Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
1600 Amazonas -1982
An excess of excess
When a Brazilian constructor makes a motorcycle to match the scale of his huge country, the result is likely to be a monster. The 1600 Amazonas, built by Amazonas Motocicletas Especiais of Sao Paolo, is one of the biggest series-built motorcycles ever.
Imports are severely restricted in Brazil, a country of rampant inflation where Volkswagen has been established since 1953. AME, a division of a major automotive spare parts business based in Sao Paolo, began production with a motorcycle powered by the famed VW Beetle flat-four engine. It was an original design whose main aims were strength, reliability -and the use of the maximum number of automobile spares.
Car dampers, instruments, brakes, battery and lamps were all fitted in the interest of simplifying after-sales service. The unbelievable 1600 Amazonas appeared, oddly enough, at the Brazilian Automobile Show in 1978, where it proved an instant success. Even the national motorcycle highway patrol placed an order. By the early 1980s the Amazonas had been exported across the world. Built to a life-size scale and styled like a truck, the Amazonas had dubious stability, impossible braking and a reverse gear. The Amazonas were light-years away from "conventional" motorcycles. At a 1982 price equivalent to $12,000, the Amazonas was a kind of exotic Harley-Davidson, a master-piece of baroque excess.
Engine: 1584cc Volkswagen air-cooled flat-four four-stroke
Power Rating: 68 hp @ 4600 rpm
Fuel System: carburettor
Transmission: 4-speed and reverse, chain final drive
Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm with twin spring/dampers (rear)
Brakes: twin discs (front); disc (rear)
Wheels: 5.00x16 inch (front & rear)
Weight: 783 lb
Maximum Speed: 93 mph
The amazing Amazonas 1600 was available in three civilian versions: "Esporte, " "Super Esporte" and "Turismo."