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Thursday, June 6, 2024

Bianco Tarpan: The Exotic Brazilian Car that Turned Heads

Forgotten ONES - Among the numerous models produced by Bianco Indústria e Comércio de Veículos Ltda., the Bianco Tarpan stands out as one of the most celebrated. Known for its exotic design and advanced mechanics, it made a significant impact in the Brazilian automotive industry. The Bianco Tarpan, alongside the Bianco S 'Furia,' showcased the company's innovation and engineering prowess during a time when the national market was heavily influenced by a ban on imports.
The Bianco Tarpan featured significant design changes, such as simplified headlights and a more modern bumper, setting it apart from its predecessor, the Bianco S.. (Picture from: LexiCarBrasil)
The Bianco Tarpan made its debut at the 11th São Paulo Motor Show in November 1978. This event highlighted the growth of Brazil's off-production vehicle industry. Other notable cars at the show included the Puma GTB S2, L’Automobile Ventura, Corona Dardo, and Adamo GTL. Despite the competition, the Tarpan drew significant attention due to its unique design and mechanical advancements.
The Bianco Tarpan's streamlined design was inspired by the Jaguar XJ13 and Ferrari 330 P4. (Picture from: LexiCarBrasil)
Bianco Indústria e Comércio de Veículos Ltda. was founded by Toni Bianco in 1973. The company's first major success came with the Bianco S, introduced in 1976. This sports car featured a fiberglass body and was based on the Fúria, a prototype with a strong racing pedigree in Brazil. When Toni Bianco left the company in 1977, it did not stall the development of the Tarpan. This new model was slightly wider and taller than its predecessor, the Bianco S, and featured significant design changes, such as simplified headlights and a more modern bumper design.
The Bianco Tarpan offered good dynamic behavior due to its well-distributed mass and wide 13-inch wheels with 205/70 tires, which helped lower the center of gravity and improve stability. (Picture from: Retroauto)
The front bumper of the Tarpan was styled to resemble the retractable bumpers popular in the North American market, though it lacked the impact absorption capabilities. The rear bumper design was less cohesive, giving the car a somewhat cluttered appearance. Despite these stylistic quirks, the Tarpan's performance specs generated excitement. It was equipped with a water-cooled 1.6-liter VW Passat TS engine, producing 96 hp at 6,100 rpm, which impressed attendees at the motor show and led to numerous orders.
The Bianco Tarpan's cabin was adorned with a leather-covered dashboard and steering wheel. (Picture from: Quatrorodas.Abril.com.br)
Initially, the Tarpan was still in the prototype stage, with several issues needing resolution before full production. To meet customer demand, the first units were equipped with the air-cooled VW engine from the Bianco S. To enhance performance, Bianco engineers developed two engine options: a 1.6-liter engine with dual Solex 40 carburetors and a 1.8-liter engine with specially prepared cylinder heads for high performance.
The Bianco Tarpan was propelled by a water-cooled 1.6-liter VW Passat TS engine, producing 96 hp at 6,100 rpm. (Picture from: Quatrorodas.Abril.com.br)
Despite its outdated suspension, the Tarpan offered good dynamic behavior due to its well-distributed mass and wide 13-inch wheels with 205/70 tires. However, the car's balance underscored the need for a more powerful engine. The Tarpan used the chassis of the Volkswagen Brasilia, improving internal space compared to the Bianco S, which was built on the VW Fuscão 1500 platform. Ergonomics saw significant improvements, although the quality of materials used in the interior was downgraded, with seats changing from leather to fabric and the steering wheel rim no longer made of wood.
The very rare Bianco Tarpan convertible is a standout in this extensive São Paulo collection of unique Brazilian national cars. (Picture from: LexiCarBrasil)
In 1980, the company rebranded as Tarpan Indústria e Comércio de Fiberglass Ltda., and the following year introduced the Tarpan TS. This model featured the Passat TS engine and gearbox in a central-rear position and utilized a custom chassis with steel sheets forming a double 'Y' structure. The Tarpan TS boasted improved dynamic balance with McPherson strut suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. The finishing quality was notably enhanced, with redesigned pedals, lower seats, new seat belt mounting points, and the return of the wooden-rim steering wheel.
The Bianco Tarpan's rear lid bump disrupted the Bianco S's original harmony, while the air-cooled VW engine lacked dynamic balance. (Picture from: LexiCarBrasil)
The Tarpan TS also offered exclusive options such as air conditioning and a turbocharger. Despite these advancements, the Tarpan could not survive the economic recession that hit Brazil in the early 1980s. Production ceased in 1983, but the few units made have become highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, cementing the Tarpan's legacy in Brazilian automotive history. | liMxBi3d1Ro |
Reflecting on the journey of the Bianco Tarpan, it's clear that this model encapsulated the spirit of innovation and resilience. Its unique design, coupled with mechanical advancements, made it a standout in its era. Even though the economic downturn halted its production, the Tarpan's legacy endures, appreciated by those who recognize its contribution to automotive history. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | QUATRORODAS.ABRIL.COM.BR | DYLER | LEXICARBRASIL | RETROAUTO ]
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