Puma Classic Cars for Sale

The Brazilian car manufacturer Puma was in operation between 1966 and 1995. Specialising in coupes and convertibles, this company eventually fell victim to the high tariffs associated with foreign-built automobiles.

The Early Years of Puma

Puma was initially formed as the result of a Brazilian vehicle known as the DKW-Malzoni. Designed by Reno Malzoni, the car was meant for a racing circuit referred to as the Willys Interlagos. The vehicle claimed its first victory in 1964 and with the help of other auto enthusiasts, Malzoni began selling additional models under the Puma brand name. It is estimated that a total of 170 cars were built between 1967 and 1968.

Classic Puma Cars

Volkswagen purchased DKW-Malzoni in 1967 and this ushered in an era of success for Puma. They designed newer models to reflect the aspects seen in the Volkswagen Karmenn Ghia; a rear-engine sports car. It is also said that the aesthetics of the vehicle mirrored those of the Lamborghini Miura. This frame and body would remain the same for nearly 20 years. With the addition of a 1600 cc engine, the name of the vehicle was changed to the Puma 1600 GTE.

Convertible variants (known as the 1600 GTS) began to enter into the market in 1970 and most notably, they were exported to the global marketplace. This included regions such as Europe, South America and the United States.

During the early 1970s, Puma began to undergo another design upgrade based off of the Volkswagen Brasilia. Production was shifted to South Africa and 357 vehicles were made before the factory was closed due to poor financing. Other changes took place in 1977; offering a more streamlined visual appeal with such modifications as bumpers moulded directly into the body.

In 1980, Puma yet again designed to re-brand their product line. The coupe was named the GTI while the spider was dubbed the GTC. Wider front tracks and a more stable rear suspension were upgrades common to this generation.

Ownership Changes and Eventual Decline

Unfortunately, Puma was a victim of harsh economic conditions within Brazil during the early 1980s. This was compounded by floods and fires. Only 100 cars were being produced each month and this led the company to file for bankruptcy in 1985. Although several revivals were planned, Puma continued to struggle during the remainder of the 1980s and into the 1990s. The final vehicle produced was the Puma AM4 and it is estimated that only between 30 and 40 were sold. However, a South African firm is researching the development of an all-electric vehicle based off of original Puma sports cards; perhaps hinting at a brighter future.

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