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Chamonix Cars

Chamonix was founded in the early 1980s by Milton Masteguin, one of the creators of the legendary DKW Malzoni and founder of the equally legendary Brazilian sports car brand Puma, in partnership with his son Newton Masteguin. The company, based in Jarinu in the state of São Paulo, initially aimed to produce fiberglass furniture. Chamonix began production of the Spyder 550 in 1980 with the logistical support and production facilities of the PUMA workshops. The launch of the brand took place in 1985, involving a communication strategy via the press and the presentation of the cars on the market. Following a partnership with the American automotive engineer Chuck Beck, it began to dedicate itself to the manufacture and export of Porsche replicas, which are today considered to be among the best in the world by the international specialist press.

From 1980 onwards, the future Chamonix cars were manufactured via the reproduction of the Porsche Spyder 550, a very successful competition model, manufactured in small quantities by the German brand between 1954 and 1956. Designed by Chuck Beck, the replica had a fiberglass-reinforced molded plastic body, a tubular chassis and Volkswagen mechanicals (suspension, steering, four-speed gearbox and a 54 hp air-cooled 1600 engine). As in the original Porsche, the engine was mounted between the axles, behind the seats and in an inverted position; the front brakes were disc brakes. Leather seats and a removable bonnet were standard. The Spyder 550 with the VW boxer engine remained in production for over 20 years, but with electronic fuel injection and 65 hp.

Chamonix soon turned to international exports, initially to the USA and Japan, which led to hard work on the quality of its projects and especially on the detail and finish of its vehicles. The excellent quality of the bodywork was favored by the fiberglass lamination process used by the company (hand laying – with manual pressing, without the use of a gun), a method that ensures greater regularity in the molding, without surface undulations and thickness variations, which allows for lower weight and better dimensional control of the parts. It is finally between 1985 and 1987 that Chamonix acquires its letters of nobility by selling its vehicles all over the world. International recognition of the brand came in the early 1990s, when the Spyder 550 was named by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport and the North American magazine Road & Track as the best replica in the world. With its production designed at the beginning of the 1980s, the company, which is becoming more and more attractive, is able to meet the growing demand.

In 1985 the Super 90 cabriolet was launched, a replica of the 1964 Porsche 356 C, the molds and manufacturing templates for which had been acquired that year from CBP (the same car leased, launched and produced years earlier by Envemo). The Super 90 followed the Spyder in all its technical characteristics: fiber bodywork, tubular chassis, VW mechanical parts, boxer 1600 engine with 54 hp (later 65 hp), disc brakes at the front. Like the Spyder, the engine was mounted at the rear and the car had side windows and a convertible top. Following on from the Super 90 cabriolet was the Speedster 356, based on a Porsche sports model derived from the 356, launched in 1952, the Speedster had the same mechanics as the Super 90. From this period no less than 2500 vehicles, stamped Chamonix, were produced. The Spyder 550 and Speedster 356 were the main models produced.

In 1995, Chamonix put in line its most complex project – the Spyder 550 S. It was the same Spyder 550, but with totally new mechanics: (central) VW AP two liters engine, water cooled with multipoint injection and 125 cv (from Santana), five gear box, De Dion rear suspension (longitudinal oscillating arms and coil springs) and disc brakes in the four wheels, without assistance. With this configuration the little car of 680 kg was transformed in a small bolide, reaching (according to the manufacturer) 230 km/h and accelerating from 0 to 100 in only 6,5 seconds. Externally, two details differentiate the 550 S from the 550: the front grill to cool the water radiator and the two chrome semi-circular santantones mounted behind the seats.

From 2001, for some time the manufacturer offered, as an option to the 1600 engine of the Speedster and Spyder models, a boxer unit with 1.9 liters, two Weber carburetors, multipoint injection and 115 hp. A small special series of the 550 S was put on sale in 2008, with the standard mechanics (since 2007 AP engine 1.8 bifuel from Gol, with 103 hp with gasoline or 106 with alcohol) but with the body painted in orange color and wheels and metallic details in graphite gray. In parallel with the replicas construction, Chamonix also rendered services to third parties: it produced prototypes for Autolatina, built for Fiat a Dobló in rally version and took part in the development of the sportive Lobini, for which it produced molds, templates and the first bodywork.