Theme : Sudamerica – Nothing Is Quite What It Seems

The various manufacturers involved in the South American market over the years can cause some confusion to casual car spotters.

Willys / Renault Dauphine

The US maker Willys had set up in Brazil in 1953. Seeking to diversify from its US based cars, it built a version of the Renault Dauphine under licence ….

and, in 1962, it started building the Renault-based Alpine A108 as the Willys Intelagos…..

Willy Interlagos - image :
Willys Interlagos – image :

Willys then started developing a home-market car with Renault, based on the forthcoming Renault 12. However, in 1967, Willys-Overland do Brasil was taken over by Ford, so the car was released the following year, nearly two years before the Renault 12, as the Ford Corcel…..

Ford Corcel - image :
Ford Corcel – image :

Meanwhile, Kaiser Motors had moved its other car brand, Kaiser, to Argentina in 1956 to form Industrias Kaiser Argentina. In addition to Jeeps, a version of the Kaiser Manhattan saloon and, like its Brazilian sister company, a version of the Renault Dauphine, in 1960 it introduced the IKA Bergantin which, although using a fair amount of Kaiser engineering, can be recognised as coming from the body dies of the defunct Alfa Romeo 1900 ……

IKA Bergantin - image :
IKA Bergantin – image :

Although, in the USA, Kaiser Jeep only merged with American Motors in 1970, IKA started building Ramblers under licence in Argentina in the early Sixties and in 1966, IKA introduced the Torino, a handsome sports saloon with unique Pininfarina styling, but based on the AMC Rambler American and Classic …..

IKA Torinoi : image : Guille380 / Wikipedia
IKA Torino : image : Guille380 / Wikipedia

Back in Brazil, following economic problems, in the 1990s, Ford and Volkswagen collaborated on models, resulting in a version of the VW Santana being sold as the Ford Versailles……

Ford Versailles
Ford Versailles

The Versailles name had previously been used on a version of the French Simca Vedette, which was a design that it had inherited from Ford France. To further confuse, VW introduced the Pointer ……

Volkswagen Pointer - image :
Volkswagen Pointer – image :

and the Logus, which were both actually rebodied Mark V Escorts……

Volkswagen Logus - image :
Volkswagen Logus – image :

6 thoughts on “Theme : Sudamerica – Nothing Is Quite What It Seems”

  1. South-America (or should we now say Mercosur?) used to be a continent of automotive coelacanths, but less so now. Paradoxically, Brazil not only got the Renault 12 before the rest of us, but also the Kadett C (four months before Germany) and the OHC Fiat 127 engine (fair enough – it was made in Minas Gerais).

    Not very long ago Brazil was the world’s fourth largest new car market after China, the USA and Japan. It’s been having a rough old time of late, and has slipped to seventh place behind the UK, whose appetitite for rented German cars seems to be insatiable.

    New vehicle registrations numbers from Automobil Revue for 2015:

    Brazil: 2,481,000
    Argentina: 587,000
    Chile: 282,000
    Colombia: 265,000
    Ecuador: 73,000
    Uruguay: 47,000
    Bolivia: 24,000
    Venezuela: 13,000

    Which is probably enough raw data. The offerings presently available suggest that the big automotive players see the Mercosur contries as low priority compared with China and India. Renault’s range seems to be mostly Dacias with diamonds on their noses.

    On which matter, Dinborg of Argentina deserves honourable mention for producing the last Isabella, about a year after production ended at Sebaldsbrück in June 1962. What’s more, Borgward gearboxes were produced in Argentina until 1979, for use in a very strange car indeed.

  2. Aye, developed and built by an aircraft manufacturer using German and United States technology.

    Argentina’s Bristol…

  3. The Ford Corcel produced from the Renault 12’s project gave way to some other cars under the same platform.

    Ford Corcel II, 1977-1986 (caption: “LET’S SAVE MONEY”)

    Ford Del Rey and Belina, 1981-1991 (whose rear badge makes a cameo in one of Lana Del Rey’s videos)

    Ford Pampa, the Del Rey small ute, 1982-1996 (caption: “LEAD WITH THE LEADERS”)

    From 1989 to 1996, the cars were equipped with Volkswagen 1.8-litre engines, just like the Versailles family.

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