Wednesday, October 1, 2008

'93 Puma AM-4 for sale...

…but, so far away. If only I had an inside contact at the DOT to "assist" with the importation of this fine, Brazilian sports car. The asking price is R$ 30,000 which is about 15,500 in US green backs. That seems a bit steep, considering that a red one of comparable condition just swapped owners in the US for about $7 grand. The Puma AM-4 is, however, a rare car, so rare that very few have any real knowledge of it. This could account for price variations. In the end, a car such as this is worth what ever the buyer is willing to pay. And to me, just the "wow" factor that this car would invoke at any Volkswagen gathering across the country is worth the asking price.
The Puma AM-4’s curvaceous Brazilian body conceals underpinning of a more Teutonic origin. This hot little two-seater's rear-mounted engine is nothing other than the ubiquitous 1.8 liter, in-line four common to an immense host of front-wheel-driven, econo-minded Volkswagens. Indeed, all of the Puma’s greasy bits are VW parts. This plebeian heritage does not at all diminish the charm or potency of this roadster. Instead - just like the early Gmund Porsches(which were also constructed of Volkswagen mechanicals) - the AM-4's design is a study in how the re-purposing of coarsely mass-produced components can yield an effective and competent sports car.
Unfortunately, importing such a foreign exotic is no simple process. Even with gads of cash and an endless list of high-powered friends, navigating DOT regulations can be as mystifying as tracking down electrical gremlins in a thirty-year-old VW Beetle. Just ask Bill Gates about his experiences importing a Porsche 959. And so, like a crude, beer-swilling frat boy with a crush on the conservative, career-minded valedictorian, I yearn for what is hopelessly unobtainable. Alas.

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