My Car Quest

September 21, 2014

The Apollo GT Was A Star In Monterey – A Look At The Prototype

by Mike –

There were 17 Apollo GTs at Concorso Italiano in August 2013 in Monterey celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo. I think this is the largest gathering of Apollo GTs ever, I guess that close to one third of the surviving Apollos were at this event.

Apollo GT Prototype

Apollo GT Prototype

The Apollo project was the dream of Milt Brown and Newt Davis, who wanted to build an American car to compete with Aston Martin and Ferrari. They did not intend to compete on the racetrack but as a street sports GT car.

The Apollo GT was produced and sold by International Motor Cars from 1962 to 1964 in Oakland, California. Altogether 76 coupes, 11 convertibles and the prototype 2+2 were produced for a total of 88 Apollos built between 1961 and 1965.

Apollo GT Prototype

Apollo GT Prototype

Engineered by Milt Brown with styling by Ron Plescia the prototype featured Italian handmade aluminum bodywork by Corno Coachworks in Turin, Italy. A 215 cid or a 300 cid Buick engine powered the Apollo. The top speed was claimed to be 150 mph.

The original design had a few problems; the nose was too long and the rear vision limited, so former Bertone stylist Franco Scaglione was hired to revise the design. After the prototype was completed Intermeccanica of Turin, Italy built all Apollos.

Apollo GT Prototype

Apollo GT Prototype

Intermeccanica made and prepared the steel bodies in Turin and then sent them to Oakland, California, where the drive train was installed.

The automotive press loved the Apollo GT:

In November 1963 “Road & Track” wrote: “Our experience in the Apollo has been both brief and pleasant. The car is quite comfortable (even for extra tall occupants) and well finished. In general, the Apollo is a very appealing automobile, put together with loving care under the supervision of Brown and Davis in this country, and Frank Reisner, head of Intermeccanica, in Italy. The whole conception is basically sound and the company directors have proven to R&T that they are interested in producing a quality automobile and have the interest of the customer at heart.”

Sell your Apollo GT or other classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

Apollo GT Logo

The slide show below shows the styling differences between the prototype and the production Apollo GT.


Read more about the Apollo GT here.

Summary
Author Rating
Aggregate Rating
4.5 based on 4 votes
Brand Name
Apollo
Product Name
Apollo GT

Comments

  1. Robb Northrup says:

    Mike:

    Thanks for the kind words on the Apollo. Indeed, our display at this year’s Concorso was the largest ever assemblage of the marque. And, it ws the first time the prototype had been displayed in 50 years.

    Regarding the prototype: It was styled by Ron Plescia, a very gifted product designer at the time, and high school buddy of Milt Brown. The biggest challenge for Frank Reisner and Corna was there were no “loft” drawings of the car. Only a 1/4 scale model and Plescia’s “promo” sketch for investors. Further, a blueprint sent by Milt Brown (a copy of which I have on my wall!) had a few incorrect dimensions listed — Milt had attempted to convert from inches to millimeters and this resulted in the nose being longer than originally conceived. Also, Reisner had a challenge with the rear roof slope, making it higher than originally drawn. Again, a problem with the “translation”.

    But isn’t that what prototypes are for? To test ideas. And this one was so encouraging, that Brown, Plescia and Davis decided to go ahead with production.

    Also, it’s important to identify an Apollo as an Apollo. Not as an Intermeccanica. Intermeccanica only built the Apollo bodies, never complete cars. International Motor Cars was the manufacturer of the Apollo.

    Robb Northrup
    President, Apollo Owners Registry

    • Robb,

      Thank you for the additional information. I plan to publish more photos of the Apollo gathering in Monterey. I have pointed out to one of the publishers of classic car price guides that they should not list the Apollo under Intermeccanica but under Apollo.

  2. By far the best display Concorso has had in the past ten years, congrats to the Apollo owners for being able to pull that together. I also liked the fact that the cars were not lined up like a used car lot, they swept the nice corner of the event. This allowed for much better photography. The Apollo is a beautiful design.

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