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Rare and inventive, the Apollo GT is far from forgotten

The sports car history books are chock full of ambitious young folks dreaming big, pooling their cash, and setting up shop to take on the world. Then they often run out of money, throw up their hands, and close their doors after just a few years and a few dozen examples are finished. Making cars is a business, after all, and as it turns out, building sports cars and turning a profit is not at all easy.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/10/07/rare-and-inventive-apollo-gt-far-from-forgotten

Very cool cars! This world was built by dreamers. Good for them!

Despite the attention of Franco Scaglione, these cars look awkward. The individual elements aren’t the problem, it’s their totality that doesn’t seem to work. Maybe it’s the proportions, I’m not sure. One thing is that there seems way too much distance from the leading edge of the windscreen to the front wheel arch and, of course, it wasn’t required to fit a V-12. Even the Ferrari 250’s don’t have as much front expanse.

Nice! I’d forgotten all about them. No idea how they drove, but I always liked the looks.

The Thorndike Special on the original Herbie Love Bug movie was an Apollo. I wonder where that one went.

I agree the profile of the Coupe looks a bit slab sided. However, I think the design works as the convertible.

I think what throws off the shape is the rear quarter window… The little notch throws the roof-line off… I can really see the influence of the XKE shape, especially with the long bonnet, with a Ferrari Front end.

Honestly I always thought the XKE cars were oddly proportioned as well… The good news is this car looks like it would be simple to work on, no problem even removing the bolts from the trans to the engine, the fact it uses Buick parts means that pieces are somewhat available even if they might be more pricey than an SBC, which would have doubled the weight of the engine…

I would drive it…

Gorgeous cars!
Wish they’d have continued.

I worked my way through high school and college at Martin Buick-Pontiac in Richmond CA, and delivered a Regal (A-body) frame and small parts to Milt Brown at his shop in Berkeley for a revival of the Apollo in the mid-70’s, amidst the rollout of the Buick Apollo (X-body). Other customers included Gordon Vann, Steve Moal, Owen Owens, and many other prominent Customizers and Collectors here in the Bay Area…

Great time and place for a budding Car Guy!

A few years the “Thorndike Special” was at the Concorso Italiano in Monterey. Still yellow, still wanting a rematch with a certain VW bug.

Oh how I wish I had not read this article. I really want one!! They are rare and unusual and beautiful. That’s the way I came to drive a Sunbeam Harrington as my semi-daily driver! Alas Apollo…

I must agree with rclinden, the styling is a bit off, at least for the coupe. The entire greenhouse is shifted aft about a foot from where it should be. The cabrio looks the business with the roof gone. The front end is a fair rip-off of any early 60’s Ferrari but the rear is original and svelte. Love the story and glad there were people willing to take a chance on their dream.

Two of these regularly show up at Cars & Coffee Sundays here in the Bay Area, mostly in the North Bay. One lived for many years in my town of Petaluma, CA, although that owner has sold it to another Bay Area owner. To see two at the same event is a real treat. In person, they have a distinctive “XKE-meets-Ferrari” look to them. Really pretty cars in the flesh.

Went to Martin Buick’s body shop innumerable times from the 70’s to the 2000’s in my career as an insurance company damage appraiser and also spent a lot of time at Moal’s before he went high-end. Was Milt Brown’s that very clean place that was filled with classic race cars being rebuilt?

I wouldn’t characterize his shop as necessarily, ‘messy’, but certainly not, ‘surgical theatre’ either…

It was organized, but intense…

Maybe Jon Norman’s or Steve Shelton’s?

I was at Martin from '72 to '95, 23rd to Hilltop, so we must’ve crossed laths ar some point…

Couldn’t disagree more. Of course taste is always individual, but the tendency to feel comfortable with what we’re used to prevails a bit to often. The rear slingshot experimental Alfas of the 50s 60s were mucho moi severe then this.The exotic look of this long frontal configuratin is emtionaly consternating & with a heavy lean in Expressionism. If that upsets then I see that as a pository.