Aurora 122-C

I'll give you a moment to collect your thoughts.

Yes, this is a mid-engined, General Motors-powered-on-alcohol Brazilian sports car prototype called Aurora. In its ultimate form, you can think of it as a 1/2 Ferrari F40; at 212 horsepower from a 2.2-litre 4-cylinder engine, it was reasonably quick. 

As we've seen before, however, the Brazilian government's strategy to protect its own companies was a double-edged sword: sure, it gave the 122-C a fighting chance in the market but was hampered by a less-than-exciting engine.

Why? It was difficult to source anything better than an Opel Ascona/Chevrolet Monza 2.0-litre from GM, which the team needed to modify to provide drivers with at least a bit of performance. With a glass fibre reinforced plastic chassis, the company Aurora Projetos Automobilísticos certainly didn't lack ambition, but as you can imagine, there were a lot of things on the go. 

An original chassis…bodywork…modified engine…Reports say that its electronic functions were wholly developed in Brazil, as well.

Price was just about where you would have found a Mitsubishi Eclipse Turbo back in Brazil in 1990, and in return for funding a startup sports car maker, you could brag to your friends that you'd bought a sports car that'd do zero-to-100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.5 seconds and hit 204 km/h (124 mph). 

It was, for a time, the fastest Brazilian car. I've seen photos of both a red and silver model, and the silver one can be viewed at the Museu do Automóvel in Curitiba. For a first effort, it's quite impressive…but the project was cancelled after the government reduced the tax on imported vehicles from 85% to about 20%. In a stroke, the car was uncompetitive against its imported sports car rivals.