Volkswagen rolled it out as a unique model for a presidential visit in one of the brand's factories. This means that the carmaker took all the trouble to convert a sedan into a convertible, knowing that the president of Brazil, Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, might only use it once.
The head of state visited the factory in Sao Bernardo do Campo in Sao Paulo on February 2, following the latest round of governmental investments. It was his first time in the Virtus with the top chopped off. Da Silva traveled around the facility in the one-off painted in blue.
Approximately 30 workers from Volkswagen's Sao Bernardo do Campo plant worked on the unconventional project. They had just six weeks to complete the conversion.
The vehicle started out in life as a Volkswagen Virtus, which has been facelifted recently. The Germans sell the budget sedan in South America, India, and China.
The engineers removed the B- and C-pillars and added a crossbar behind the front seats to regain the rigidity lost by cutting. And that is not the only reason it is there. It also works as a grab handle for the passengers standing at the back to help them keep their balance.
To provide more space and comfort to the presidential guest, the team extended the wheelbase of the sedan. Furthermore, there is no issue in terms of headroom now. Volkswagen had to relocate the fuel tank and the door latches and had to carry out a modification on the electronics.
Because it is a one-off that will probably never drive out in broad daylight, the convertible Virtus does not have a roof at all. The Virtus sports a Biscay Blue over an all-black interior. It rides on multi-spoke 18-inch wheels finished in silver.
Volkswagen did not perform any power upgrade, which means that it is powered by the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine, which generates 148 horsepower (150 metric horsepower) and 184 pound-feet (250 Newton meters) of torque, put down through a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission in a front-wheel drive setup.
After the visit of the head of state, the German automaker will store the one-off convertible alongside other special builds at the Volkswagen Garage collection in Brazil.
Volkswagen’s conversion comes just a day after Toyota introduced its own one-off convertible. The Toyota Crown with the roof chopped off was a proposal for the Sumo Association in Japan. The executives of the association preferred the Century SUV as a parade car instead.