The SP, the final name of the car, was built on the frame of a Variant, with the same Volkswagen air cooled engine, but upgraded to 1700 cc, it developed 75 hp (56 kW), 160 km/h (100 mph) and made 10 km/L (28 mpg-imp; 24 mpg-US).
When the car was presented, it quickly drew media attention, with its many improvements over the local "air cooled" VW line, an impressive interior, its many extra features and its superb finishing.
A car named SP1 was also built, but due to its very poor performance (only 65 hp (48 kW) with a 1600 cc engine), it was soon discontinued. The same problem plagued the SP2. In fact, a malicious joke at that time was to relate the "SP2" name with "Sem Potência" ("Without Power", in Portuguese).
Despite its revolutionary look, the car failed to beat the Puma in performance. Although they used similar engines, the fiberglass Puma was much lighter. This resulted in low sales, and the SP was discontinued in February 1976.
With a total of 10,205 units made (670 of them exported, the majority 155 went to Nigeria with only one going to Europe, Portugal), the car is now sought-after as a valuable collector's item. One of them, in white, is in the VW museum on public display. While prices during the production time frame were roughly the same as the Beetle, the price of a well-preserved example today is considerably higher than contemporary VW models.
I was browsing the peg on the toy section and saw this Hot Wheels Volkswagen SP2 dangling. It caught me by surprise because it just appear on the US market and would not be available here anytime soon. Nice catch? ;)