Brazilian Street Stalker: 1977 Puma GTE

1977 Puma Gte Front Corner

Today we are going to look at a Puma, not the big cat that stalks the jungles of Brazil, but the sports car that tore up the streets of Brazil in the ’60s and ’70s. There weren’t many of these lightweight sports cars that reached our shores, but a few made the long journey to North America. This 1977 Puma GTE got all the way to Colorado and the current owner has listed it on Craigslist, where they are asking $6,700.

1977 Puma Gte Rear Corner

In the late ’60s the Brazilian government set very high tariffs on foreign goods, which essentially closed the country off from all foreign built vehicles. Rino Malzoni, who was an avid Brazilian racing enthusiast, had begun building small fiberglass bodied race cars in the early ?Çÿ60s, which were based on DKW drivetrains. His company only built a few cars each year, but the new tariffs changed that drastically. The company began building several hundred cars each year and when Volkswagen bought out DKW, the Puma was redesigned. The redesigned Puma was not only more attractive, but was powered by a rear mounted air cooled boxer four. The Puma’s handling characteristics were often compared to those of the fantastic Porsche 356.

1977 Puma Gte Interior

The Puma was built as a production vehicle for the Brazilian market, but to avoid foreign safety and emission regulations the Puma was sold as a kit car in most other countries. The cars were sold with everything but the drivetrain in place. It wasn’t too hard to find an engine for the Puma though, since the car was based on the Volkswagen Beetle’s drivetrain. Most Pumas came with the interior installed, but we aren’t sure if this car’s interior is all original or not. The dash, steering wheel, shifter knob, and door panels all look to be correct, but those seats are definitely from a Miata.

1977 Puma Gte Engine

The 1600 cc boxer 4 is said to run great, as it was just recently rebuilt. The motor is bolted to your run of the mill Volkswagen Beetle 4 speed gearbox and transaxle, all of which work. Not only has the engine recently been rebuilt, but so has the front suspension. These little cars are extremely lightweight and were known to offer some fantastic handling, so we bet this thing is be a blast to take up a twisty road in the Rockies.

1977 Puma Gte Side

This Puma looks to be in solid running condition and the seller claims it has never been in any accidents and that it is rust free. We would still inspect this one very carefully to make sure the fiberglass is in good shape and crack free. Just looking at the photos, we think this Puma is a great bargain for a car that will stand out in the crowd.

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Comments

  1. Paul R. Roberts

    I wish they had made this in a convertible…:-(

  2. Mario Carneiro Neto
  3. Chris Dixon

    I think I put the stereo in this when I worked at Soundtrack/Dashboard!

  4. kirby

    These are for sale new in South Africa, http://www.pumacars.co.za/

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