-->
Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

CLASSIC

Try with us

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Once upon a time when the Italians made a kit car

~Once Upon A Time~ Italy, besides being known as the country of pizza origin which is famous for its hospitality and exotic natural beauty. The country also has many automotive manufacturers with so many talented technical talents. No wonder, if the country gave birth to so many exotic cars.
The Puma GTV 033-S was the 3rd series of the GTV sports car made in 1985. (Picture from: Autobelle)
Those exotic Italian cars are indeed famous for their design and performance. Besides being produced by well-known automotive manufacturers, there are also those made as kit cars. In our opinion, the kit car is one of the modern automotive products that is rarely highlighted in Italy, so we rarely know of its existence there.

Did you know, there's an Italian company called Stabilimento Puma Roma or Puma that has been in the industry for a long time. The story of this company stems from the interest of its founder named Adriano Gatto (born in 1943) to a unique styled vehicle called the Dune Buggy when traveling to the United States in 1965. In short, then he imported the Dune Buggy in assembly box to later modify it on his father's estate in Ronciglione, Central Italy.
The Puma GTV 033 was the 2nd series of the GTV sports car made in 1983. (Picture from: Reezocar)
What is the Dune Buggy? As quoted of Wikipedia, a dune buggy (also known as a beach buggy) is a recreational motorized vehicle first emerged and
popular in America with large wheels, and wide tires, designed for use on sand dunes, beaches, roads or desert recreation. 

Here, not all parts of this American vehicle were re-assemblied and installed by him, it turned out that there were some parts that he considered inappropriate is reshaped by hand and later printed into real fiberglass pieces. When it's finished, then he took his assembled buggy around the city of Rome to attract public attention. Until one day, at the request of his friend who forced him to sell the vehicle.
The company's first made car named Puma Gatto Spiaggia built in 1968. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
As if he didn't want to lose the momentum, when he found out that the vehicle was well received by the public, he decided to import the new buggy kits and then assemblied it into a new Italian-made buggy named 'Puma Gatto Spiaggia'. From here, there was a lot of consumer demand for his new buggy came in, then in 1968 he decided to found a new company called Puma based in Rome.

In addition to producing the Italian version buggy, the company also makes sports and off-road cars, all of which are built based on the VW Beetle chassis. Throughout this Italian company's business times, it was noted that several interesting sports cars had been made. For example in 1973, shortly after moving to a new factory in Via Nomentana, Adriano Gatto proposed a new dune buggy model named the Puma GT or Puma Gatto which took its name for its rougher lines than the previous model.
The Puma GT or Puma Gatto built in 1973 which took its name for its rougher lines than the previous model. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
The new Puma GT has a more modern look, has an almost wedge-shaped front and has a downward movement designed to increase front end grip, with partially recessed headlights and a more angled windshield.
The Puma GTV was the 1st series of the GTV sports car made in 1978 powered by an 1,200 cc Volkswagen engine which has been upgraded by Domenico Lombardi to 1,385 cc for increased its performance, but had no luck. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
And in the 1978, the company made a sports car called the Puma GTV which was designed by Richard Oakes under licensed of Nova. The sports car is built on the Volkswagen platform also powered by a 1,200 cc Volkswagen engine which has been upgraded by Domenico Lombardi to 1,385 cc for increased its performance, but it doesn't live up to expectations regarding the car's sporty style.
The Puma GTV was designed by Richard Oakes under licensed of Nova and also has unique features such as the access into the cockpit is looks similar to the Nova Eagle has. (Picture from: Tumblr)
This car has unique features such as the access into the cockpit is looks similar to the Nova Eagle has, which is hinged to the glass base, with the roof and windshield raised and rotated forward, thus allowing access into the passenger compartment. There are about 100 units ever made and now there are 52 units left only.
1982 Puma Ranch inspired by the American Jeep Wrangler by exploiting a German-made engine that is mounted uniquely on the rear, while the trunk is in the front. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
While in 1982, the Italian company had released an American Jeep likened car named Puma Ranch. This an off-road purposed vehicle is indeed inspired by the Jeep Wrangler by exploiting a German-made engine that is mounted uniquely on the rear, while the trunk is in the front.
 
Then the GTV model was continued in 1983 with the launch of the Puma GTV-033, which was marked by different bodywork coupled with the engine changes with an 1,186 cc 4 cylinder boxer engine taken from Alfa Sud.
The Puma GTV 033 was the 2nd series of the GTV sports car made in 1983 powered by an 1,186 cc water-cooled 4-cylinder boxer engine of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
In appearance, this car looks to have a shorter nose than the first series with the headlights hidden inside the body almost resembling the front of the Puma GT. Then the rear looks more square with the sides no longer rounded at the bottom, but forming a new angle inspired by the side skirts of racing cars at that time.
The Puma GTV 033-S was the 3rd series of the GTV sports car made in 1985 powered by an 1,186 cc water-cooled 4-cylinder boxer engine of the Alfa Romeo Alfasud. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
It turns out that the second series did not get a good response, because the public still prefers the rounded lines of the first series. Then in 1985, Adriano Gatto returned to using a longer nose and rectangular headlights to be closer to the original GTV style, and this GTV's new version is called the Puma GTV 033-S.
The Puma Boxer 90 electric-powered sports car built in 1990 and had shown off at the Bologna Motor Show. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
On the other hand, the 1.186 cc water-cooled 4-cylinder boxer engine from Alfa Romeo Alfasud is preferred over the air-cooled Volkswagen engine. And thanks to the higher power spewing made the car's performance became more powerful, so the GTV 033-S remained in production until 1991.
The one-off Puma 248 built in 1993 by using a newly designed chassis and is powered by an 1,700 cc 16V engine from the Arese company. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
Besides that during the 1980s, the company made several Dragsters and continued in the 1990, it is produced an electric-powered car called the Puma Boxer 90 and had shown off at the Bologna Motor Show. Then there is the Puma 248, which the company produced only one unit in 1993. The car is built on a newly designed chassis and is powered by an 1,700 cc 16V engine from the Arese company with an upgraded leather interior. 
2004 Puma Tiger electric-powered microcar is said suitable to fulfill the needs of people living in big cities. (Picture from: Puma Club Italia)
Although in their heyday, these Puma made cars were quite popular in Italy, this can be seen by the frequent appearance of these cars taken role in the circulated domestically movies in that country. But unfortunately in 1993, when the Italian laws at that time were increasingly stricted toward the Kit-Cars, effectively blocking the activities of small manufacturers like Gatto's Puma company. Then he was closed his business and sold the 'Puma' brand to Ford, due to he could not afford the exorbitant costs of homologation and the complicated bureaucracy when producing his own car models.😭 So, that's why the kit car makers was rarely seen or could be said had no existed in Italy today.😭
Today, Adriano Gatto and his son Gianluca remain existed in the world's car manufacturing, but this time with an electric-powered minicar called the Puma Tiger, a microcar is said suitable the needs of people living in big cities. In fact, in the April 2013 issue of Quattroroute magazine, the new Italian-made microcar project is being prepared for production at the historic Puma plant in Rome.

For now we've known and seen the Italian-made kit-cars even if only from pictures and videos. And hopefully this article could be inspired in many Your works in the future.👀 Ciao..! *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | PUMA CLUB ITALIA ]
Note: This blog  can be accessed via your smart phone
Kindly Bookmark and Share it: