Nelmo Suzano’s venture with the ill-fated ENARM company in the early-to-mid 1980s was, regrettably, the last time his ideas were transformed in actual working prototypes. However, during the 1990s, conceptions were still to reach the surface of his drawing board, this time in an improvised “design office” in a small apartment he shared with an ailing sister in the Copacabana area, in Rio de Janeiro. But his health was also becoming compromised, mainly the result of an eyesight problem that was gradually, but continuously, degrading his capacity to see. Also slowly, his walking ability was being lost. Nevertheless, he kept on designing.
In 1996, still having friend Luiz Gonçalves by his side, he established N.S. Projetos Termobalísticos S/C Ltda, a small concern with the objective of creating and offering for sale complete firearms designs and detailed production plans for them. Amazingly-low costs were involved. In a small stand at the 1999 LAD Defense Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, the company plans were made public. Taken for example, the earlier, compact 9x19mm MSM submachine gun project was retailing for US$3 million, but actual manufacture cost per gun was of only US$ 40.00, with a suggested sale price of US$ 250.00. The same price was offered for the previous 12-gauge Pentagun shotgun project, which would result in a production cost of US$62.00 and a suggested sales price tag of US$350.00. For the 5.56x45mm FA bullpup rifle of the early-1980s, the respective figures were US$10 million (project), US$140.00 (production cost), and US$450.00 (MSRP).
However, major hopes were concentrated on a family of short-recoil-operated (Nelmo was a known fan of Melvin Johnson’s ideas!) weapons employing the bullpup configuration, which included a 9x19mm submachine gun, and (all in 5.56x45mm) a selective-fire carbine, a selective-fire rifle, a light machine gun, plus a 7.62x51mm GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun). Different .22LR carbine models and pistols of various calibers were also anticipated.
Different commercial contacts eventually emerged from all that, but concrete results never materialized. With a general health degradation, a mentally-active Nelmo Suzano passed away on September 4, 2013, at the age of 83. Though virtually unknown worldwide, his dreams and work will long be remembered by gun enthusiasts in Brazil.
Some of his earlier designs will appear now in TFB in a somewhat random sequence. Stay tuned!