BBT Travels

Fun in Brazil! New friends and a very special visit!

Yesterday (saturday) we made a verde a trip to see a very special car and we stopped by Katrake, a VW shop specialised in suspensions. We had a very fun day and learned to know a couple of new VW friends with their hearts in the right (VW) place!

My friend Luiz from  the Brazilian VW Magazine VW Klassik drove us today to see a very special car…

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I heard from this car before, it looked like a race car  build on a platform from a 1946 Beetle.

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Its made in Germany, around 1949 and it was part of a traveling circus…

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Most parts are authentic 1946,a s are the numbers… it’s really beautiful made, with a big eye to detail!

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Chassis is seriously shortened and also made smaller!

With a Kubelwagen rear axle and a sedan front axle…

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as period newspaper pictures shows it was used on the “Wall of Death”!


First in Germany later it moved to Brazil…


In the collection the race car resides lately there’s a lot of other cars, very interesting we thought was also this Tatra… very nicely restored!!

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And also this Tempo Matador panel van! Extremely rare! Never saw another one in the flesh!

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and besides many other there was also a choice of Isetta’s!

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After this breath-taking visit Luiz and his (highly pregnant) wife brought us to this very nice lunch place!

Thanks Luiz, You gave us a wonderful day!

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Luiz dropped us off to meet another friend, Edgar… he awaited us at the Katrake Vw shop… highly specialised in VW suspensions!

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Alexandre, the owner, his weak (VW) spot are standard beetles!

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Mandatory sticker ceremony… this shop is BBT approved!!

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From right to left BBT Jerry, Alexandre and yours truly… new friends for life!!

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Today we fly to the south of Brazil for many more…. so stay tuned!


More Brazil, more factories!

Thursday and friday we visited more factories, let’s start with a tail light company, who will make our Bay window tail lights soon!

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This is the raw material for your tail light lenses!

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Very nice and well organised, clean factory!!

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and on to the next, just a street view of a Sao Paolo suburb, traffic is NOT alone in Antwerp, but also over here…:)

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Next was a real cool and small factory who is specialised in emergency brake handles and smaller quantity parts…

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Yes excenter presses are absolutely my favourite machines…

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and on to the next, discussing more push rod tubes with Mr Wilson… compare the reproductions with NOS ones, and learn what is changed on a push rod tube in the last 40 years orso…

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The cut away model learned us a lot… I could never imagine that there was so much technology in a “stupid” push rod tube!

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followed by an extra ordinary mandatory dinner, with many caiparinha, beer, and off course a lot of meat!

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Friday morning first stop was IGP, our trusty sheet metal supplier… IGP is a real big factory!

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…with many and especially huge presses!

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Jerry was pretty impressed for sure!

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Floorplates ready for paint…

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… and painted…

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the IGP parts been “dipped” in a water based coating…

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as I said, IGP is a huge operation!

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Jerry is inspecting some moulds in the tooling dept.

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From IGP we drove to one of the worlds largest ignition cable manufacturers, around two million sets a year been produced here!

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Everything is controlled, and even weighted!

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A fresh delivery for Bosch, fitted almost in my pockets…:)

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From the ignition cable factory we drove to the port for a meeting with our new consolidator, we ship a 40ft container every 4 weeks now out of Santos, so time to talk!

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Hey guys, be carefull with the BBT containers, will ya?

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… and back to the hotel… finally a full night of sleep, the first full night since we arrived sunday….hmmmm…:)

We will have more Saturday and sunday, so stay tuned!!

Brazil Day 2… Five factory visit!

Our second day in Brazil started in carburetor factory Brosol….

Right at the assembly lines! Up to 400 different parts goes into one carburetor!

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Quality control does matter for a carburetor production process! Every single carburetor is vacuum AND fluid tested even in different airflow and even in different gears!!

The testing lady works 43 years in this factory!

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Busy assembly lines, produce up to 3000 carburetors a month!!

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Mandatory picture…

Walter, the man who’s right from me in the picture, is the plant engineer and work 55(!) years for this factory, he’s the walking carburetor encyclopedia!

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Next….We visited the push rod tube manufacturer, first we stick a BBT sticker to the owner, Mr Wilson, his Fusca…

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The main machine in the production of push rod tubes… every 6 seconds a push rod comes out!

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I can operate a machine like that…. LOL!

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Final pressing…

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….and liquid pressure test of every of our push rods!

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This company makes also a lot of pulleys etc… excentre stamp presses enough… oh yes they’re still my favourite machinery!

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The original VW blueprint is still the holy bible for the production!

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The cut away gives us the right views of the inner structure… what can be improved???

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Next we go to a factory specialised in Alu and Zinc Alloy pressure injection… very wide product range… as long as its aluminum or zinc alloy…:)

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This is NOT soup! This is liquid aluminum!!

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Enough half products and castings to fill an entire warehouse!!

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Main reason for this visit was our production of ignition steering locks, for split window bus and for beetle… we getting close! Two more internal parts to develop and we can start assembly process development…

This will be a BBT exclusive product!

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Ok lunch!! Let’s get some Brazilian BBQ…. what called Churascaria… ever heard of Picanha? It’s the best beef money can buy!

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Up to the next factory… we lined up behind this cool Vw model we don’t have in Europe…

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This factory makes our window winder mechanisms… bullet proof and super solid! A couple of euro’s more expensive as the Chinese crap on the market.

We follow these for years and don’t get returns at all! The BBT window regulators do work like they supposed to do… hope You buy them already?

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we came here to understand the production process and for sure we’re impressed by the incredible nice organised production process!

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They even have their own zinc facilities!

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Assembly was well thought out and again very well organised with a very good lay out… Up to 6000(!) window regulators a day, very impressive!

Every window regulator is fully tested on its own!

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Last factory make BBT bumper brackets, unfortunately no pictures allowed. sorry…:(

Tomorrow we see more productions, so stay tuned! we’re not home yet!

Another factory tour… Brazil here we come!

Where does the big KLM bird fly us this time???

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Direction Sao Paolo Brazil, for another factory tour of suppliers, part of our purchase manager overseas (Jerry) training program….

Impressive skyline for sure…:)

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oh, Jerry found already what’s important…:)

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me too… Brazil is a country for meat lovers, let’s start at lunch…:)

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First supplier lunch, hospitality here is second to none!!

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and yes… they do have APE here too…:)

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Fusca’s everywhere… Fusca is the local Brazilian “nickname” for the beetle… and yes, there’s still plenty on the road here!

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ok, let’s get to work here… first factory was a steering box and all steering box components manufacturer… Now TRW is bought by ZF we face difficulties in supply, to have an alternative right in your back pocket is not an extra ordinary luxury thing in this situation…

We start at the casting and raw material warehouse…

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To continu in the production… we’re very satisfied what we see! the factory came a LOOOOOONG way since our last visit here in 2009!

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Lots of CNC machines to choose from…:)

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Motivated people, even here in the packing division!

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Lots of special machines… Gonzo, this one You have to know!

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And finally the assembly…. a lot of skilled craftsmen that really know what they do… high quality for sure!

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Oh and they make steering boxes for the old Brazilian kombi, as far as we know every Kombi imported from Brazil in Europe for sure need one of those!!

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And finally these lovely girls will make sure all our paperwork will be going smooth!

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Second we visit a factory that make small locks, handles, catches,  receivers etc… small parts and a lot like key barrels etc mainly in zinc alloy… impressive machinery!

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and a LOT of tooling!

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This is how Zinc Alloy comes out of the form after being injected and cooled down!…

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Cleaning of the moulds for the next process!

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Very impressive machinery…

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Do you recognise this part???

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He Mauci, where you think you’re going????

Thanks for bringing us here buddy!

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The most enthusiast sales team of them all??

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Jerry checking on samples…

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Ok day one is over, tomorrow we see more… now first we have to find a hotel! Seems we don’t have a reservation yet!