Celebrate Rio with Our Top 5 Favorite Brazilian Volkswagens

The 2016 summer Olympics begin today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and to celebrate that fact (because dammit, someone has to celebrate these Olympics) we’re counting down our favorite Brazilian Volkswagens.

Volkswagen do Brasil set up shop in 1953, producing the Beetle. Since then more than 20 million vehicles have been produced in Brazil and they’ve been the market leader for most of their time in the country.

Ever since the early days Brazil and Volkswagen have had a special relationship, and over the years some special cars, too. These, in no particular order, are some of our favorites.


Gol

Of course, the Gol. No conversation about Volkswagen do Brazil can begin with anything but the Gol. This subcompact car has been in production since 1980 and is the entry level car there. The Gol was the best-selling car in Brazil for 27 consecutive years and has been Argentina’s most popular car since 1988. Over that time it’s been through some pretty major changes and been modified by some of the best.


Karmann Ghia TC

This handsome car was produced near the end of the ‘60s and was designed specifically for the market by Karmann-Ghia do Brasil. The Brazilian subsidiary looked to Ghia for the design, which was eventually put on the Volkswagen Variant platform. As a result it received the 1584cc flat four from the type 3 and so was faster than the regular Karmann Ghia.

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By Stahlkocher – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1907940

SP2

Although Brazil had the Karmann Ghia and the TC, they didn’t have a real sports car. All that was set to not change with the SP2. They did end up getting this pretty car at least. The SP2 was the first car designed by Volkswagen do Brazil and was presented to public in 1971. The SP2 was built on the Variant platform and got a 1700cc engine. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to get it moving as quickly as it looked like it should and the SP2 died in 1976.

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By Renzo Maia;cropped and adjusted by uploader Mr.choppers – DSCF0787.JPG, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18427690

Saveiro

The Saveiro is a lightweight pickup based off the Gol and, in that, it’s a lot like the Caddy, except that it has lasted through every generation of the Gol. It was first introduced in 1983 and it’s named after a traditional Brazilian fishing boat.

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By Qwerty242 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17670184

Brasilia

Named after the country’s capital city, the Brasilia was designed to replace the Beetle. It was meant to be a practical, entry level hatchback. So it’s just like the Golf, except  that it was air-cooled and rear engined. Volkswagen do Brasil considered ending production of the Brasilia as early as 1975, but it lasted all the way to 1982, by which point more than a million had been made.

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