The Willys Interlagos – an authorised version of the Renault Alpine A108 – was the first Brazilian sports car. A total of 822 units were built between 1962 and 1966 in coupe, convertible and berlineta body styles. The most desirable berlineta version was raced very successfully contributing to the rise of professional motorsport in Brazil.
Presented at the São Paulo International Motor Show in 1961, the model pioneered the use of glass-fibre reinforced plastic (GRP) in Brazil. With it, the Willys associated the Willys brand with modernity to the brand believing prestige of racing had independent suspension and rear four-cylinder engine online and 70 hp liquid-cooled , double-barrel carburetor.
The car was named by advertising kingpin Mauro Salles in honour of the famous race track in São Paulo. He, along with Jean Rédélé, founder of Alpine, and race driver Christian Heins made Brazilian production possible.
Christian Heins was the driving force behind the early motorsport success of the Interlagos until an accident in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 1963 claimed his life. After his death, Luiz Antonio Greco took over the mantle with the car becoming one of the great success stories of Brazilian auto racing.
The Willys Interlagos won many races such as the 500 Miles of Porto Alegre in 1963, the GP of the State of Guanabara, 500 KM Interlagos, 200 Miles from Montevideo (Uruguay), all in 1964.
Many famous and successful racers drove for Willys during that time including Bird Clemente, Emerson and Wilson Fittipaldi Jr., Luiz Pereira Bueno and Carlos Pace. Taking corners in electrifying, controlled slides made life very hard for its competitors, even those with more powerful cars.
While drivers loved the its low weight, the public loved the car’s beautiful, flowing and harmonious lines. The new Berlineta has the spirit and soul of the car that became a legend in national motorsport and is targeted at customers who require a competition car with a body and chassis designed 100% for performance that also features an exceptional cost-to-benefit ratio.