Guitolar Ltda is an Uruguaian company (you can found them in the "most for everyone" sportscar encyclopedia: A-Z of Sports Cars Since 1945, by Mike Lawrence. Bay View Books, 1991, England under the name Halcon) today offering a steel-bodied Mercedes SSK replica now exported all over the world (imported to Germany by Legatti). Here comes their brief history: In the late fifties due to laws protecting the local industry begun in Latin America the assembly and manufacture of motor cars. It seemed clear then that the production was going to substitute the importation and an important industry was begining to exist. Nobody was prepared in that region for this type of work and, therefore, the same as young people study today different careers, Horacio Torrendell thought that he wanted to prepare himself for that profession. The only way to do so was to go to another country where the techniques of this industry could be learned.
The only country where he knew people and, at the same time, this know-how existed was England and in 1962 he went there spending one year not only learning how to design and build a car, but also making by himself a very simple one around Mini mechanical components with the aim that, perhaps, that could prove to be the stepping stone to start a low volume production on its own.
When he arrived back in Uruguay the manager fo the local General Motors branch thought that the project of making such a simple utilitarian vehicle could be feaseable and comissioned him. to adapt the vehicle that he had projected into a pick up truck unit to be mounted on a Chevrolet chassis. The vehicle was called the "Charrua" after the name of the indian tribe that inhabited originally Urugay, but was only moderately succesful as to take full advantage of the local industries protective laws, more local integration was required. Also as Horacio had not his own workshop the construction was commisioned to a local manufactuter who paid a royalty to him but was not very efficient and the costs were high. In total 133 units of this model were built.
Due to these two reasons he designed a new vehicle -called in this case the Indio. That included the local manufacture of a very simple chassis frame also and was assembled with Bedford mechanical components made by GM in England in one version and with german Opel mechanicals in a smaller model. At that moment in 1967, Guitolar started its life as Horacio inherited from his father a workshop that, with new machinery that he bought, began to produce those vehicles. In this instance more than 50% of local content was obtained and during period of around five years nearly 2.500 Indios were produced.
In the mid seventies the law that protected the local integration was changed for a new one that made compulsary to export automotive parts for the same value that any importer introduced to the country. Without the advantage of the low taxation the rustic Indio became uncompetitive and discontinued and a new serve of projects and prototypes of sport cars for export was made by Guitolar.
The Halcon from 1978 with Ford Falcon components
1980 prototype based on Chrysler mechanics
Bugatti type 51 replica, 1981. Ford Taunus mechanics
Alfa Rome Monza replica from 1982, Alfa Romeo Giulia based
The latest one is the replica of the SSK. The Torrelaro project (the director of the Guitolar now the founder's son: Guillermo Torrendell) started some five years ago and up to date they managed to do around 30 units. Their plannings are to produce one car per month and they stated, that if needed the rate could be improved easily. Nowadays the company has become much smaller in comparison to the times when the Indios were built when it used to have l20 workers. Today they are only 10 but as soon as the Torrelaro production increases, it will expand. Currently they have plans to create the replica of the Mercedes SS and the 500K.
Mercedes SSK repl. Mercedes SSK repl.
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Copyright April 1995. Paul Negyesi
I'm no way related to this company or their products. I have no responsibility for the accuracy of the above info. This document or parts of it cannot be used for commercial purposes.