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64 Apollo

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kickstarter, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. Kickstarter
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    Kickstarter Member

    I told a few folks I'd post some pics of an Apollo today, and it was nice out so here are a few pics. There were 66 to 88 of them built in the early sixties, the number seems to vary as to where you get the info. Milt Brown was the man behind this car.He had the body built by Intermecanica in Italy. Then they were shiped to the states were the drive train was installed, which was a Buick engine and diff, but a few had Ford or Chevy engines installed. This one was restored by Rob Wooley at Customs and Classics in Moscow TN. It's a 64 Apollo with a sbc for power, one of the few that was never finished.

    I'll load some more pics tonite.

    [​IMG]
  2. Kickstarter
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    Kickstarter Member

    A couple more.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  3. pimpin paint
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    pimpin paint Member


    Hey,

    I'd be interested in what the guy who restored this thought about
    the quality of Intermecanica's original metal work. Some Italian
    coachbuilders , Ghia comes to mind, leaned on the use of alot of
    filler to give them the finished look.
    I'm amazed by how many "car guys", when first looking at one
    of these, for the first time say " hey, look at the Ferrari" Cool
    ride, thanks for the photos.

    Swankey Devils C.C.
  4. Kickstarter
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    Kickstarter Member

    I'll see if I can get him on here.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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  5. Kickstarter
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    Kickstarter Member

  6. Section 8
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    Section 8 Member

    The Thorndyke Special!
  7. Drewligula
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    Drewligula Member

    Another car from Rob Wooley at Customs and Classics in Moscow TN.

    Attached Files:

    • 666.JPG
      666.JPG
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  8. Kickstarter
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    Kickstarter Member

    I never knew what that car was when I was a kid.

    [​IMG]
  9. BISHOP
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    BISHOP Member

    I bet that lil thing will fly.
  10. El-Cid
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    El-Cid Member

    Any idea how many were made without the Buick 215? I'd think that the weight of a Ford or Chevy small block in the front end would throw off the weight distribution and dilute the "sports car" aspect of the car a little. I guess that worked fine for the Cobra though...
  11. pimpin paint
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    pimpin paint Member

    Hey,

    Of the 88 built, some of the last ones could well have several
    different engines. Milt Brown was having serious money trouble at
    the end of the run, so it's possible that some were never complet-
    ed in the factory.
    Giver the ladder type chassis, and the serious lack of money to
    fully develop the engine, trans. and chassis to work well together,
    I doubt these were much ta write home about on the race track.
    With the Franco Scagilone designed body they didn't really have
    to handle well, they just had to look the part.

    Swankey Devils C.C.
  12. Notorious
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    Notorious Member

    I've got a 1966 World Automotive Yearbook (put out by Motor Trend) that shows the Apollo still in production for that year. And it looks pretty much like this one. It lists a 275 HP 300 CID Buick engine for that year, a Borg-Warner 4 speed or a Buick Super Turbine automatic. Dunlop front discs, drum rears, Borrani wire wheels and a leather interior with Jag gauges. $7965 for a coupe and $8865 for a roadster. A/C was a $450 option.
    There is no doubt an interesting story here. I always enjoy seeing and learning more about such hybrids. Thanks for posting about it.
    Oh, and it mentioned about 50 as being built up to that point.
  13. wooleybooger
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    wooleybooger Member

    Well, Kickstarter asked me to check out this thread as apparently there is some interest and a few questions about these cars that I may be able (or not) to answer.
    First of all the only hard and fast rule about these low production cars is that there are no rules! I talked to Milt Brown at length while restoring this car, as well as to Bob Northrup who is the president of the Apollo club and who is currently compiling information to write a book. Northrup is extremely knowledgable (he owns the first production Apollo, sadly now nearly a basket case) and Brown was there back in the day so he is also an expert. Many of the questions that I asked of both went unanswered or the answers did not jibe with what I was looking at in the shop. These cars were pretty much completely handbuilt in Torino, Italy and the drivetrain and suspension was installed half a world away in Oakland, California. There was very little standard between the cars.
    This is what I think I know! The total production was 88 cars. 66 were built as Apollo's, the remaining bodies were sold to a well heeled individual in Texas. 12 to 14 of these were built and assembled as Vetta Ventura's, the remainder apparently were purchased and assembled by the shop foreman for the Texan and pieced together up into the early '70's. Whether or not these were marketed and sold as Vetta's I don't know. The Vetta's that I have seen pic's of are missing much of the trim that was installed on the Apollo's.
    The chassis is fabbed from square tube and it is very thin walled, I'd guess about .090" thick. The front crossmember and front and rear suspension was pirated from a'62 Buick Special. I have been told that the frames were built in the States and shipped over there for the bodies to be built on but the build quality (poor) and economics make me think that it was all done over there. I also saw a photo of the frames being built and the shed looked a lot like the place in the photos of the bodies being built. The steering was modified to clear the frame rails. This caused untold trouble (bumpsteer) on this car as only part of the modifications were done before the car was sold (unfinished). The disc brake system was pirated from a Studebaker Avanti, brackets were welded to the spindles :eek: to mount the calipers, and the lower control arms were modified to clear the rotors. Northrup told me that the cars were sold with five lug front hubs and four lug rear axles but this car had the axle flanges welded :eek: and redrilled to a 5 on 4 1/2" pattern to match the front. The Borrani adapters all appeared to match so I think it was done when new.
    Most of the cars had Buick motors. The earlier ones apparently got the aluminum 215, and the later ones the iron 300. Milt Brown mentioned that a very few were built with small Chevrolets and Fords but I don't remember how many of each.
    The lights, gauges, switches, weatherstripping, etc. was sourced from other cars or was generic stuff used commonly by low production Italian coach builders.
    The body on this car was very nice from a restoration standpoint. No rust! The car was sold unfinished and as a consequence had never sat outside. This also preserved the interior. The car had suffered transportation damage however, the left front fender was severely damaged when my customer had the car moved from California and there were numerous dents and dings from storage. There was a question about the quality of the coachwork by Intermechanicca. I was very impressed with the quality considering that this is a handbuilt car. In the past I have had the misfortune to have worked on a Stutz Blackhawk (rebodied Pontiac Grand Prix done in Turin, Italy) and it was horrible. In the shop now is a Ghia bodied DeTomaso Mangusta and the work is very nice also. This is however once again in the context of a hand built car. The Apollo and the Mangusta both had a very thick primer surfacer applied to help smooth out the panels, but there are large areas on both cars that are gas welded and metal finished nicely. The roof on the Apollo for instance is three separate panels welded lengthwise, a center and two sides and it was metal finished without filler. The Mangusta is a much more intricate car and uses a lot more lead in the joints. It is interesting to note that the Apollo is not a monocoque design but the body is welded not bolted to the chassis.
    This car was never finished from new. Northrup told me that all of the bodies were sold by the fall of '64. This car was purchased by a sailor in the Merchant Marine who intended to (or did) install a small Ford. He apparently died before finishing the car, how much time elapsed I don't know. The second owner purchased the car from the estate and contacted Milt Brown who helped him piece together a correct 300" Buick. (now for sale) The Buick was installed but not running when my customer purchased the car but had been installed in the center of the chassis and would not clear the steering column. My customer decided that if we had to build new mounts they were going to be for a Chevy and that's how the 327 and Muncie ended up in this car. The rear gear was too low to comfortably drive on the highway and we couldn't find a replacement ring and pinion for the spindly Buick rear so we swapped a 9" Ford in the rear. Other than these changes the car is very original and unmolested (if a hybrid could ever be considered molested ;) ).
    The car was finished in time to be shown at the Concourso Italiano at Monterey last year. Although Kickstarter and Drewligula threw my name out as the restorer both of those guys and my father had hundreds of hours and gallons of sweat in making sure we met the deadline for the show. It wouldn't have happened without them! Thanks guys!
  14. wooleybooger
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    wooleybooger Member

    I just read through this thread again and wanted to add that Milt Brown's friend Ron Plescia originally penned the lines on the Apollo, Scagilone "cleaned up" the design for Intermechanica.:)
  15. lolife
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    lolife Member

    Are the windows common to any other car? Just curious, thanks!

    Looks really nice!
  16. Stevie G
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    Stevie G Member

    Hey there Rob,
    Thanks for the info and welcome to the board.
  17. blacufo
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    blacufo Member

    just curious, any idea what these are worth?
  18. Mike
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    Mike Member

    Stylish machine.
  19. Interesting car ... a nice blend of Italian coachworks and American horsepower!

    Made me think of the 1960's Iso Bizzarini 5300GT's (Stradas, Berlinettas , etc.) ... which ran solid lifter 327 Corvette engines ... coupled to a Muncie four-speed!
  20. Shifty Shifterton
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    Shifty Shifterton Member

    Neat car.... ferrari up front, jaguar in back.

    Is this the first time Apollo and Buick cross paths, or does the link between those names run deeper?

    Thanks for the lesson Rob, extremely interesting.
  21. fab32
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    fab32
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very nice looking car. I'm surprised I never heard about this (may have and just forgot). Just goes to show that there were others besides
    Shelby with similar ideas. His was just the most sucessful.

    Frank
  22. Cyclone Kevin
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    Cyclone Kevin Alliance Vendor

    I am glad to see this style of Hybrid Hot Rod in here! Wow! Thanx Ryan for allowing such variety. To me this era was a great time to be involved in cars (was there ever a bad one till the 70's?)
    Factory built custom coachwork Hot Rods! Almost like back in the days of the Duesy-Stutz and Don Lee-Harley Earl styled Hot Rod Cads! Lets see more of this stuff on here!!!!
  23. pimpin paint
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    pimpin paint Member

    Hey,

    The "Story" I was led to beleve was that Franco Scagilone was some
    what apprehensive about this design, and its close similarity to the
    than extant Ferrari designs he had rendered for on Enzo Ferrari.
    Scagilone was said to have sought Enzo's "thumbs-up" on the design
    prior to release.

    Any Idea on how the Apollo's metal panels were formed by Inter-
    mechanica, e-wheel, power hammer, press formed or hand beaten?

    Swankey Devils C.C.
  24. BigJim394
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    BigJim394 Member

    Good history of the marque here:
    http://www.intermeccanica.org/

    There was a good article about the intermeccanica cars in one of the old Automobile Quarterly Books where they praised the engineering and build quality. I believe they said that the Company made little money on the cars, estimating a retail price before production got into full swing that sometimes did not meet material costs and labor.
  25. 4t64rd
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    4t64rd Member

  26. 54BOMB
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    54BOMB Member

    Thanks for the history lesson, cool stuff for sure.
  27. Flat Ernie
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    Flat Ernie Tech Editor

  28. hambnbeans
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    hambnbeans BANNED

    Appollos are Buicks. I like them though.
  29. Steve 38
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    Steve 38 Member

    The '60s were a great time for cottage industry type Anglo-American sports and GT cars. But most of them were British or European companies building cars with American engines. It was much cheaper for them this way. Here are some more. Gordon-Keeble, Iso Grifo, and one of my all time favourite cars, Iso Rivolta GT (the maroon one). All were small block Chevy powered. The G-K was British, and the Iso's are Italian. There were others around at the time too, TVR, Bizzarrini etc. Almost all of them went bust though................

    Attached Files:

  30. wooleybooger
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    wooleybooger Member

    Lolife- the side glass is flat, the windshield and back glass are specific to this car. The windshields are supposed to be available from Re-Originals in Texas, the back glass is made out of unobtainium.:D

    Pimpin paint - the metal work is interesting. Northrup has been to Italy to gather information for his book and he told me a wild story. He said that Intermechanica sublet the actual body construction to a group of gypsy- like wino's who did contract work for several manufacturers. He said that they used a collapsible jig that went inside the car and fit the body panels around it. The young apprentices roughed the panels out with a mallet on a tree stump and the journeymen smoothed the panels and fit them up. The fitted panels were then sent to another facility for final fitment and welding. I have to say that those guys did a pretty good job in most respects. However nothing from the chassis to the body is square, plumb, or symmetrical. When I brought this to my customers attention he just laughed and said "Ferrari GTO's are the same way and they cost 10 million!"

    Blacufo - I have no clue what it might be worth. I don't know of race history for any of these cars so there is no value there. There were so few built that they don't have a big following and popularity sets price more than rarity. One was advertised last year in Hemming's for around 80K but I don't know if it sold.

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