CAR OF 1972 VOLKSWAGEN SP2
The SP2 was one of the more convincing, distinctive efforts to build a sporty VW. When Brazilian production of the Karmann Ghia came to an end in 1972, bored local designers doodled an unofficial successor, which was then deemed worthy of production. Hobby magazine dubbed it ‘ The Most Beautiful Volkswagen in the World’. Sadly, with just two engines of 1584cc (the 65bhp SP1) and 1678cc (the 75bhp SP2), the cars were sheep in wolf’s clothing. Nevertheless, they could reach 100mph. Just about. The nickname ‘Sem Potência’ (‘Without Power’) was soon bestowed on the SP (it really stood for either ‘Sao Paulo’, VW’s main Brazilian factory, or ‘Sport-Prototyp’).
Plans to import the car into the USA came to nothing – it was too low for US lighting regulations. Europe got one solitary example, but – rather bizarrely – 155 ended up in Nigeria. Production, further handicapped by the fuel crisis, ended in 1976, by which time just 10,205 SPs had been built, of which just 88 were SP1s.
Could it have been a hit in Europe?