Rare Puma GTE for $1,500


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Back in the sixties, Brazil decided to put a hefty tax on imported goods. It may have brought in some money and encouraged local manufacturing, but it also limited automobile choices to those brands which were already established in the country. Well, and a handful of specialists that attempted to build their own. Puma was one of the later and since the founder was into racing, the design was influenced by the track. All were sleek little GTs that used components from other cars. This later GTE was based off a VW and although that may seem common, these are far from common in North American. Find this one here on craigslist in Phoenix, Arizona for $1,500. Thanks for the tip Paul G!


Before the Puma, there was the Malzoni. It used DKW components and as can be seen above, was actually quite handsome. They were built to race, but were too expensive for mass production so when VW took over DKW an opportunity was presented. Using a Karman Ghia, the more affordable Puma was developed and although not as beautiful or exotic as its predecessors, it went on to become a success with thousands sold. You can read more about the pre-Puma history here on Octane.


Later examples such as this one have more vents and right angles, but they are still lookers. The fact that they are so rare yet still utilize a very common drive-train makes them appealing. The engine is missing in this one, but since the chassis was donated by a VW it won’t be hard to source a replacement. Some would put the Puma in the same category as the countless number of kit cars produced in the past fifty years, but these were actually produced in a factory so the quality was slightly higher. Some were imported to the United States in kit form, but that was only to get around some regulations.


Unlike the early DKW based cars, the Puma was rear wheel drive. As previously mentioned the Karman Ghia was used under the skin, but only until the seventies when they were forced to switch to the Brasilia. The engine was still the basic Beetle flat-four. I’m not sure if the interior was out of a VW though as it doesn’t look familiar. So, the Puma specific trim inside and out may be the biggest battle here. It does look simple and purposeful in there though just like a sports car should be.


Bringing this cat back to life is going to be a challenge. Sure the VW specific parts will be easy to find and cheap to buy, but piecing it all together is going to be a huge undertaking. Still, when you are done you will have quite an unique little car. I could see this buzzing around the track or storming the back roads. The price of entry may seem low, but that is only the beginning so you had better have a thing for the Puma before pouncing on this one!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rancho Bella

    I know where one of these are in San Diego sitting in a backyard. Won’t sell it and won’t restore it…………….gawd people are weird…..
    On a lighter note. When restored they are rather nice looking and a flat four can be made to get with it……..to include a freeway flyer tranny

    Like 1
  2. jim s

    some interesting item in the photo background. this may sell for parts to keep another GTE going or for just the vw parts. nice find.

    Like 1
  3. Murph

    I recently stumbled upon a (local) online ad for one of these oddballs.. It’s in far better condition; fiberglass is sound, I’m pretty sure there is a motor in it,
    Yet it’s only $800 ($CAD)..

    Like 0
  4. David

    I would love to find one closer to me in Atlanta.

    Like 0
  5. Brian

    I’ve always liked these, but in a way, considered them to kitcar-like, especially considering the poorer build quality that happened in the late 70s and 80s cars, when the business wasn’t doing so well. I think also, much like in the kit car industry, things began to get tough for Puma after the aircooled engines and platforms went away and safety and emissions came into play. Its still a cool car though, for under $2G, even needing work and missing parts. Are there sources for body parts for these in the US? Somebody call Leno!?!

    Like 0
  6. DolphinMember

    I don’t know whether I buy the seller’s claim “No major repairs needed”. By the time you R&R all that ‘Glass for painting, and round up and install all those missing large and small bits, it will sure feel like you have done the equivalent of “major repairs”.

    I wonder where all those parts went. Wait, I think I know: “Was going to make a track day car from this”. And since it was going be a track car: “Not sure of exact year 1978-1979-1980 and no title”.

    I don’t think so.

    Like 0
  7. The Grammar Police

    Hey Jesse, I think you need to read your text, slowly. Then edit it, because some of it doesn’t make much sense.

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen JesseAuthor

      Good evening Officer. What, I was speeding? This dang speedometer must me acting up again…

      Oops, wrong excuse! Sorry about that. I have cleaned it up a bit and will keep trying to do better. Thanks for keeping us in line.

      Like 0
  8. Dougie

    I just paid more than the asking price to have two springs replaced on my Mercedes. Go for it!

    Like 0
  9. Ricardo Ventura

    ‘and always good to see a Puma being remembered primarily in the USA.
    were very popular in the decades of 70 and 80.
    today here in Brazil (Brazil), are already collectibles.
    I am not expert in Pumas, but the link below has good information.


    Thank you.

    Like 0
  10. Gwendolyn Gregorio

    I am looking for such a car but how to bring it over to Germany?

    Like 0
    • BigN

      We usually ship it, if I was you I’d ship Inna container to make sure people won’t steal any parts of it.

      Like 0

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