Brazil's Hyper-Exclusive Gullwing Death Wedge

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In the mid-seventies, an export crisis pushed Brazilian auto import tariffs to near 50%. However, taxes for locally-produced cars were in the single digits creating an explosion of Brazilian auto manufacturers. One of them produced this leather-soaked apocalyptic wedge above.

With inspiration from the Bertone Carabo (another wonderfully obscure car), Mario Richard Hofstetter started sketching his attempt to build the definitive Brazilian supercar. Unfortunately late to the angular big-window design party –- although I suppose Vector Motors would beg to differ -– the company opened shop in 1984, producing cars from 1986 to 1991. Hofstetter set out with a goal of 30 cars a year. The total production run was 18 cars.

The mid-engine tube-frame chassis was motivated by a Garrett-turbocharged variant of Volkswagen's Brasil-only AP 1.8L four backed by a four-speed manual. It put out 140 hp at 5,000 rpm, which rocketed the 2,470 lb car to 62 mph in 9.3 seconds and offered a blistering 120 mph top speed. By 1988, a 2.0L AP engine netted a bump to 210 hp and a definitely-too-scary-for-Brazilian-roads top speed of 147 mph.


The interior was just as ritzy, with boost and oil pressure gauges adorning the A-pillar in a style blatantly ripped off by legions of NOPI Civics decades later. Leather and suede were lusciously swathed everywhere, framing what is an admittedly-bitchin' digital dash that I'm positive inspired the Reventon's own monitoring gear.

The only info I can find on price was that the Hofstetter Turbo cost "more or less four Ford Escort XR3's", which I suppose kind of fails at the whole cheaper-than-an-import business model. Nonetheless, the Hofstetter looks exactly like the types of cars I'd doodle as a kid, and with that in mind I have to give plenty of respect for the dream even being built. I just need to figure out how to import one back into the U.S.


Photo Credit: Price of His Toys

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