Pick of the Day: 1973 Volkswagen SP2, a rarely seen air-cooled sports coupe

 Produced in Brazil just for the home market, the VW is uncommon in the US

Scarcely known in the US despite abiding enthusiasm for air-cooled Volkswagen models of the past, the SP2 sports coupe is an interesting and attractive VW produced in Brazil as a home-market replacement for the Karmann-Ghia.

The Pick of the Day is a 1973 Volkswagen SP2 that looks fresh and should garner loads of admiration from not only the VW crowd but anyone who appreciates a stylish and unusual automobile.  Hard to believe that it’s based on the mechanics and underpinnings of a Beetle.

“The Volkswagen SP2 is a Brazilian-built sports car that was developed in the early 1970s; it entered production in 1973 and left production in 1976 after just 11,123 had been built,” the seller explains in the ClassicCars.com advertisement for the car. “The SP2 uses pre-existing VW mechanicals with a new steel body, and it has a rear-mounted 1.7-liter Volkswagen engine producing 75 hp and pushing the car to a claimed top speed of 100 mph.”

The Volkswagen was treated to a full restoration, the seller notes, and it looks great and “drives exceptionally well.”

“The body is straight and solid,” the ad says. “Underneath, the floor pans are in great shape, everything was properly restored. The interior is splendid and contrasts well to the exterior silver paint. All new seats, upholstery has been redone, and tastefully done.”

The styling of the SP2 is a standout for that era, previewing such sports coupes to follow as the Porsche 924 and the Chevrolet Monza.   The front end is pure Volkswagen, though, with a flat metal surface between the headlights where the grille would be on a front-engine car.   The SP2 is also a hatchback, with a large glass door that opens to reveal a broad cargo space. The flush taillights look very slick.

While 75 horsepower might not seem very impressive,the sturdy dual-carb engine could be tuned to produce more using the many aftermarket parts available to Volkswagen hobbyists.  As is, the SP2 would have enough performance for normal driving chores, certainly better than a stock VW Beetle or Karmann Ghia.

The asking price for this SP2 is $43,900, which might sound lofty but is actually about right for this rare example of South American sports coupe. Plus, it’s certain to be a hit and the center of attention at any Volkswagen gathering.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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