Some VW buses and a Gurgel

The reborn Gurgel X12
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Nowadays we are not afraid of amounts of 50.000 euros for a VW bus. Yet there has been a time when you bought such a VW workhorse for 1.200 guilder and then you could also set requirements. The basis of a group of VW (bus) enthusiasts that we meet lies in that good old guilders time. Part of the 'club stock' too. And that there is now also a second generation of club members? Ha! The third is already coming. Passion is born and raised and is not a 'lifestyle thing'.

That is why we leave it in the middle where that gang of enthusiasts is. But it is close enough to the Amsterdam port area to have some port officials in the circle of acquaintances. And so one of the VW Bus enthusiasts received a phone call: “There are a few VW buses and a container with a strange little car on it. This has not been paid for in three years. If that's for you, then you can have the stuff. But you have to be quick. Because the day after tomorrow everything will go through the shredder differently. ” Of course the matter was settled very quickly. And the whole stuff moved to the clubhouse. And that thing that had been on top of the container? That was a Gurgel. A real Gurgel. And that is very different from the bluebird organ ...

A gurgel?

The Brazilian car market was subject to severe import restrictions to increase domestic production and to be less dependent on other countries. To circumvent these rules, VW set up 'VW do Brasil'. And in the first half of the Sixties, João do Amaral Gurgel inspired to make cars based on VW (do Brasil) parts. With that approach, Gurgel became the largest kitcar producer of all time. His first creation, the Ipanema, was a fairly conventional buggy in the 'Manx' tradition. The sales went so well that the Xavante could be born. It looked a bit like a VW 181 'thing' after cosmetic surgery. The body of the 'X-10' was made from Gurgel's own invention: 'Plastic' a combination of polyester and steel. The car was also equipped with something that Gurgel called "Seletraction": a manual lock on the differential.

Gurgel continued to make tough deployable vehicles on a VW basis and even delivered vehicles to the Brazilian army.

The Gurgel X12 rescued from the shredder had neither wheels nor a block. And after three years of standing on a container in the open air, he didn't look good. From a technical point of view, he was perfectly fine. It was therefore mainly a matter of complementing the exotic with parts from its own stock, making new side windows and a hood. And with that, the number of these Gurgels in the Netherlands has come to three.

And who knows what else is in forgotten corners of old storage locations?

With the vans that belonged to the find, it also worked out well. And that is not even surprising at a time when 1 euros were paid for the restoration of a T32.000 bus. For the restoration. From a T1 bus.

Automobilia 2022 (copy)


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  1. Nice article about the Gurgel X12. I own one since 1999 from 1981 on Dutch license plate (BK-97-TN). It is a wonderful hobby car to tinker with or to go for a ride when the weather is nice. Or road is the best. I sometimes think about selling it, but I can't really say goodbye to it, so we're not doing that yet. It is my Bob de Bauer car that the grandchildren love to go with.

  2. Hello Dolf
    There are more Gurgels to be found in the Netherlands than the aforementioned 3.
    I have had 3 in the shed there alone in recent years. At the same time.
    Currently, there are about 13 cars in the Netherlands with a license plate. Not all driving.

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