The Puma is a Volkswagen based specialty sports car built in Brazil. Strict Brazilian regulations which banned imports to encourage domestic automobile production led to the development of the Puma and other specialty vehicles. Production began in 1964 using DKW components, with a switch to VW components in 1967. This necessitated a change from front engine, front wheel drive to rear engine, rear wheel drive. The first Pumas were built strictly for racing, but it was not long before they were being built for street use. Pumas were sporadically imported to the U.S. during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Although the Puma was not designed as a kit car, the cars were imported in kit form. The “kit” was actually a complete car less the front suspension, transaxle, engine, wheels, and tires. The missing components were available from the distributor, or the buyer could supply the needed parts. Less restrictive regulations permitted the importation and marketing of complete cars in Canada. Pumas were also popular in South Africa, and were assembled there for a time. Puma built some front engine rear wheel drive models based on Brazilian Chevrolet components, but these were not exported. Once the Brazilian market was opened to imports, the domestic market for the Puma declined significantly. This, combined with the (at least temporary) end of air cooled VW production in Brazil, spelled the end of this attractive line of cars. A few rear engine Pumas with water cooled VW engines were made during the final years of production, but sales of these were low. In total, some 20,000 Puma automobiles were produced over the life of the marque. Alfa Metais, which controlled Puma at the time, continued to produce special bodied trucks under the Puma name after the end of Puma automobile production.








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