Saturday, April 5, 2014

5k: Brazillian Kit: 1980 L'automobile Volkswagen Ventura

So you like obscure VW-based kit cars but you want a trunk, a frunk, and an engine you can put cargo on top of like in a VW Type III. You love the Puma's Brazilian heritage and VW engineering but want a car that looks more third-generation Celica and less Ferrari. Every night you fall asleep in a bottomless pit of hopeless and self-loathing at your impossibly specific automotive desires and every day you swear you'll adopt a new car fetish (Mustangs. Mustangs would be easy) but know it will never happen. Today, Daily Turismo brings you the gospel of Ventura. Find this 1980 L'automobile VW Ventura for $3,550 reserve not met with an asking price of $5,200 in Panama City, FL.  Words by DT contributor slowcarSLOW-MPGlol.

If Volkswagen made a rear-drive GT car that preceded the Scirocco and Corrado, and it looked half as good as this does, they would be everywhere. Instead, the Ventura got the "just another kit car" label and is largely forgotten (interestingly, another one is selling in Vancouver for $5,000). Information and comparable examples are hard to come by, but we know it was made from 1978 until at least 1992 using mostly VW parts, and most were shipped to America sans engine.

Inside, which is where kit cars show their less desirable colors, things look better than expected. Tacky seat covers hopefully protect whatever fabric is underneath... unless those are the actual seats. The aftermarket CD player looks a bit wonky and the carpet looks disheveled but clean. Also, that must be the simplest array of climate control switches ever put on a car, if that's even what we're looking at. Judging by the fan, though, there probably isn't air conditioning. Just as well - the little 1600 engine wouldn't be up to running the A/C unit to cool off a black interior under such a huge expanse of rear window.

Expect 50 or 60 horsepower out of the VW Type III "pancake" four-cylinder, routed to the rear wheels with a four-speed stick. Should anything go wrong, replacement parts are plentiful. These VW parts are known for reliability, so once you have found your bizarre dream car, it should serve you well for years with plenty of room in both trunks for your engorged sense of satisfaction.  

See another South American sports car? Email us at

slowcarSLOW-MPGlol knows how many licks it takes to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop, and he's not telling. As someone with a B+ blood type, he considers himself an optimist. Unless it has structural rust.   


  1. BaT only managed 3 scant descriptive sentences on this oddly compelling unicorn, and only one photo. Why do they even bother? Thanks for giving us a considered look at it. Probably wouldn't buy one, but sure looks like it would be fun to borrow for a weekend.

  2. Interior is not so bad but engine condition looks poor. It needs detailed clean up first.

  3. The Ventura appeared around 1979 after the Brazilian VW SP2 went out of production in 1975. The Ventura uses all the same window glass as the SP2 as well as the SP2 fuel tank, switches, gauges, center console, gear shift, steering wheel and other SP2 parts. My guess is that after the SP2 production ended, someone bought up all the leftover parts and used them to create the Ventura. I own a '75 SP2 and a '79 Ventura and it's clear to me that they share many parts.

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