Photo: Marcus Krueger
Vintage car in the spotlight
Gurgel Xavante X-12 TR
With the Xavante, Gurgel wanted to offer customers a robust, affordable and easy-to-repair alternative to the Beetle. Developed in cooperation with Volkswagen do Brasil, the Gurgel Xavante used proven Volkswagen technology. In addition to the front axle and gearbox, the off-road vehicle's rear-wheel drive also comes from the Beetle. The 46 PS 1.4-litre four-cylinder boxer engine accelerates the Brazilian vehicle to a top speed of up to 125 km/h. The chassis is one of the Xavante's key features. In addition to fibreglass, the company used its self-patented Plasteel, a mixture of steel and plastic. The result was an off-road vehicle weighing just 850 kilograms, which went into production in 1969. Visually striking is the cable winch on the front and the free-standing air filter at the rear. And in a first for a Brazilian car, the Xavante was fitted with a mechanical form of a limited slip differential. The handbrake cables could be used to block individual wheels on the rear axle ensuring that there is sufficient traction even on rough terrain.GURGEL – THE DREAM OF A BRAZILIAN CAR
To begin with, the company founder João Augusto Conrado do Amaral Gurgel produced various models of karts for children. In 1966, four models of passenger cars, including the Gurgel Xavante X-12 TR, were presented under the Gurgel brand name for the first time. The vehicle was initially produced in cooperation with Volkswagen do Brasil. Gurgel began production of the fully electric Itaipú E 400 as early as 1981. In 1995, Gurgel shut down its vehicle production operations after building around 43,000 vehicles. Three-wheel commercial vehicles and forklift trucks have been marketed under the Gurgel brand name since 2004. Vehicles such as the Xavante remain a key feature of the streetscape in Brazilian cities today. Fig.1: Just like in the basic vehicle: The storage space is at the front... Fig. 2: ... and the boxer engine is at the back.