Brazilian Beauty: 1976 Volkswagen SP2

For many fans of air-cooled Volkswagens, the SP2 is a vehicle of lore. VW manufactured and sold this vehicle in Brazil, and it was available exclusively for the country’s market. With that being said, this fully restored SP2 is available here on eBay, and it’s located in the United States.

Volkswagen only made around 10,000 of the SP2, and the story behind this one is quite neat. Originally, it was a barn find – the seller originally mistook the funky Volkswagen for a Porsche while checking out a 1917 Oldsmobile Truck. After a Google search that revealed how rare the SP2 was, the seller knew they needed to get their hands on it.

The exterior of this SP2 received a thorough repaint that retains the factory color. All of the exterior trim is in excellent shape, as are the headlights and taillights.

Inside the cabin, the seats are reupholstered in leather, and there are few imperfections, spare for a single crack in the dashboard.

The SP2 uses Volkswagen’s Type 3 chassis, and though it looks like a vehicle with the engine in the front, it uses the same rear-mounted engine setup as other air-cooled VW models. A fun fact about the SP2: though its name stands for “Sao Paolo,” Brazilian locals gave it a much less endearing nickname – “Sem Potência”, which translates to “without power” in Portuguese.

Despite it being more beauty than brawn, this SP2 supposedly runs and drives excellently, sporting two rebuilt carburetors, new fuel lines, and various other maintenance items. Impressively, the engine only has 10,482 kilometers on it, which translates to a hair over 6,000 miles.

Of course, the advertisement spends plenty of time talking up the SP2 – calling it “the sexiest sports car you’ve never heard of,” though the ad also compares the SP2 to the Porsche 924 – a sports car that many people don’t find sporty, nor sexy. It’s very clear that the seller knows what they have.

The starting bid is currently at $45,000 USD, though the reserve has not been met. After reading the ad, it’s clear the seller knows what they have, and they claim that if there is no sale, the next stop for this SP2 is Barrett-Jackson’s auctions. Do you think this piece of Volkswagen history is worth it, or do you feel that the asking price is too ambitious?

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  1. Howard A Member

    Well, I’ve never seen one, we sure missed out on some cool cars here in the US. With 0 bids, the seller is dreaming. $45g’s buys a pretty nice Jaguar,,,

  2. Emir

    You can import one from Brasil for half that price!

    • Miguel

      I doubt you could buy one in Brazil for that price.

  3. That AMC guy

    Sounds like a crack-pipe price. Who knows though, it might be worth that to somebody.

  4. Tony Primo

    I have always been a big fan of a nice Brazilian.

    • ken tilly

      According to Rubens Barricello, in Brazil it’s known as a Hitler !

  5. Tom

    Neat and rare. I am sure some collector will stash it away.

  6. Tom Henderson

    He will get that price and more.

  7. JohnT

    Rare does not equal valuable

  8. Carnut

    The seller presumes that rich guys don’t read.. or do research.. the reality is that you can go to brazil and buy them for 22-25kbrazilian dollars which is about 7k.. I guess he does not know rich guys are rich because they don’t overpay Here is one example I found in about 2 minutes:

    • Johnny BB

      That is an old ad from may last year…and it is priced at $34,000 us$ shipped into LA……

    • James HGF

      The English language site you provided offers a search program with a stated a price of € 25,000 euros and up. The Brazilian Real uses a modified dollar sign with 2 vertical lines rather than one or simply R$ using the one line common font. Currently 1€ = $1.14 US. The British pound £ = $1.32 US. The Brazilian R$ = $0.265.

      Link to Car and Classic in the UK with list of Brazilian SP2s from apparently £ 20,000 (fellow left off three zeros, eh?) to £ 39,990.

    • Miguel

      Here are three ads from Mercado Libre from Brazil $85,000 Reales $79,000 Reales $99,000 Reales

      I am not sure where you got the idea they can be bought for $25,000 Reales. Brazil does not use dollars.

    • pete

      thats a scam at that price. i owned one of these cars a few years back. and sold it on ebay. it went to Poland.

    • Ron

      The delivered cost (to Miami) of the car you linked to is $33,714 USD + customs/duty fees, so not so far off the $45k ask. It was categorized with the vehicles greater than 25,000 Euros.

    • DKW

      Your two minute research shows it’s you who doesn’t read well and that this guy is in the right ballpark with his asking price. It’s an old ad (May, 2018), so it’s doubtful the car is still available. Hence, rare. It is in the “25K and up” category and that’s Euros not “brazilian dollars” (check again) making it a car north of $28,000 if you buy it and leave it in Brazil. Otherwise add to that the cost to deliver it to the US, get it prepped for and pay all customs charges, have it transported from port to your house (unless you live in the port town) and, either way, you are very close to $40K, one side or the other. Now, if you think “rich guys” spend that kind of money without either flying to see the car in person or paying an agent to inspect the car, then you should have another think coming. Factoring in those costs, it’s at or north of $45K.

      His price may be “all the money” and no bargain, but I’m betting he’s more on target than you imply.

  9. PDXBryan

    Ah darn. I was thinking this could be my affordable 912 substitute – guess not.

  10. KO

    Type 3 chassis you say? The Type 3 or pancake engine is virtually, except for sheet metal and cooling fan, the same and just as modifiable as the Type 1 engine. I would build a nice 2 liter engine to make the performance of that SP2 match it’s looks.

  11. Kenneth Carney

    Sounds like he’s already getting ready
    for Barrett Jackson with that price.
    Too rich for me. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

  12. Suttree

    Seller is suffering from Barrett Jacksonitis.

    • andyb

      Suttree; although I think it’s pricey for a VW, can you point me to other options in similar condition?

      Though as a collector/restorer, many folks have inflated values from BJ/Mecum/unsold eBay auctions, this is an oddity. I couldn’t imagine finding glass, seats, trim bits, etc for one to restore in the US.

      Good paint is $7-10k now.

      He’s in the ballpark. If it was something I desired, I’d be on it….

  13. Kamm

    It’s like VW built their own kit car.

  14. Moparman Member

    We had one to show up at our Coffee & Chrome show. It’s astounding how very low slung these cars are. Somewhere, I have a picture of me standing beside it, with my arm outstretched over the roof…I’m 6’4″ and it seems like there was at least two feet between my arm and the top of the car!! :-)

  15. Kenneth Carney

    Hi suttree! I think they make meds to
    deal with Barrett-Jackson Syndrome,
    and if they don’t, give ’em time and I’m
    sure they’ll come up with something.
    Better living through chemestry!

    • xrotartguy

      They do make meds and they’re very cheap. You can tell they’re cheap because poor and middle class folks never suffer from Barrett Jacksonitis!

  16. Miguel

    The height of the car seems way off. There is too much space between the front and rear tires.

    The new buyer should check for any suspension problems.

    • Bill Wilkman

      The fit of the hood and deck lid also appear funky. Can’t imagine VW built them with these panel gap issues.

      • NoMoreGaps

        Read in the eBay ad seller states … ‘Gaps in hatch and trunk are because they were not latched down in pictures’

      • Spencer Wetherall

        In the add it says the Trunk was open…I own the Car and all the body lines are Nice…Doors shut like they came out of the Factory…Never any rust or accidents…6500 Actual Miles…Low Serial Number…

  17. William Conway

    I was living in Brasil in 1973-74, and my daily driver while there was one of these that I was able to purchase brand new from the local VW dealer in Campinas, SP.
    My wife and I were newly weds at the time, and we travelled all over Brasil in this great car on many weekend adventures.
    Wanted to bring the car home when we returned, but too many regulations in the way from Customs, NTSB, EPA, etc. to even have a prayer of making it an economical move.
    Paid about US$3800.00 at the time if I recall, got one of the last ones built in a beautiful Ivory finish with the black interior.
    I would live to have one even today, but I will have to make do with my 1973 Porsche 911 hot rod.
    This car would need an additional 100 hp or so to be enjoyable here. keep in mind it has the rear swing axle suspension too…:)

  18. Bill

    Looks like Mike from American Pickers needs to invest in this one

  19. Bruce

    IF there ever was a car that needed a Porsche 911 engine transplant it is this one. I have only seen one and it was a true beauty. Better in some ways then the 924 and worse in others but still wonderful eye candy. I am certain that a turbo or supercharged engine could work wonders as well as modern suspensions bushing, brakes and lighting.

    Thank you for the post. Been a very long time since I have see one at all and this nice as well.

  20. Vinz

    I’ve owned two SP2s. I bought the first one for $1,200 back in the early ’90s. Did a full ground-up restoration, enjoyed it for many years and then sold it in 2016 for $20,000. The second one served as a part car and then I sold what was left to a collector for about $2,500. In my opinion, clean original SP2s or nicely restored ones in the USA should sell for $25k to $30k. Less in Brazil but delivery to the USA could be expensive.

  21. Cj5

    Turn mother’s picture to the wall and drop in a crate LS1. Nobody would accuse you of ruining it.

  22. pete

    i sold a project , not running , with some rust on ebay a few years ago.. at 45k , this is a fair price. it would cost you 5k just to get one here from Brazil, if you could find one. 45k? probably a fair deal. but not for the low ball know it all .

  23. xrotartguy

    I think it looks amazing! Kinda like a sportier version of a 411 / 412. I never knew these existed.

  24. Danh

    Wow! A VW that I kinda like! Never heard of it. Wonder if you could stuff a Porsche Engine in it??

  25. William Conway

    Porsche or VW 4 cylinder, yes. 6 would just not work in this chassis. Too long and too heavy for rear engine configuration..

  26. William Conway

    It w@nts tohave a flat fan also. Vertical fan would be intrusive

  27. sluggo

    Why are we throwing shade on the Porsche 924 barnfinds?? They were a pretty cool car back in their time, Especially compared to what the US had to offer.
    Affordable and a step up compared to the garbage Detroit was peddling. I looked at buying one in 1985 while in Germany and bringing back to the US.
    Here is some points to consider,, In 1985 you could buy a Chevy Chevette for about $6,000 new, A true piece of crap by anyones standards. OR,,,,, a Young GI on limited budget could get a Porsche 924 with leather interior for the same, add a few DM for a turbo. Instant chick magnet. Chevette? Not so much. Better yet, drive the Porsche around Europe during your assignment, then ship it back to the US several years later and SELL it for more than you paid for it!. Chevette,,, not so much!
    Now this car??? Sure looks cool to me, But seems expensive for what you get. Better values out there unless you wanted to be the coolest kid in the local VW car club.

  28. Capt. Sam Wilson

    It looks like a 240 Z.. but I would like to have one. but the guy selling painted it… thumbs down… and to high a price.. profiteer..

  29. james boyd

    Are my eye’s getting warped but does anyone else see PININFARINA design influence?

  30. William Conway

    The SP-2 was designed in Brasil, at the VW do Brazil Operation in San Paulo, which was at the time the largest VW facility in the World.
    They presented the design to the parent company, which was in the partnership with Porsche at the time to build and sell the 914 on a worldwide basis.
    VWs reply to VW do Brasil was “ You can build its but only for sale in Brasil.”
    Kind of doomed the car to oblivion, with their limited market for sports cars at the time.

  31. Ed

    I inspected this car in person yesterday and while it shows just over 10,500 miles, it has many needs. Electrical needs complete re-wiring as directionals, horn, flashers, radio, don’t work. Rear hatch struts and connectors broken, engine cover missing, dashboard cracked, interior dirty, carpets dried out, seats nicely reupholstered. Glass is original, engine runs fine, transmission and bakes ok. Underside painted “rattle can” black, rear shock mount bent, New fuel line installed (outside of tunnel), fuel tank restored, carbs rebuilt, second horn missing. New paint is just ok (glass was not removed) door trim dried out and disintegrating.
    This car isn’t worth anywhere near $45k, I wouldn’t pay more the $20k for it. My Brazilian friends have shown me 3-4 beautifully restored SP2s in the $25-35k range all of which put this car to shame … and I’m pretty sure I can import one for less than $5k putting me WAY ahead of this “project”.

    • sluggo

      And thus, a perfect example of WHY a FPI (First Person Inspection) Is invaluable.
      While I was never a buyer on this, it illustrates the true value in doing so. Thanks for the update and life lesson.

    • Spencer Wetherall

      In Response…I own this VW SP2…I was more worried about making sure the engine would Run First before I sunk any money into this car…The last thing I was worried about was broken pieces of plastic on the end of the struts for the rear hatch…I do have the engine cover, it just wasn’t on the car so he could see the engine…Sorry the interior was dusty…Cleaned and detailed for Car Shows now…Carpets are nice…Underside is nice with no dents or rust…Both rear shocks have factory bends…He did not compare both sides of the cars rear shock mounts. Car sits level all the way around and drives straight…They only came with one Horn not two…The New paint was not wet sanded and buffed yet…”and it is now”…PPG Paint and high end clear…The Paint shop used a computer camera to match the paint…After cleaning the door trim is fine…Looks nice at the shows…Weird how this car has Won Trophies at Car Shows and there is always crowds around it at shows…When I look at a car, I look for Rust and any signs that has been a Wreck…This car has no rust ever and Never been an accident… Then I check the engine and transmission…This SP2 Runs and Shifts Nice…I just took it on a Poker Run with the VW Club with No Problems…

  32. grillo222

    you can actually go and drive it, since its still for sale i just found it on craigslist

    i guess MIKE BREWER has not been able to pull a deal this time

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