Viva Brasilia! Carros Rebaixados! Demoted to a lower position, car culture in Brasil is vastly different than North American car culture.
Imagine this: You live in a country where Money is a bit tight, but also, import laws are very tight as well. What do you do? You need something cheap, but it has to be locally built as well. You build your own!!
Like the Gurgel Carajás pictured above, Brasil and South America had a wide variety of obscure and awesome cars. Form often was created from function.
Many obscure body styles came out of Brasil, and my love for their cars started long ago with my research into the GM T-series platform. Known in North America as the Chevette, Europe and Brasil have embraced the light weight RWD platform, not as a piece of junk, but as a true affordable sports car. My first Brazilian link, the point in which my fancy was tickled, was the Chevy 500.
The 500 was based on the Chevette and played on my love for Car based pickup trucks. 1800lbs, rear drive, manual, the 500 fell right along side with my love for the Nissan Bakkie. However, for the longest time my knowledge of Brasilian cars stayed basically limited to the 500 and the Puma.
However, You Tube has become a great resource for learning and expanding my love for automotive oddities. A video named Carros Rebaixados (Car Demoted) came up. It was just some photo’s and music. I generally dislike these types of videos, but this one really opened me up to some of the local Brazilian tuning culture, I wonder if our videos do he same for them? One vehicle caught my eye and my heart right away…
The VW Saveiro was a variation of one of my favorite VW’s of all time, that I had no idea existed! I had always loved VW fox wagons here in North America, but never really dove into learning more about them other than being longitudinal FWD and based on an Audi.
I was so excited to see even more car based trucks, and one of my favorite platforms, that I had to dive in a bit deeper to the Brasilian cars! The 500, the Saveiro, and what else was there?!?!!?
Chris Kringle himself would be confused with the Santa Matilde! Because Brasil banned imports for a long time, people wanted sports cars and had to build their own. Many small car companies sprouted up and became viable automobile manufacturers for a brief point in history.
I still have so much more to learn about Brazilian cars and the weird body styles, variations and independent manufactuerers!