Raphael Fusca’s 1966-67 Brazilian Beetle

So, I decided to write a little bit about my own story and if you find it interesting and want to publish it, I’ll be more than happy.  I feel like I’m doing my part keeping the Classic Beetle always alive. My name is Raphael.  I`m Brazilian, and since 2017 the proud owner of a Brazilian Model made back in 1966, but considered a hybrid ‘66/’67 Model by myself and my friends as I`ll try to summarize below.

Firstly, I need to clarify that Models made in Germany, (which supplied the USA market), Mexico and Brazil are slightly different. All differences can be found on Wikipedia but I would like to mention three main differences between the `67 Model sold in the USA and the `66 or `67 MIB: The engine(s), the older versions` fenders and head lights and the smaller windshields and windows.

In 1967, VWB (Volkswagen do Brasil S.A. or Volkswagen of Brazil Corporation) decided to perform a few changes to its Sedan Model sold in the BR market (the Beetle, known as Fusca, produced since 1956 in Brazil).   For the first time, VWB offered the 1300 engine, in lieu of the 1200, (the 1500 version was not offered until 1971).   As well, this version had a bit larger windows.  The previous version is like early ‘60`s Models sold in the USA.  VWB never offered larger windows like the ones from Germany or Mexico.   New wheels were part of the new version, due to disk brakes. Front headlights and fenders were kept the same as the first Beetles until 1972!

Now, why do I consider my car a hybrid ‘66/’67 Model?   Because it has a 1300 engine and new wheels from the ’67 Model (albeit the drum brakes in the front are still there), but the smaller windows and general look of a Brazilian `66 Model, including the color (not offered after 1966).   Anyway, she was never truly restored. New paint job, interior and floor panels were done by the previous owner, who bought the car with the engine (produced in 1982) already swapped in.   

Here’s a fun fact: from 1975 until the final unit produced in 1996 (hiatus from 1987 to 1992), VWB offered Beetles running on ethanol. Prices for ethanol in Brazil varied so much it was hard to tell if owners made a good choice on that. But now it is worth having a model on ethanol. Mine runs on gasoline which is approximately 1/3 more expensive in Brazil than in the USA.

Well, I am pleased to share the story of my ‘66/’67 Beetle with you!  Oh, before I forget: I’ve been living in the USA for the last few months and I miss my Beetle so much.   I thought of bringing it into the US, but I would not have the time to enjoy it here.  Don’t think it is going to happen. Plus, it`d be very expensive. Maybe I will decide to buy another one here while my father and brother (both enthusiasts) enjoy and take care of my ‘66/’67 MIB Model. One Classic Beetle is never enough.

Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions.”

Kind regards,  Raphael Martins

Editor’s Note:  Many thanks to Raphael for revealing these interesting and important facts.  The World over, Beetle styles fit the economies where they were manufactured or assembled.   

Posted by Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs since 1976. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are retired and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been our favorite year. We own a '67 Beetle and a '68 Karmann Ghia.

  1. Really great article

  2. Interesting and enjoyable article.

  3. Richard A. (Dick) Diaz January 31, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    Very interesting! I wonder if many of the Brazilian models made it out of Brazil to the United States?

    1. Raphael Martins February 3, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Richard. Thanks for your question.
      VW Brazil produced more than 3.3 million Beetles but exported only to other Latin American countries and African countries. Some independent importers may have brought some to the US but I believe that VW, unlike it did for the Fox models during the late 80s and early 90s, decided not to provide the US market with the Brazilian-made Beetle.
      In the same sense, VW decided not to provide the Brazilian market with the 1303 and Super Beetle models, which is quite unfortunate.

  4. Raphael Martins February 3, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Hello, everyone. Thanks for your comments. My pleasure to share part of my story with this great car with you. Cheers, Raphael.

  5. Hi Raphael,

    Thanks for the great words about your Brazilian Fusca.

    I am looking for some help with identifying reliable and authentic VIN to manufacturing data for Brazilian manufactured Beetles. I provide a service for members of the UK Historic Volkswagen Club (www.historicvws.org.uk) where accurate manufacturing dates (or periods) are required for our licensing authority. Can either you or any contact that you have in Brazil help me with this please?
    The ideal information would be tabular connecting VINs with manufacturing periods like that included in early parts books called a Production Survey. I understand that such information is impossible to obtain via official VW sources in Brazil having been providing the service for VW van owners here in the UK for many years but doing it for Beetle owners is something new to me.
    I already have this information for VW Vans.

    Kind regards,

    Rod Sleigh

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