One of the low-volume Brazilian automakers that relied on the Volkswagen air-cooled powerplant when imports were restricted, Gurgel found itself a comfortable position as a manufacturer of SUVs such as the X-12. The lack of a proper 4-wheel drive system required some different approach to increase the off-road capabilities inherent to the weight bias of a rear-engined RWD vehicle. The option regarded as more cost-effective was a manual brake control for each rear wheel in order to emulate the effect of a limited-slip differential and keep most of the torque output to the wheel in contact with a more stable portion of the terrain.
The levers were tied to the parking brake cable of each side, not requiring any rocket-scientist to implement it. The system is not only easier to fit, but also easier to mantain, because even though it might increase the wear on the rear brake liners it's easier to replace a brake shoe than to perform an overhaul in a locker differential.
A month ago I spotted at the Canasvieiras beach in Florianópolis city this '09 Honda CG 150 turned into a cargo tricycle. The conversion was made by the Brazcar company located in Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais state, which previously converted pick-up trucks from regular-cab to dual-cab but switched its business to focus on tricycle conversions for utilitarian purposes. The flatbed fitted to it, however, had a tag from Carrocerias Paraguaçu which is located in Palhoça city, south from Florianópolis.
It's important to remind that light-duty Diesel vehicles are forbidden in Brazil, so such motorcycle conversions became an option for small businesses to use as a cheap and fuel-efficient small hauler which is not meant to be babied, even though this one looked more badly worn-out and neglected than usual. A somewhat surprising feature was the rear disc brake, contrasting to the stock front drum brake.
Many people from other countries often express some curiosity about the Amazonas, a Brazilian motorcycle fitted with the Volkswagen flat-4 engine. This one is an '82 which served the Federal Roadway Police. It resorted to the 1600 dual-carburettor engine, and the transmission was a modified version of the stock one fitted to rear-engined Volkswagen vehicles, with a chain final drive. The model was meant as a replacement for the Harley-Davidson Shovelhead when imports became restricted from '76 to '90. Officially released in '78, the Amazonas was produced until '88.