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VW-Powered Kit Car: 1984 Puma GTC

Puma was a sports car manufacturer that built cars and trucks in Brazil from 1964 to 1999. One of its products was the GTC, which was the Spyder version of their GT coupe. Brazilian-made Puma’s used DKW engines at first and VW motors later after Volkswagen got involved. The GT/GTC was styled after the Malzoni GT, a race car on the Brazilian circuits. Versions that made it to the U.S. were kit cars that the owner had to finish, like the seller’s car. It looks to have been well-kept over the course of 36 years and 33,000 miles. The car can be found in Hermitage, Missouri and the seller is offering it here on craigslist for $15,000. Another unusual tip from our Pat L.!

The GT/GTC’s were built from 1964-85, and while they may have looked like the Malzoni, mechanically they were quite different. They used an air-cooled, flat 4-cylinder powerplant and rear-wheel drive from the Karmann Ghia. The GT/GTC didn’t find their way to the U.S. market for a while and when they did, they arrived in kit form for buyers to complete. The Puma’s were partially assembled before being de-crated, leaving installation of the engine, front suspension, transaxle, wheels, and battery for others to do. As Puma was an established and legitimate sports car manufacturer, their cars have a higher quality of fit and finish than you’d normally think of for a kit car.

This Puma PTC was imported and completed in the U.S. in 1984. The photos provided show a beautiful little sports car, but the seller says that’s from five feet away. When you get closer, you will find a few flaws, but probably nothing requiring any attention, unless you’re a perfectionist. The interior, top, seats, and carpeting are all said to be good and we don’t see any flaws.

This one comes with a flat 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with dual carbs, 4-speed transmission, and Easy Flow exhaust. It’s said to run great and the seller just completed a 275-mile trip with no problems – and it got at least 30 mpg on gas. The tires aren’t new but are said to have plenty of life left. The more I look at the photos provided, the more the car looks like a Porsche 911 to me from certain angles. Hagerty says that one of these cars in excellent condition might bring $18-20,000, so the seller doesn’t seem to be looking to get crazy money for this car.


  1. kenm Member

    Fiat? No, FLAT four cylinder 1600 VW

    Like 3
    • Russ Dixon Russ Dixon Staff

      Thanks. Corrected. Looked like Fiat at first! Guess I need to bump up the magnification to 200%!

  2. Raoul-F Raoul-F Member

    Missreading…FLAT…..FIAT. In fact, its a VW, as always used that time. kenm is 100% right.

    Like 3
  3. steve

    I always thought these were a good looking car. The use of VW parts was obvious with the early cars even having VW bus tail lights abet rotated onto their sides. It is a “toy car” and I couldn’t afford one back when the were new (had a 72 bus at the time tho!) and really can’t (or won’t) afford them now. Tough part is that if I still had my 72 bus, I could likely sell it for more than it takes to get one of these!

    Like 2
  4. Blueprint

    These were sold as fully assembled cars up here in Canada.

    Like 1
    • Dickie F.

      Fully built in South Africa as well.
      Up to now I always believed the coupe design was based on the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB.
      From the overall shape, headlight covers through the louvres behind the door glass to the complete rear.
      The author believes differently.

      The coupe has been and still is, on my bucket list for over 40 years.

      Like 2
  5. Stan Marks

    One sweet ride…..

  6. DeeBee

    Fairly good looking, and, pretty easy to chase parts for! Only question is, how does this compare to the price of a Karmann Ghia?

  7. K. R. V. Member

    Very cool looking little roadster! Cannot image very exciting with a 60 hp VW engine? But there’s a very easy an inexpensive fix. That’s in the form of an inexpensive Chevy Corvair flat six, 164 ci, dual carb 110hp, or 4 carb 140, or turbo 180 hp engines available to this day, with every part you might ever need, with the potential for over 200 hp! With transaxles that can take the power, including the bulletproof 2 speed powerglide, or a 4 speed, with 3:92 posi gears!

    Like 4
  8. Gerard Frederick

    Beautiful ride.

    Like 1
  9. JMB#7

    Does anyone know what these weigh? Or weight balance front/rear. If it is light and balanced then it should have enough power to have some fun with it. Great lines with both the top up and the top down.

    Like 1
  10. Dickie F.

    I believe these weighed around 700 kgs or 1540 lbs.
    My friend’s had a slighty hotted up VW type 4 motor fitted from the VW Bus, generating 80 kw or 100 hp, the same as a Golf Gti at the time. Yet it could beat the Gti over the quarter mile by 3 seconds. It managed a 14,1 second quarter mile time all day. That was muscle car territory, yet got 35 mpg.
    The top speed was only 100 mph thou, due to the gearing and valve bounce at 5500 rpm.

    Like 1
  11. Ivan

    Well, thanks again Barnfinds for a nice post. I got this baby to it’s new home in Utah today!!! Now I have a triple Brazilian:
    84 Puma
    83 MP Lafer
    65 Wife

    Like 2
  12. Gerard Frederick

    Congrats Ivan!

    Like 2

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