1967 DKW Puma GTView vehicle description
Genaro “Rino” Malzoni, an Italian immigrant later naturalised Brazilian, first began constructing motorcars in 1964. His first project, the Malzoni GT, was a metal-bodied sports car based on DKW 3=6 running gear and quite a peppy performer on the competition scene.
Malzoni’s creations caught the eye of licensed Brazilian DKW builder VEMAG (it’d actually bought several of his first iterations) and he soon set to building a glass fibre version, of which circa 45 were built in both racing and road-going forms. This lighter version proved even more competitive, and popular.
Come 1966 and he joined forces with Anisio Campos and Jorge Letry to form a new company: Puma. Its Puma GT utilised the same 981cc DKW engine, outputting 50bhp, and around 120 would be constructed before the VW Group bought VEMAG.
With a new big boss in town, the Puma GT consigned the DKW running gear to history and strode on with an adapted Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia (later be replaced by those of the Beetle) floor-pan and running gear.
Between 1967 and 1985 Puma (in one form or another) would sell circa 30,000 GTs, most of them in either 1493cc, 1584cc or 1795cc four-cylinder form. However it’s their three-cylinder DKW engined progenitor that is the most rare member of the breed.
As such they’re highly collectable and that’s exactly what we have here.
Netherlands-based John Kuiper has owned this Puma GT for almost six years, “The previous owner from Brazil was able to manage a ‘placa preta’, which means a black licence plate and certificate,” he explains. “Only classic cars with more than 85 per cent of originality will receive this special licence plate, which makes it very interesting as a collector’s item because of its historic value.”
The car received its Dutch registration in 2017 and since then John has used for several events. “It got a lot of attention because nobody knows it and the three-cylinder, two-stroke engine creates further interest – it’s quite a smart thing.”
John is selling the car as the time has come to reduce his collection. That means this intriguing little Coupe is now up for grabs and ready to wow the viewing public in its next owner’s hands. “It’s a very special car, of which there are only a handful in Europe.”
On the Outside
‘The body is in real good condition, because it’s made of composite, although the chrome parts and wheels need a little bit of work,” says John. It’s an honest assessment and it’s clear from both our photographs that the glass fibre bodywork does indeed present beautifully. The Beige paint is endowed with a light undercurrent of yellow and shows the Puma’s stylish lines off extremely well.
It’s an outline that intrigues from every angle; at the front, there’s a touch of Ferrari 275GTB allied to Mazda Cosmo Sport; while side on there’s a hint of a more upright Bizzarrini 1900 Europa; it is however, the rear end that for us holds most attraction – those elegant rear lights simplicity in themselves.
There are one or two tiny marks, such as the stain under the nearside headlight cowl, on paintwork that otherwise remains very smart with a lovely even finish; there’s also one or two faint spider cracks that aged glass fibre can be prone to suffering from – for example running horizontally along the rear wing in line with the fuel cap, and on the corresponding wheel arch – but these have been touched in. This is us being very picky, though.
John is correct, as some of the bright work could be improved in order to bring the car closer to concours condition; for example, there’s a touch of tape on the nearside door window chrome surround covering a blemish. Some of the window rubbers, most notably on the doors, could also benefit from replacement.
It again must be emphasised that this is a lovely example.
On the Inside
John says the interior looks ‘great’ and who are we to disagree. If you don’t believe us then take a leaf through our comprehensive photo gallery, below – hopefully that should be enough to persuade you…
Carpets look very fresh with minimal wear and tear, while door cards are similarly mark free. The front sports seats are in first class condition and of a design that provides ample lateral and medial support, while the tiny plus-twos look as if they’ve never been used. The perforated headlining is colour matched to the bodywork and this provides visual pleasure by closely linking the interior to what’s going on outside; it has one or two marks here and there, but is scuff free.
The three-spoke leather steering wheel is of an elegant design and perfectly complemented by a simple, yet effective dashboard. Its wood is free from marks, as is the vinyl topping and all three chrome-rimmed gauges that it holds are visible through clear glass.
“The three-cylinder, two-stroke engine is small, light and nicely balanced due to its ignition interval – and it easily delivers neat power. The engine sound that it makes is very special. Mechanically, overall condition is good.”
Since buying the car, the exhaust system has seen the front section replaced and a new front silencer fitted; a new steering cuff has been added to replace the worn original and the braking system has been comprehensively refurbished.
Pop the bonnet and it’s time to get your magnifying class out to spot the minuscule power plant – there’s room for another two in here! It’s clean inside, with a bare glass fibre finish (and also on the bonnet underside). A touch of elbow grease and Autosol could bring the engine itself up very well, but the next owner will have time aplenty to polish it to perfection.
The underside looks to be just as impressive with a clean, black paint coating and fresh looking drive shaft and suspension rubbers.
Perhaps the most important document in the Puma’s history file is the Certificado De Originalidade No2808, issued by the Automovel Clube do Brasil in September 2015. It confirms both the car’s originality and its 1967 construction date.
You’ll also find a number of invoices for the various works (discussed above) carried out by John. None of them are bank-busters, but they show that the car has received the necessary outlay to keep it in fine working order when required.
It also comes with a Dutch registration card, allowing the vehicle to be used both in the Netherlands and other European countries.
Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of the paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to a very high standard.
What We Think
As John stated earlier this rare little GT is rather an unknown quantity in Europe and that, is in essence, a big part of its appeal; as one of the early DKW-powered cars it is eminently collectable and will be guaranteed to keep observers guessing – certainly as to what lurks under that bonnet.
It’s in very good exterior and mechanical health, and the interior is exemplary. There are also a number of small improvements that can be made to further improve its show potential, but these are of the pleasurable variety.
Given all of that we think that this lovely early Puma GT will sell for somewhere between €45,000 and €55,000. For that the next owner will receive a thoroughly attractive example of the model.
What comes next will be up to them; shows at a multitude European playground is one possibility; while another is to purchase the car and simply enjoy stretching that little two-stroke engine’s legs.
No doubt both will be a pleasure.
Viewing is always encouraged and as stated this car is located in Gorinchem, Netherlands. To arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing to make an appointment. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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