The cars we loved.
During the 1970’s Volkswagen was making a name for itself as a producer of sporty cars with the introduction of the Sirocco in most western markets. This was not always the case in places like Brazil, where strict import rules and high tariffs necessitated local production. The few companies building cars in Brazil made skeleton versions of their lineup elsewhere. Sports cars were rare in Brazil during this time and Volkswagen of Brazil needed something to compete with the new home-grown Puma GT.
Completely independent of Germany, Volkswagen Brazil designed, engineered and marketed a sporty fast back coupe intended for the domestic use only. At first glance the rear wheel drive SP 1 (sport prototype 1) resembled a Ferrari Daytona with VW design cues. The back looked somewhat Porsche 911 like yet recalled the Dasher coupe sold in North America at time. Overall, there was nothing in the VW line that came close to the sporty low slung silhouette created by the SP-1. So popular was the car at its initial launch that it was said that dealers were stormed by curious spectators clamoring for a view.
The SP-1 also set a new president for luxury and attention to detail on the inside and under the hood. Inside, leather seats, three spoke steering wheel and a full complement of gauges set the bar very high and would not be emulated many VW’s until the early 80’s. Under the hood was the unfortunate weak link. With only 65 hp coming from its air-cooled 1.7 L 4 cylinder OHV engine, it was hopelessly under powered. A later version called the SP2 attempted to address the issue by adding 10 more horsepower, but it was not enough.