PUMA IN SOUTH AFRICA
The following information regarding Puma in South Africa was provided by Jack Wijker of Puma Marketing (South Africa), Armand Botha, Wouter de Waal, and Gerhard Terblanche.
1974 South African Puma Coupe
First run cars were outwardly identical to Brazilian cars.
South African Puma production began in Durban in 1973.
The car was basically the Brazilian GTE but there were some differences.
South African GTE's were right hand drive rather than left hand drive as were the Brazilian made cars.
Also, the South African Pumas were built on VW Beetle pans and had front drum brakes.
Brazilian GTE's of this period used VW Karmann Ghia pans and had front disk brakes.
A total of 357 units were produced and sold in a matter of 21 months.
One of these was exported to Australia to test that market.
Unfortunately, the lack of cost control in the manufacturing operation led to the downfall of the company.
A picture of the Coupe that was sent to Australia appears on the main page.
That car has survived, and is maintained in show condition by its owner.
NOTE: There are two stories regarding the Australian car.
A second account indicates that it was a Brazilian made car that was sent to Australia for the market test.
South African Puma Advertisement
South African Pumas were right hand drive.
1974 South African GTE Coupe
Owner: Gerard Schultz
Beautifully Restored 1974 GTE Coupe
Round tail lights are from a Fiat 850.
1975 South African GTE Coupe
Interior view shows right hand drive layout.
Another 1974 South African GTE
Interior has been nicely redone.
Second Run South African Puma
Headlight covers were retained on the second run cars.
Another Second Run Coupe
Second run cars had rear quarter windows added.
New Puma Plant in Babelegi
The third run cars look much like the second run cars except for their black bumpers and side marker lights ahead of the front wheel wells. The cars are built on VW Beetle chassis units that the company obtains locally and refurbishes. The chassis is shortened to accept the Puma body and new floor pans are installed. Brakes and suspension are upgraded and other wear parts are replaced. The bodies are formed from molds imported from Brazil. New style five spoke alloy wheels with Puma center caps complete the package. No word yet on whether Puma Cars of South Africa will attempt to export cars, and if so, in what form.
Most recently, the company has developed a battery powered electric version of Puma which is claimed to equal or exceed the performance of the standard car.
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