Apollo (1962 automobile)
Apollo 5000 GT Coupe
The Apollo GT was a sports car produced in Italy, which combined European design with large American series technology, was sold in the 1960s, primarily in the U.S. market. The vehicles were subsequently sold under a number of different names, but, in addition, substantial changes would have been made. The Apollo GT was the forerunner of the successful in Europe Intermeccanica Italia.
The development of the Apollo
The initiative for the project goes back to the American engineer and designer Milt Brown, who employed since the late 1950s with the idea to construct an own sports car. The idea was implemented, after Brown had contacted the system operated by Frank Reisner Intermeccanica company in Turin, Italy, which was commissioned with the production of car bodies.
1960 Brown initially designed a simple ladder frame, which was provided with the drive system of the Buick recently presented Special. The modern -designed, highly acclaimed Special delivered the rear axle, the suspension and especially the engine: a compact, 3.5 -liter eight-cylinder, which was with a weight of only 160 kg significantly lighter than any other American engines and is therefore advantageous to the handling of the sports car impact. More technical components also came from General Motors: The steering was about the Chevrolet Corvette on loan, and the brakes gave the Chevrolet Corvair. Other companies that took over the project in later years should make some changes to the drive technology.
The design of the Apollo was developed essentially by Ron Plesca, a friend of Brown's. Plesca was inspired by different European sports cars, including the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder and the Jaguar E -Type. Plesca designed a fastback coupe with a long hood and a fully clad B-pillar; behind the doors so the car had no side windows. According to this draft at least one prototype was built. Plescas draft was revised in late 1962 by Franco Scaglione, who changed the grille and rear side windows added. Soon after, the roof line has been changed; the coupe received a just -cut notchback. This version ultimately passed into a larger -scale production. In addition to the coupe was created in 1963 and a second- seater convertible, which had been designed by Franco Scaglione.
The production process was divided spatially. The bodies were first produced at Intermeccanica in Turin. The bodies were then transported by ship to America, where they were provided with the technical components.
The Apollo was a draft, which was sold from 1962 to 1968 by different companies with different names. After the first batch of Milt Brown had failed, a number of other American manufacturers tried in the project. The only constant was the Italian bodywork supplier Intermeccanica, which in recent years was with some probability in any case the driving force behind the project. After representation in American literature, it was Intermeccanica owner Frank Reisner, who was always looking out for new companies that could complement and distribute its bodies in America. After several attempts had failed, Intermeccanica took over the manufacture and distribution ultimately itself
Beginning in the fall of 1962, marketed Milt Brown be Coupé and Cabriolet his first through his own company. The operation was called International Motor Cars Inc. and had its headquarters in Oakland, California. Here, the products supplied by Intermeccanica bodies were also completed. After each source was involved in the project at this stage Jack Griffith, who was trying in 1966 to bring the car under his own responsibility as Griffith G on the market. The sales were good, but in 1964 the company got economic problems. Milt Brown, this led later to a lack of funding back, due to which he could not meet the high demand. After Brown's presentation he gave in 1964 at Intermeccanica the production of up to 15 bodies per month in order, but did not have sufficient capital to fund the production costs in advance.
In the spring of 1965 Brown tried to maintain operation through new business partners. This he found in the Texan company Vanguard, which was providing enough money for 15 already ordered vehicles could be completed. These cars were sold as Vetta Ventura. Shortly thereafter, Vanguard fell into bankruptcy. Thus Milt Brown Project Apollo was initially an end.
Under the name Vetta Ventura a handful of Apollos was sold that had been prepared by the introduction of the Vanguard Motors Corporation. The bodies were built up further in Intermeccania, the completion of the car was made, however, in Dallas (Texas ). About the scale of production, there are different information. It is certain that the Vetta Ventura was in any case in 1965 produced and sold; Other sources speak of a sale from 1964 to 1966. The information on production numbers vary by source; but in any case they remain in the very low double- digit range.
After the end of the Vetta Ventura the rights to the car, Robert Stevens, a California lawyer, were sold, the continued production of the car with a newly formed company called Apollo International in Pasadena, California. Here are just individual vehicles emerged; a source speaks of five.
1966 took over Griffith Motors from Plainview, New York, the production rights to the Apollo GT. The company originally provided some British TVR models with American engines and had to after TVR had adjusted the supply of bodies, look for an alternative. Griffith Motors used deviating from Milt Brown's original conception eight-cylinder Plymouth. The prototype was given a 6.4 liter ( 383 cui ) great engine; production cars were, however, of a derived from the Plymouth Barracuda engine with 4.6 liters (273 cui ) driven displacement, which delivered 235 hp SAE. The engine was connected to a standard Torque -Flite automatic transmission; An optional five-speed manual transmission was available. The unit is called Griffith GT car was offered in the summer of 1966 for $ 6,095; so that it was almost $ 1000 cheaper than the Vetta Ventura. The Griffith GT was produced only in single copies. Jack Griffith, owner of Griffith Motors, had built a new plant for the GT, but was advised by the investment in this economic distress and the project had to give up early.
After Griffith Motors had not succeeded in the course of 1966 to launch series production of Brown's sports car, the resident Manhassat, New York company Suspensions International took over the production rights. Suspensions International moved the body shells continue by Intermeccanica, leaving the completion of the car but in the workshops of the race teams Holman & Moody in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visually and technically, there were few changes; However, now a 4.7 -liter eight-cylinder Ford was used. The car was named Omega GT and was offered for $ 8900, which he was nearly twice as expensive as a Chevrolet Corvette. Production of the Omega GT was maintained until 1968.
In the second half of 1968 closed the commitment of suspension International. From this point on Intermeccanica in Turin led the entire production of the vehicle on his own responsibility. The cars were sold until 1970 under the name Intermeccanica Italia Torino respectively.
The production data
The production figures for the different versions of the Apollo varied depending on the source. The following table assumes the data that the Intermeccanica Enthusiasts Club calls for each model:
- Richard M. Langworth: Encyclopedia of American Cars 1930-1980, New York, 1984, ISBN 0-517-42462-2
- Bella Italia: Driving report Intermeccanica Italia, in: Motor Klassik 7/1998, pp. 36