This is an original L’Automobile Ventura from the 1980s, it’s the first one we’ve ever featured on Silodrome due to its rarity, and it’s now being offered for sale out of Encinitas, California.

The L’Automobile Ventura was developed and built in Brazil starting in the 1970s, it is based on Brazilian-made Volkswagen running gear, with a new fiberglass body that offered far more modern styling than the VW models the car could be built on.

Fast Facts – The L’Automobile Ventura

  • The L’Automobile Ventura was a Brazilian-made sports car developed in the 1970s by L’Automobile Distribuidora de Veículos Ltda. It featured a fiberglass body mounted on a modified Volkswagen chassis, combining modern styling with readily available VW running gear. The Ventura was offered as both a factory-built vehicle and a kit car, competing with other Brazilian sports cars like the Puma and SP2.
  • Initially launched in 1978, the Ventura came in two main variants: the SLE with a 1.6 liter air-cooled VW flat-four engine, and the RS with a more modern 1.6 liter liquid-cooled VW Passat TS engine. Later models introduced a 1.8 liter air-cooled engine, reportedly capable of 185 km/h. The car was produced for a decade, ceasing manufacture in 1988, with most examples remaining in Brazil.
  • The Ventura offered modern features for its time, including roll-up windows, a carpeted interior, padded dashboard, three-point seatbelts, and various luxury options like electric windows and air conditioning. It was designed to be affordable and easy to manufacture while providing a more contemporary alternative to standard VW models. The car was also exported as a kit to countries including Germany, Argentina, and the United States.
  • The L’Automobile Ventura shown here is currently being offered for sale out of Encinitas, California. It features a 1.6 liter VW flat-four engine with dual Weber carburetors, 13″ front and 14″ rear alloy wheels, and a yellow exterior with black stripes. While described as a project car needing some work, it’s reportedly in running and driving condition. It’s being sold at no reserve with an Arizona title.

The L’Automobile Ventura

L’Automobile Distribuidora de Veículos Ltda, better known simply as L’Automobile, started out back in 1976 in São Paulo as one of Brazil’s many homegrown, grass-roots automakers. Their first vehicle was a fiberglass replica of the 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 sports car, which was built on a Volkswagen chassis.

L’Automobile Ventura Brochures

Image DescriptionBrazilian company L’Automobile Distribuidora de Veículos had global ambitions for the Ventura, and it did sell in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States, but only in very small numbers. Image courtesy of L’Automobile.

This first model from L’Automobile sold well, well enough for company founders Claudio Campuzzano and Guillermo Pardo to begin making plans for a second model. Rather than looking back at designs from years gone by, they decided to look forward, and design the most modern car they could – both inside and out.

They developed a car that still shared the running gear of the commonplace Brazilian-made Volkswagens of the time in order to ensure it would be both cheap and easy to manufacture. The car would be offered as a turnkey factory-built vehicle, and as a kit car that people could build themselves in as little as a weekend.

A new body was developed with what was considered cutting-edge styling by the standards of the mid-1970s. It was a fiberglass body that the company touted as being built using unibody construction, and the company called it the L’Automobile Ventura.

It featured roll-up windows, seating for two, moderate front trunk space, and a carpeted interior with a padded dashboard, a full assortment of interior panels, three-point seat belts, rear view mirror, windshield wipers, and even a fire extinguisher.

When placing an order, people could also choose from a number of luxury options including electric windows, air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo cassette with 4 speakers and 2 tweeters, and various custom wheels and tires.

The Ventura And The Brazilian Competition

The Ventura would be built on a slightly modified VW platform chassis, this meant that it could keep the pre-existing suspension, brakes, steering, engine, and transmission, vastly reducing the build time. Initially the Ventura was offered in Brazil as a competitor for other locally-built sports cars like the Puma, SP2, Bianco S, and Malzoni GT.

L’Automobile Ventura 4

Image DescriptionAt first glance very few would expect to find a VW floorpan under the car, given the long nose and short, fastback rear end.

The car would later be offered through distributors in Germany, Argentina, and the United States as a kit car. Though it did sell the figures were modest and as a result, few people outside of Brazil can identify a L’Automobile Ventura on sight.

The Ventura officially debuted in 1978 and was offered in two key variants, the SLE and the RS. The SLE was powered by a 1.6 liter air-cooled VW flat-four, and the higher-performing RS was powered by the more modern, liquid-cooled 1.6 liter VW Passat TS engine.

In 1984 a face-lifted version of the car was released, along with the first ever convertible version. The 1.8 liter air-cooled VW flat-four was offered as an option, and by 1986 it had become the standard fitment. The 1.8 liter engine offered just 84 bhp, up from ~50 bhp on the earlier 1.6 liter models.

These later Venturas were said to be capable of 185 km/h, 115 mph, though some have cast doubt on this claim given the available power and the gearing of the VW 4-speed transaxle.

It’s now known how many examples of the L’Automobile Ventura were made, manufacturing ceased in 1988 after 10 years of production, and today the vast majority of Venturas remain in their native Brazil.

The L’Automobile Ventura Shown Here

The car you see here is a 1980s-era L’Automobile Ventura, as you would expect it’s based on a VW chassis and running gear, with power provided by the 1.6 liter VW flat-four. The engine in this car is fitted with dual Weber downdraft carburetors, offering a slight performance boost over the stock arrangement.

This Ventura is being offered for sale as a project car, and it’s clear it does need some work, however it is reportedly in running and driving condition. It’s fitted with 13″ front and 14″ rear alloy wheels which are mounted with Bridgestone Potenza tires, it has four wheel drum brakes, and the car is finished in yellow with black stripes.

L’Automobile Ventura 15

Image DescriptionThe interior was relatively well put together by 1970s kit car standards. This specific example could do with some work, but all the key parts are there.

The interior is largely black, with black/gray seats that have white inserts. It has a three-spoke steering wheel is paired with a floor-mounted shifter fitted with a black golf ball knob. It also has an AM/FM cassette stereo with a built-in equalizer, a glovebox, and three-point seatbelts.

The car is now being offered for sale out of Encinitas, California at no reserve with a clean Arizona title that lists the car as a 1989 Puma. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.

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Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Published by Ben Branch -