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Head Turner: 1982 Puma Coupe

The seller of this 1980 Puma Coupe is speaking very directly to me in his listing, as he references an impending expansion to his family as a reason for moving this rare VW-based creation on. That’t not entirely my situation – my firstborn arrived last year – but it is factor in potentially selling the vehicle I’ve owned the longest. This Puma here on eBay has been with the seller for twenty years, and is listed with no reserve. 

The seller confides he doesn’t really understand why he has to sell cars before his first child gets here, and I would also scratch my head. I’ve learned that owning several vehicles with two doors doesn’t make for easy child conveyance, especially when said vehicles are rather compact two-doors. This Puma doesn’t even have a backseat, so there’s no question that the child seats won’t be getting installed in this VW-based creation.

The front seats aren’t stock and they don’t recline, either. I am grateful that my highly original 1987 BMW 325is – the car I’m considering selling after ten years in my car – at least is still fine for my wife and I to drive. However, my daughter won’t get to enjoy it as much, which is why I’m on the hunt for a Mercedes 190E 2.3-16V – and I’d encourage the seller to look for a four-door project to ease the sadness of this rare Puma moving out of his stable.

A few other deviations besides the seats are noted, like the plexiglass front windshield (the seller notes that the replacement cost of an OEM windshield is $2,000 shipped up from South America) and some tweaks to the taillights to keep them functional. The VW-sourced 1600 works as it should, as do the gauges, transmission, brakes and all other major mechanical systems. It just needs a new owner, and based on current bidding, it seems poised to find one.


  1. Classic Steel

    I guess if the only driver and no money for a family sedan then it has to go 😮

    It looks like a great weekend driver to get some quiet time to clear ones head.

    Like 4
  2. boxdin

    plexiglass windshield? Don’t use the wipers!

    Like 8
    • Martin

      Plexiglas should not be used anyway as it shatters into shards. Lexan is a better choice, and you can actually get a coating called marguard that makes the windshield surprisingly scratch resistant.

      Like 6
  3. Dean

    Happy wife, happy life..if mama ain’t happy ain’t NOBODY happy..explains it all
    Should sell easily. They are good-looking little sports models.

    Like 9
  4. CS

    I see the tins are still on it…but the engine compartment is insulated. How does that engine stay cool?

    Like 1
    • Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

      The engine compartment is above and isolated from the cylinders, where air blows across the cylinder fins to cool the engine. What heat that is in the compartment you see is also vented out on a VW, probably on this also, but can’t tell.

      Like 4
  5. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    Damn second picture looks like JarJar Binks. Yousa keep dees car.

    Like 9
  6. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    Been one for sale off and on in the local Craigslist, much rougher than this, in primer, complete sans glass. Glad I didn’t drag it home knowing how much that stuff would set me back….

    Like 3
  7. Doyler

    Subaru engine swap.

    Like 3
  8. AF

    Is this thing street legal in the US? I’ve never seen one on the road.

    Like 4
  9. doug

    They were sold new as kits. Came without engine trans and front axle. Claude’s Buggies in Calif. imported them. No idea what you did for numbers. Sold as new cars in Brazil. Very good looking.

    Like 5
  10. GearHead Engineer

    Auction ended – sold for $2,950. Seems like a reasonable price for a very unique vehicle.

    I’m not familiar with these. I like the looks and I imagine it could be a bit of fun to thrash it around a bit. VW based so probably pretty easy to work on. Could be a good starter for someone entering the car hobby.

    – John

    Like 5
  11. Solosolo UK ken TILLY Member

    The only Puma that I have ever seen was a convertible that was brought in to my shop to sell on consignment. It didn’t sell within the 60 day time period so the owner collected it. I wonder what happened to it as it was a fine little car.

    Like 1
  12. SteveR

    I had that “2-seater/kids” dilemma too, but I parked mine in the garage and just waited patiently. Eventually the kids all grew up and moved out, and now the 2-seater is back on the road. Everybody wins!

    Like 3
  13. Al

    I understand the problem. Years ago I passed on a 356 speedster and settled for a 4 seat Morgan so that I had space for my 2 kids.

    Like 3
  14. Patrick Shanahan

    A sports car with a rubber band for a power train…Not for me.

    Like 1
  15. rod444

    2950 was a pretty decent deal, but that Puma was a little rough. For the true collector this one on Hemmings is in impeccable condition and has the much classier lines (IMHO) of the earlier Puma. Body is one of the very few VW powered cars that actually looks good and not poorly proportioned.

    The write up for this car gives a detailed history of Puma. Worth the read.


    Like 3
  16. Homeydodat

    In 1982 Puma was sold through a Lada dealer here in Cambridge Ontario. I was there with my uncle who was buying a Lada.At 15 years old and 6’1″ the salesman told me I was to tall for the puma.Dashing my dreams of driving that sporty machine.Drove the Lada though pos.

    Like 0
  17. Andrew

    Priorities change and the willingness to sell the toys is a sign his head is in the right place. All the best to him as he embarks on the coolest part of life…

    Like 2
  18. chrlsful

    put this nose on the grey in the link & hava fine car.
    I believe in glass more’n more as I age (even 4 certan
    prts on my early bronk).
    Yeah, more smiles w/a 2.5 Subie motor, 5 speed & discs
    up frnt. Not sure the 6 would fit but if it’s near “mid engine’ might B too much fun!

    Like 0
  19. Mark Looman

    If I’m not mistaken the later ones came with an 1800 cc engine. My father used to race formula Vee’s in SCCA Solo II. The rules stated the engine in the car had to be from a production VW. Since only 1600s were available in the US he found a Puma engine and got it shipped from Brazil. It caused quite and uproar but in the end he was deemed legal.

    Like 0

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