Home » Cold Start: The Original Cybertruck

Cold Start: The Original Cybertruck

Cs Gurgel
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I get that a lot of the appeal of Tesla’s long-delayed Cybertruck is the low-polygon, angular design and novel materials that make it feel like something that would be at home in a movie about a mayoral race in Mars’ capital city, but if you want those same traits, you could have had them decades and decades ago, thanks to our Brazilian pals at Gurgel. Check out the Gurgel G-15.

It’s all air-cooled VW mechanicals under there, and, even better, it’s the Alcool version, which means it’s designed to run on Brazil’s amazing sugar-cane alcohol alternative fuel. Sugar cane is totally renewable, so this sipper of the sweet stuff is green aigh eff, too.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

It’s got the same basic angular, low-poly look, but with extra corrugations and ribs for everyone’s pleasure, and it’s also made with an exotic material: plasteel! It’s not stainless steel, like your fork or spoon, but some kind of magic Brazilian plastic.

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Look at all the versions it comes in, too! Single cabs with long beds, double cabs, panel vans, even four-door ambulances. I love how they just re-used the front door for the rear doors on the red ambulance, which actually makes it look even cooler than if those second doors had square windows.

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Why aren’t more of these getting imported to America? They look like nothing else, and the VW mechanicals mean keeping them going is cheap and easy.

Get off that Cybertruck waiting list and get yourself a G-15. You’ll be happier.

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Jeff Gillio
Jeff Gillio
2 years ago

These are far cooler than anything Tesla makes.

unclesam
unclesam
2 years ago

Love it. I would also love if you guys did a series delving into different international car markets/cultures, not unlike the China stuff already on the site. It sounds like Brazil would be a rich vein to mine. I also went down a wiki wormhole the other day about Iranian Peugeots, for instance. Fascinating stuff.

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
2 years ago
Reply to  unclesam

If you liked Iranian Peugeots, wait until you hear about Iranian Renaults (and Nigerian Peugeots).

But yeah, couldn’t agree more, there’s lots of interesting car markets and culture all over the world. Torch does a very fine job covering the Brazilian market, no doubt because of how ubiquitous air-cooled VW engines once were.

p1zzah00n
p1zzah00n
1 year ago
Reply to  unclesam

Yeah I wholeheartedly second this. There’s so many interesting variations of vehicles around the world. I love reading up on AUDM/JDM/other versions of vehicles I didn’t even know existed before – think Volkswagen Gol or Aussie Falcon and such.

Ward William
Ward William
2 years ago

I live here in the world of Gurgels in Brazil and I am here to tell you that they are the most horrid things on 4 wheels. Just NOPE !!! Merely to be seen near one, let alone actually getting into one, is enough to lose one’s reputation.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
2 years ago

So is a Gurgel amphibious or is it just sit there and sort of you know Gurgel?

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
2 years ago

Gurgel! That Cybertruck reference is spot on, especially when one considers Gurgel also built the Itaipu, an electric car that never saw production.

SquareTaillight2002
SquareTaillight2002
2 years ago

I wanted to learn more so I Gurgled it.

Rafael
Rafael
2 years ago

I remember seeing a few of those when I was a kid. They were hot for a while in the public sector, and I saw quite a few on farms or ranches – but maybe different models, I’m not so sure. Last time I saw one in the actual Plasteel was in 2007 – me in a white VW T1.5, and it in green or grey, a few cars behind. Maybe it was even the version with reused front doors in the back, but maybe I’m confabulating this memory a little 🙂

I remember that the company was sort of a laughing stock by the time I learned to read (automotive papers and magazines were my reading of choice, I was that kind of kid). The cars looked bad even by the standards of the time, but this is late 80’s/early 90’s I’m talking about, maybe they were cutting edge in the 70’s and just overstayed the design trend. A shame, really, because they were a truly indigenous design, even down to the engine (maybe it was build on top of the Citroën 2CV engine, but I’m too lazy to check it out now).

Anyway, took me a while to realize that the company had gone belly up. There is of course a lot more to it, but the gist of it is that once the country opened again to imports, they were toast. Actually not right after, but two or three years in the country’s currency became stronger than the dollar for a while, so better alternatives became incredible cheap. Imagine waking up from the middle ages and suddenly learning that you – yes, you, the peasant covered in dung and black plague – can now buy the Enterprise in 96 installments! That cool donkey cart from yesterday won’t stand a chance, even if it is better suited to hauling manure than the cool starship that couldn’t (or shouldn’t) leave orbit.

RIP Gurgel, your cars were all ugly (except the X-15/G-15 which is kind of adorable), but you were a genuine Brazilian car company, and we miss what you could’ve been.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 years ago

An ambulance running on air-cooled VW mechanicals. I sure hope you aren’t uphill should you require quick medical aid.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
2 years ago

And they just took the regular VW T2B rear lights and rotated them 90 degrees.
I love brilliant simple innovation like that!
– And because split screens were a thing in Brazil later than in any other country, they are of course split screen too. Very cool 🙂

(psst, Jason, google “orion camper”, they are also cool)

ElectricOffRoaders .com
ElectricOffRoaders .com
2 years ago

I’ll import one if you do. Maybe even a group import? Anybody?

The platform would be ripe for an EV conversion – and a perfect farm truck for me.

Car Guy - RHM
Car Guy - RHM
2 years ago

When David does driving trip to the south tip of South America, maybe he can swap for one of these and drive it back for you!

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
2 years ago

“What kind of truck is that?”
“Gurgel.”
“Whaaarrgghhh kkhhhhhrrrrnnd ooooouuuuuffff truglglgglglglck iiiiiisssss thaghghghghglglglt?”

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
2 years ago

The 4-door ambulance would be even cooler if they swapped sides for the rear doors and made them rear-hinged, ala 60’s Continentals.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 years ago

Does Plasteel means they molded this using the results of two very-supersized tubes of KB Weld?

Got-damn, I hope so.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 years ago
Reply to  Rollin Hand

GAH! JB Weld! Jay-effing-Bee Weld!

That edit button better beat the Cybertruck into production.

FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
2 years ago
Reply to  Rollin Hand

Surprisingly close, actually! It’s thin sheets of steel and fiberglass bonded together. All the same elements are there—it’s a steel-reinforced plastic resin material—just in a different configuration.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
2 years ago

“Why aren’t more of these getting imported to America?”
NHTSA?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 years ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Seeing as how Gurgel themselves went out of business in 1996, meaning even their absolute newest vehicles are 26 years old, this isnt something we can blame on the federal government

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
2 years ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Ok but I was referring to more vehicles like this coming to America

Jason Douglas
Jason Douglas
2 years ago

Ever since I first found out about these (I believe from an article you did at Jalopnik), I’ve wanted to get a couple just to put people in jumpsuits and old baseball catcher pads and make my own low budget 80’s inspired sci-fi movie.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Douglas

Sadly, David Carradine is no longer with us, so you’d have to improvise a little there.

Jason Douglas
Jason Douglas
2 years ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

But I already have the title.

Space Brigade: The Adventures of Xander Blade

David Smith
David Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Douglas

“Mutants of 2051 AD” is already taken so I guess yours works, eh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-K990t7qFM

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Douglas

Yes, filmed entirely on an empty Brutalist college campus during summer.

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
2 years ago

Plasteel is real?? I thought it was just one of those materials from 1960s sci-fi back when authors put “plastic” somewhere in the name to evoke the future. Like, “Xandrel Cain stepped out onto the pitted zinplast decking, finger on the plasteel actuator of his stunner.”

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 years ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

Yeah, or like what Stormtrooper armor is made of.

So that’s maybe a reason to not buy one of these, as it won’t even protect you against small thrown rocks, much less collisions.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 years ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

As I understand it, it’s basically a laminate of thin layers of steel and fiberglass bonded together with some sort of adhesive

FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
2 years ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

It actually is a material in the Dune series. It even has its own entry in Wikipedia, which is more than the real thing has.

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
2 years ago

I see a Gurgle that wants to encircle Urkel who wants mud for his turtle from Chancellor Merkel.

Matt S
Matt S
2 years ago

Was the turtle he burgled from Angela Merkel?

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
2 years ago

See the TURTLE of enormous girth! On his shell he holds the earth. His thought is slow but always kind; He holds us all within his mind. On his back all vows are made; He sees the truth but may not said. He loves the land and loves the sea, And even loves a child like me.

FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
2 years ago

Rhyming “made” with “said” is surely some kind of crime, although I don’t know what. Especially since the “said” isn’t even remotely grammatical.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
2 years ago
Reply to  FUCK YOU

Don’t blame me, blame Stephen King.

FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
2 years ago

Stephen King? Well, it’s a horrifying abuse of slant rhyme, so I guess that makes sense.

Old Busted Hotness
Old Busted Hotness
2 years ago

Turtles all the way down!

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
2 years ago

“I get that a lot of the appeal of Tesla’s never going to be made Cybertruck”
FTFY

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 years ago

It’s like the opening of Blade Runner 2049 but with less gloom.

I love that the white logo is so bright it looks like it’s backlit. Something cyberpunk we do now, which makes me wonder why the Cybertruck doesn’t.

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
2 years ago

These are not the original Cyber Truck because these exist.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
2 years ago

These are amazing.. I think I like the red and black one in the second picture better than the actual VW vans!

Larry B
Larry B
2 years ago

“Extra corrugations and ribs” are great but does it come in extra long sizes?

Mr.Asa
Mr.Asa
2 years ago

And if you crash driving one of these you won’t have to completely total the car due to not using 11 gauge steel!

Acrimonious Mofo
Acrimonious Mofo
2 years ago

These, unlike the Cybertruck, are kind of cool.

Outofstep
Outofstep
2 years ago

My thoughts exactly. The double cab looks absolutely ridiculous and I kind of love it.

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