The brazilian auto industry history is curious. Between 1976 and 1990, our economy was completely closed, meaning we could not import nothing. Because that, many gearheads projected and built cars in garages, and started small businesses selling them for other people. The vast majority of them was based on VW Beetles, VW Brasilias and VW Kombis, because they were readly available and were quite cheap (compared to other options). The "fora-de-série" culture grew large, and became a very important part of our automotive history. My idea here is start a series of posts showing you some of those cars, along photos and some history. We begin now, with the Cintra 959.
It looks like a Porsche 959, right? That was the objective since the beginning. In 1988 a 15 year old boy called André Cintra, fascinated with the Porsche 959, attended a vehicle project course by Anísio Campos in which the students were asked to improve or modify the VW Beetle design. During the course, André sketched the Beetle-Porsche as an transformation kit, which meant that his project was really feasible. Stimulated by Campos, Cintra bought a 1985 VW Beetle for testing his idea. He experimented for a year with fiberglass and mass until he perfected the project and built models for producing his transformation kit.
In 1992, after the borders were opened for imports, Cintra started selling his kit for US$2,900.00 (we used US dollars because they were far more stable than our own money). The transformation was very easy: Take the panels and the hood off and fit the three fiberglass pieces. The rear lights were from a Porsche 911, but the lights, mirrors and wheels came from other brazilian cars. The kit included a 1.8 liter turbo engine, which boosted the Cintra 959 performance. Sadly, one 3 were made, so it's hard to find decent pictures.