looks like a cross between a 49 Ford and a Karmann Ghia

  3. James

    This car was finished and has been partially dismantled for a period of time.

    The Justicialista story is long varied and with numerous twists and turns. I’ll begin with the 1958 – 1963 Porsche Teram “Puntero” which evolved from the origins of the Justicialista Gran Sport. Check out the photos and the optional engines – engines in the rear I must add:


    Short 1:09 video with coupes, pickup, roadster, ending with a silver Porsche Teram


    It has been suggested that Ferry Porsche may have given his approval for the high Porsche content including seats and gauges in the 144 Porsche Teram cars.

  4. High Hope

    That would be hoot to drive to the local PCA Shine and Show. People might actually go apoplectic.

  5. High Hope

    Wow, I didn’t realize the Porsche engine was mounted up front. Imagine a Carrera engine in one of those cars? Now I really want it. The slab-sidedness reminds me of Facel HK500, which is an all-time whack-job favorite too.

  6. Bobsmyuncle

    I actually think it looks great especially without its bumpers! The version with the 356 front end is even nicer!

  7. Bobsmyuncle

    And those wheels are fantastic!

  8. James

    To view the original Justicialista coupe/removable hardtop design with early 50s Cadillac style fins/rear tail lamps as displayed at the Argentina Gran Prix in 1954 go to:

    www dot retrovisions dot com/2010/06/justicialistas/

    You can see the front and rear of one of these early cars in an outdoor glass display case and the cover of a March 1954 Argentine magazine with the typical photo of a model with the coupe displayed in New York in early ’54 by typing in url:

    www dot retrovisions dot com/2010/06/el-sueno-peronista-continua/

    Now for a direct link to the restored V8 (powered by a Tatra like V8) Justicialista – the only one (of two) that exists today. Additionally there are photos of the engineering department and fabrication of sedan, station wagon and pickup prototypes. In English thanks to Google translate:


  9. James

    Restoring the Justicialista on eBay Australia will not be inexpensive particularly if one factors in shipping to North or South America or Europe. However it is one of 157 production coupes from a time when fiberglass technology was new and front wheel drive sports coupes were not the norm. Someone is likely up to the challenge. Production figures for the Justicialista Gran Sport is 167 which includes ten pre-production early cars according to data I found.

    It’s interesting to think what might have been if Argentina’s depth of engineering and design expertise – not to mention wealth – had been as great as that of Germany when another dictator decreed that a peoples car be built. Argentina tilted at windmills but managed limited success.

    This last page shows the I.A.M.E. Justicialista lineup with specifications for the early 2 & 4 (690 & 800 cc) 2 cycle sedans, the Graciela & Graciela W Wartburg & Wartburg powered cars, the Justicialista Pickups and, of course the Gran Sport and Convertible:


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