Rare Rides: The 1979 Renha Formigo, Rear-engine and Beetle Adjacent

Not long ago, Rare Rides featured the Gurgel XEF, a Brazilian microcar of luxurious intent that was styled like a contemporary Mercedes-Benz, and based on a Volkswagen. Today’s Rare Ride is a very different Brazilian take on the same basic bones.

Say hello to the Renha Formigão.

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QOTD: Change the World's Climate by 2030 or Just Talk About It?

The world’s climate has been centerstage the last two days. President Biden and other world leaders have vowed to reduce global warming by making drastic changes. Will they follow through?

At the 2015 Paris climate accord, then-President Obama set greenhouse gas reduction at half what Biden has proposed. Former President Trump, Obama’s successor, did little to forward this, but is it realistic for Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, to double down on Obama’s goal in a relatively short time frame?

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Rare Rides: The 1985 Gurgel XEF, a Tiny and Obscure City Sedan

Today’s Rare Ride hails from an auto manufacturer you may have never heard of before: Gurgel. Made in Brazil, the conservative little XEF was an interesting side note in automotive history.

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Nearly Dead in the U.S., Fiat Turns to Brazil for Rekindled Love

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is going all-in in Brazil, where the struggling Fiat brand was once the country’s top choice for new vehicles. The automaker has announced a $4 billion plan to boost market share in the only non-U.S. region that made the company any money last quarter.

Leading the way are two new Fiat SUVs, joined by a host of Jeep and Ram offerings.

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Volkswagen Fox
If you’re a European car manufacturer in the middle 1980s, what do you do when Tercels and Excels and Justys make your value-priced econobox seem too expensive in North America? If you’re Volkswagen, you call up your Brazilian operation and start building Americanized versions of the VW Gol, successor to the Type 1 Beetle in the South American market.Here’s a very early example of the first-year Fox, found in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard.
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As Ford Starts Trimming Down South, a Familiar-looking Truck Will Have to Die

Ford’s attempt at streamlining its global business is already well underway in Europe and the United States, but those regions aren’t the only locales to see cuts. Announced Tuesday, Ford Motor Company will bring the axe down in South America.

Brazil, once home to Henry Ford’s utopian rubber town, stands to lose local production of three vehicles, including two truck models that look oddly familiar. Almost like something the author’s neighbor drives. Also in Ford’s plan: the scrapping of its heavy commercial trucks.

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Rare Rides: A 1965 Brasinca Uirapuru - Say What?

Today’s Rare Ride is a very limited production coupe from Brazil that appears to be very derivative in its styling. But what if that’s not the case at all?

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Rare Rides: The Ford Versailles Ghia From 1993 - a Quantum Experiment

The recent news of the potential alliance brewing between Ford and Volkswagen seems like a novel idea. But what if I told you it was already tried long ago?

Come along, we’re taking a trip to Versailles.

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Volkswagen's Tarok Pickup Should Give Hyundai Food for Thought

A new Volkswagen pickup for Brazil? Yawn. As much as small, cheap pickups turns this writer’s crank, the image that came to mind upon hearing news of this week’s São Paulo unveiling was a weird amalgam of the late Ford Courier and VW Fox.

Then I looked at pictures of the VW Tarok concept, which is said to almost exactly mirror the production vehicle bound for that market. My, my — what a fetching little truck. Sporting pretty much the exact same wheelbase of the Atlas and bearing a bed that extends in both directions, the MQB-platform vehicle is a versatile and stylish little unibody runabout.

Isn’t this pretty much what Hyundai has in mind for North America, assuming it pulls the trigger on the Santa Cruz?

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Domestics Abroad: Part II - Chevrolet's Foreign Fare

Today we feature the second entry to our Domestics Abroad series. Here’s where we take a look at the international models proffered around the world that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in their brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.

We kicked off this series with Ford, and its 13 qualifying models. Our second entry is Chevrolet, which also places second in number of models.

Here are Chevrolet’s nine entries, in alphabetical order:

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Sudden Departure of Volkswagen's Nazi-hunting Historian Sparks Controversy

The sudden termination of historian Manfred Grieger’s contract with Volkswagen is generating controversy in Germany, with some accusing the automaker of trying to put a lid on its dark past.

Grieger spent 18 years on the VW payroll, and was hired specifically to air the automaker’s dirty laundry. During his time with the company, Grieger penned detailed accounts of Volkswagen’s wartime use of forced labor from concentration camps while opening up the company’s archives to journalists and historians.

The New York Times reports that his contract came to an end this week. Some suspect that Grieger’s criticism of a report on Audi’s past led to his departure, and they worry VW could be trying to downplay revelations about its history with the Nazis and Brazil’s military dictatorship.

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Patriot Name is Truly Dead as Fiat Chrysler Unveils 2017 Jeep Compass

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has released the first official images of the 2017 Jeep Compass, the solitary model replacing both the original Compass and its slab-sided Patriot compatriot.

Say goodbye to the flag-waving Patriot name, as this is a world model, and global Jeep customers are more familiar with the Compass name. Fittingly, the small SUV’s coming out party was held at its Goiana, Brazil assembly plant.

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2016 Rio Olympics: The Cars of Brazil

I’ve been glued to various screens watching The Games of the Thirty-First Olympiad, much like many of you, I assume. Streaming some lesser-known sports, such as kayak slalom, which resembles a water autocross save the distinct lack of Tilley hats, has helped me get through slow days at the office.

But like any other time I’m watching a broadcast from another land, my petrol-addled mind wanders to the streets outside the televised event’s venue. I daydream about the cars parked there. What are those people driving that I can’t get here?

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The Pilot Did It: Ecclestone's Helicopter Chauffeur Arrested in Kidnapping of F1 Chief's Mother-in-Law

In old mystery novels, it’s usually the butler, gardener or maid that police nab for committing a dastardly crime. In 21st Century São Paulo, Brazil, it’s the helicopter pilot.

After rescuing Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone’s mother-in-law from kidnappers earlier this week, Brazilian authorities arrested the racing tycoon’s pilot on suspicion of involvement, the BBC reports.

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All in the Family: F1 Boss Ecclestone's Mom-in-Law Rescued

Rarely does a high-profile hostage-taking resolve itself in such a nice, PG-13 film manner.

Aparecida Schunck, the 67-year-old mother-in-law of Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone, was found tied up in a dingy apartment near São Paulo, nine days after her kidnapping, the BBC reported last night.

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  • Varezhka And why exactly was it that Tesla decided not to coat their stainless steel bodies, again? My old steel capped Volant skis still looks clean without a rust in sight thanks to that metal vapor coating. It's not exactly a new technology.
  • GIJOOOE “Sounds” about as exciting as driving a golf cart, fake gear shifts or not. I truly hope that Dodge and the other big American car makers pull their heads out of the electric clouds and continue to offer performance cars with big horsepower internal combustion engines that require some form of multi gear transmissions and high octane fuel, even if they have to make them in relatively small quantities and market them specifically to gearheads like me. I will resist the ev future for as long as I have breath in my lungs and an excellent credit score/big bank account. People like me, who have loved fast cars for as long as I can remember, need a car that has an engine that sounds properly pissed off when I hit the gas pedal and accelerate through the gears.
  • Kcflyer libs have been subsidizing college for decades. The predictable result is soaring cost of college and dramatic increases in useless degrees. Their solution? More subsidies of course. EV policy will follow the same failed logic. Because it's not like it's their money. Not saying the republicans are any better, they talk a good game but spend like drunken sailors to buy votes just like the libs. The sole function of the U.S. government is to take money from people who earn it and give it away to people who didn't.
  • CecilSaxon Sounds about as smart as VW's "SoundAktor"