Image: Gurgel via Oldcarmanualproject
Image: Gurgel via Oldcarmanualproject

Gurgel was a fascinating Brazilian company that, in the late 1960s, began building its own dune buggy-like cars based on the Volkswagen Beetle platform and powertrain. Later, things got more exciting when Gurgel built machines with bold-looking bodies made of a material called Plasteel, which was a blend of fiberglass and steel. The 1979 X-12 Tocantins shown above is one of those machines. My coworker Jason Torchinsky wrote all about Gurgel and its fascinating ventures back in 2013, so check out his story.


Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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They made horrible unreliable cars. I had a BR-800 from Gurgel as a first car. Do not miss it at all.