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O Inglês Nosso de Cada Dia Roberto H. Ebelt
roberto@henrys.com.br

O Inglês Nosso de Cada Dia

Coluna publicada em 12/03/2012

Tales from Mother Goose (em português: contos da Carochinha)

The familiar figure of Mother Goose is an imaginary author of a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes, which are often published as Mother Goose Rhymes. As a character, she appears in one “nursery rhyme”. A Christmas pantomime called Mother Goose is often performed in the United Kingdom. The so-called “Mother Goose” rhymes and stories have formed the basis for many classic British pantomimes. Mother Goose is generally depicted in literature and book illustration as an elderly countrywoman in a tall hat and shawl, a costume identical to the peasant costume worn in Wales in the early 20th century, but is sometimes depicted as a goose (usually wearing a bonnet).

If you told an alien that our country – BRAZIL - is capable of producing jet planes, like EMBRAER, but does not have even one national car manufacturer, do you think he would believe you? He would probably think that you were telling him a tale of Mother Goose.

Nevertheless, we had one, GURGEL, but it went bankrupt.

Gurgel was the brand name of Gurgel Motores S/A, a Brazilian car manufacturer, named after its founder João do Amaral Gurgel. The company was founded in 1969. Early models were fiberglass bodies installed on Volkswagen Beetle chassis and machinery, but VW bodies and chassis were later replaced by a unique solution made of Plasteel - which consists on fiberglass and steel joined together, a system patented by Gurgel. Gurgel also introduced Brazil’s first fully domestically designed and manufactured car, the BR-800.

The Ipanema was the first car produced by Gurgel. The next model was the first commercial success of the brand: the Xavante. Its production started in 1973, being the first car of Gurgel developed using the PLASTEEL system, which proved to be very resistant, under corrosive environments, and mechanically very strong - deforming temporarily but not smashing under pressure or shocks. Xavante also had a feature called SELECTRACTION, a system where two individual hand-brakes were installed next to the driver, for each one of the rear wheels: in a situation of low-traction environment, it could be used to stop a free-spinning wheel and move the power to the other one, allowing the driver to restore traction to the ground and to move along.  The later X-12 model was the biggest commercial success of the brand.

In 1974, the Itaipu was a pioneer project of an electric vehicle. It was developed to be a strict urban car for short distances. However, due to the limited technology of the batteries available then, the project was halted.

In 1980, another electric vehicle was conceived, called Itaipu E400: it was a van, still designed for urban travels, but having better autonomy and still a remarkable mileage. It was also available with a gasoline engine, the “G-800” model.

In 1979, the X-15 was released. It was a van for 7 passengers, or 2 passengers plus 500 kg of load. A derived model, the G-15L, could carry 1metric ton of load, and had a 70 liter gasoline tank - which could be extended to 140 liters, with an additional tank.

At that time, business where going quite well: Gurgel was the first exporter in special vehicles, and the second in production and amount, in the years of 1977 and 1978.

In 1981, the XEF model was developed, having only three front seats. The car was an urban model, with small dimensions both for the passengers and for the baggage.

In 1984, the Carajás model was introduced: it presented the same SELECTRACTION system as Xavante and X-12, but had some special qualities, such as the TTS (Torque Tubing System), used to transfer the power from the engine - on the front of the vehicle - to the transmission - on the rear.

Now, in the 21st century, Brazil does not have one single national car manufacturer. Is the Brazilian automotive industry going forward or backwards? You know the answer. And now you also know why we have the most expensive vehicles among the countries that have an automotive industry.

Have an excellent week.

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