Home » End The Week The Right Way, With Brazilian VW Brochures: Cold Start

End The Week The Right Way, With Brazilian VW Brochures: Cold Start

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I’m not going to lie to you – we’re long past that. I stayed up to late making my slides for my talk tonight, so now I’m up and tired and slow on Cold Start. It happens! Thankfully, there’s Volkswagen brochures/ads from Brazil to soothe us, so all is not lost. Let’s just look at a few brochures that caught my weary eyes, and do keep in mind that this is just scratching the surface. Remember, Brazil is to air-cooled VWs what Australia is to marsuipials: a place of strange evolutions, away from the rest of the world.

What I like about that top ad is how it’s touting how the 1980s VW Brasilia – essentially a cleverly re-bodied Beetle – has a dashboard from 2001. It’s some pretty hilarious hyperbole, but I suppose if you compare it to the previous version of the dashboard:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

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…it sorta makes sense? I mean, it’s more ’80s-modern, with clean, white-on-black gauges and all that, but there’s nothing overtly digital or high-tech-looking, really. Also fascinating to note is that the Brasilia is one of those rare times in the air-cooled era when VW made a fake gauge! You can see the earlier one on the right there, the little round dial with no needle and no reference points that does a great job of measuring either nothing, or the car’s status as not having the optional clock installed (it’s reading 100% for that.)

The new fake gauge makes it small and vertical, mirroring the fuel gauge:

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Cs Brazil Fakegauge

It looks kind of like a vollyball net, seen from above.

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I really do admire the Brasilia: putting a modern-looking two-door wagon body with good storage space at both ends on a car platform designed in 1938 is a hell of an achievement. Of all the attempts to update/replace the Beetle in the air-cooled era, I think the Brasilia was the only real success.

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I also love this shot from a review of the Brasilia; you’d think the headline would be talking about how they got this thing on almost one wheel there, but, no, it’s about it having four doors and drinking a bit more gas.

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One of my absolute favorite air-cooled VWs is the Brazil-only Karmann-Ghia TC, which I’ve raved about here before. What I don’t get about this brochure is the upside-down title text. I get that you can do things like this for stylistic reasons, but everything here is so strightforward, this just feels like a mistake. If you were to put this in like a rack of brochures, would you put it in upside-down, so you can see the name? Or hide the name? I’m confused.

 

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Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
8 months ago

The fake gauge is actually an optional vacuum gauge, which begs another question: Why did they use a car without options for the brochure? One would think they’d have a top spec one in hand.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
8 months ago

Gosh, that TC is a gorgeous design.

Vicente Perez
Vicente Perez
8 months ago

Are we going to just ignore the fire extinguisher in that older brochure?

Tybalt
Tybalt
8 months ago
Reply to  Vicente Perez

Back in the 80s and 90s, they were standard equipment in Brazilian cars. Not sure if they still are today.

Last edited 8 months ago by Tybalt
Marcos Pinto
Marcos Pinto
8 months ago
Reply to  Tybalt

No longer! But the requirement was lifted only sometime during the 2010s, as I remember my 2010 Ford Fusion still had one (somewhat tacked-on, since it was obviously not in the original design).

Some additional trivia: the “flying” Brasilia was being tested by Quatro Rodas, the historically most relevant car magazine in Brazil, which somehow hasn’t yet gone bust, considering the competition from car websites and, specially, YouTube channels.

Another curious (and somewhat silly) fact is that, up to the late eighties, there was a huge prejudice against 4/5-door cars in Brazil, since people thought they’d be mistaken for taxis. That’s why the magazine mentions that the four-door Brasilia was to be sold only in basic trim – clearly with cab service in mind. Fiat, of all brands, was the first that somehow was able to convince buyers that 4-door cars were actually very convenient, and now I don’t think that, apart from some small pick-up trucks, there’s any two-door car being manufactured in Brazil.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcos Pinto

I heard the fear of 4-doors is what was behind those amazing Ford F-1000 van/truck looking things. Those rank right about number three, behind the SP2 and Brasilia on my list of favorite Brazilian vehicles.

I didn’t realize that the two-doors are gone. I rented a 2-door Corsa when I was there in 2007. It worked quite well, much better than the Fiat Mobi I ended up with a few years ago.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
8 months ago
Reply to  Vicente Perez

My parents had a 97 Palio that came with a fire extinguisher as standard, too. It was regulation, as Tybalt and Marcos said.

Chronometric
Chronometric
8 months ago

The later square taillight (’74-’76) BMW 2002s used the crosshair instrument faces also. Seems too busy to me.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
8 months ago

Brasilia content – muito bom! I’ve almost been able to purchase two of these. The first was located an hour outside of Orlando, and the seller and I were about $2,000 apart. If I had the extra cash at the time I would have bought it, but it didn’t happen. The other was a much cheaper and much sketchier one on ebay that I believe made it’s way up through Mexico into Arizona. It seemed the seller kept running no reserve auctions, but canceling them at the last minute when they didn’t reach their desired amount. It did finally appear to sell, but I had quit bidding by that point. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

Hoping to see a few in their home territory if my family and I can make it to Carnaval next February. Right now we’re dealing with expired passports, so it’s not a for sure thing yet. I’ll be rooting for the Duque de Caxias Samba school (aka the Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba Acadêmicos do Grande Rio) at the Sambadromo in Rio if we do.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
8 months ago

I’m a Portela man myself, but I’m hoping to import a Brasilia as soon as storage space allows.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
8 months ago
Reply to  Ricardo Mercio

That’s awesome! I would be quite interested to learn more about that import process. I’ve briefly looked into it, but a lack of time and somewhat limited funds have kept that to a mostly cursory glance. I do have family in Florida (including a Brazilian mother-in-law), so I figure that could help with the titling process should I ever manage to make it happen.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
8 months ago

That might help, what will help me is having a gearhead uncle in Brasil who can inspect cars for me such that I don’t have to travel every time I want to check a car (or worse, buy sight-unseen). I’m sure importation will cost a few grand, but with a clean car going for like 10k USD you can probably have it here, including purchase price, for 13-15k

Rafael
Rafael
8 months ago

I used to “hunt” those weird Brazilian cars on my neighbourhood and draw then in a sketchbook (there were relatively few models, so it was easy). I lost my feces when I saw a TC, a hitherto unknown to me VW. It was like finding an extra room on your house (but less scary). I also came across a 4-door Brasília (today we would call it a 5 door), and was also shocked, felt like seeing santa Claus without a beard.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
8 months ago

So many things about the Brasilia are great, but the blocky “VW” on the steering wheel throws me. It feels like it could be the logo for a performance sub-brand.

KC Murphy
KC Murphy
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Buchholz

I’m glad you mentioned that.I realize this was indeed years ago, but it’s very odd for a corporation to go off-book with something like their brand and logo identification.

While we’re on that topic… I can’t be the only one that noticed the also non-standard steering wheel emblem in that shot with the horn-ring style wheel. That’s usually the Wolfsburg crest, in US-models anyway.

Edit: I did a little snooping elsewhere and this is what we’re seeing, but I can’t find any story behind it:
https://as1.ftcdn.net/v2/jpg/06/62/01/60/1000_F_662016012_WTPHPZwhoWixguHVUJ64MTXQYd5E10tP.jpg

Last edited 8 months ago by KC Murphy
10001010
10001010
8 months ago

Is your presentation going to be live streamed? Where can we watch the webcast?

Slirt
Slirt
8 months ago

Of all the attempts to update/replace the Beetle in the air-cooled era, I think the Brasilia was the only real success.” Gonna agree 100% with Torch here, good looking adaptive reuse & a 10-year production run with sales of a million+

Jmfecon
Jmfecon
8 months ago
Reply to  Slirt

Consider that, in Brazil, that was a lack of options at that time. There were 4 makers (GM, VW, Fiat and Ford), each with 2 or 3 models. Imports were close to impossible and prohibitively expensive, even for rich people.

It wasn’t that hard to sell many of any car at that time.

And VW didn’t had money to spend doing something else, so they had to be creative. Until the introduction of Passat, everything else they built for almost 30 years was derived from Bettle plataform.

Also, independent builders use it to create many more things.

A. Barth
A. Barth
8 months ago

Good luck with the presentation this evening!

What I don’t get about this brochure is the upside-down title text

There appear to be creases between the title text and the main body of the brochure. You could fold the title piece away from you / toward the back of the brochure as it is shown in the pic, and then fold the whole thing like you’re closing a book.

Once you do that, the title text will be upright and visible and the brochure will be thicker along the lower edge.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I think you’re correct. Be interesting to see what’s on the reverse side of this brochure and how it aligns with the folded text.

Last edited 8 months ago by Canopysaurus
Jason Roth
Jason Roth
8 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I’m guessing it was simply designed to work like a basic pocket folder like we all had back in grade school, enabling the dealer to tuck info sheets into the pockets.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago
Reply to  Jason Roth

Agree

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
8 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I think that’s the answer, but then you have a brochure that opens the opposite way from a regular book, which is weird.

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
8 months ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

I think what we are seeing is the front and back cover here. The picture of the car is on the front, the upside down text folds inside then flips down when you open it to give more info space inside. I also would like to see the reverse of what is shown here to confirm that though.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

If you visualize the front cover as just image page on the right and the spec listing on the left as the back cover, then fold up the bottom to create pockets and read correctly on the inside of the brochure, it works. Used to have to layout a magazine and newspaper and the front and back covers were always laid out this way.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
8 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Yeah, I finally put it together in my mind. I was picturing the bottom folded to display the name on the outside, but this makes more sense.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
8 months ago

Brazil straddles the northern and southern hemispheres. Hence, the brochure is properly read while standing on the equator with the picture and text on the northern side and the title on the southern side (or vice versa).

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
8 months ago

Interesting to note how the brochure shows the odometer with something like 20,164 km (over 12k miles) instead of the usual zero or single-digit numbers. Cool detail about the shift pattern being right in the instrument cluster, on the clock face, rather than on the shift stick knob (the norm) or the ashtray (typical air-cooled VW.)

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
8 months ago

Wow, that’s a lot of brochures.

How many million is in a Brazillian again?

Data
Data
8 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

Pretty sure Brazillian involves subtraction/removal; so 0 million.

10001010
10001010
8 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

It’s 10^3 more than Vermilion.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
8 months ago

I would be willing to bet three, whole, American dollars that StefthePef has, or at least could, duplicate that near one wheel balance with her 411. Whadayathink, Torch? Think you could pull it off in the Changli?

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
8 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I think poo might shoot out

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