Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: VW SP2 – A VW Hiding In Sexy Clothes

RiveraNotario posted this shot of a Brazilian VW SP2 from probably its best angle. It looks like an expensive Italian exotic at first glance, but an air-cooled VW 1600 hiding underneath that seductive exterior. I’d rather forgotten about the SP2’s history, which turned out not to be very successful, as the other Brazilian VW-based sports car, the Puma, was lighter and had better performance.

So the SP2 had short life (1973-1976), and some 10k were built, which isn’t exactly shabby for a VW exotic.

Although most of its body had no design similarities to other VWs, it’s front end styling turned out to be a template for a number of VWs to come, in Germany and Brazil.

Now you know what I was referring to: that front end design was first used on the Puma, designed by  Márcio Lima Piancastelli and José Vicente Novita Martins, and then found its way to the VW 412 as well as the Brasilia and the updated Brazilian 1600. It came to be known as “the Leiding face”.

The Puma was spearheaded by Rudolf Leiding, who was sent to Brazil in 1968 to perk up things there. And that he did, quite successfully so. He wanted a sports car, and he got it. The Puma sat on the Brazilian VW1600 platform, which was not the same as the German Type 3, and used a Beetle front suspension. Initially it had a 1700 cc boxer four with 65 hp, and there was also a 1600 with 54 hp, but that was discontinued before long.

The main issue with the SP2 was that it just wasn’t as quick as the Puma, due to being heavier (Our post on the Puma is here).