Two red Pumas, both posted at the Cohort at almost the same time: the CC Effect is alive and well. The one on the left was posted by S. Forrest, and found in Ontario; the one on the right by Eric Clem, presumably in Washington. Looks like importing Pumas from Brazil is getting popular. It’s easy to see why, for a VW fan, as these are pretty much the ultimate expression of the classic VW air-cooled chassis. Let’s take a closer look.
The Puma was built from 1966 through 1985, using a fiberglass body supposedly inspired by the Lamborghini Miura, and sitting on a Karmann Ghia 1500 chassis. This is the older of the two; its chrome bumper dates it to pre-1977. Engine size was increased to 1600cc, and various higher-than stock power levels were available.
This one is a GTI, from 1980 or later, with its revised bodywork and the bumpers, with cast ribbed sides, mimicking the Porsche 911’s distinctive 5 mph bumpers in looks, if not in function. By this time, the Puma was riding on a the VW Brasilia chassis, as the Karmann Ghis was well out of production. Actually, after 1982, it used the Brazilian VW Type III station wagon (Variant) platform. As it is, those two are easy to mix up, as we did here at CC once.
Puma tried a few other products, including a coupe with a Chevrolet six engine in front, but the 1980s were a difficult time economically in Brazil, and in 1986, Puma went bankrupt. Total production is not readily available, but it’s nice to see a few have made it to North America, undoubtedly in loving hands.