33k Mile Survivor: 1973 Buick Apollo

Buick officially claimed that the Apollo derived its name from the Greek god, but given the success of the Apollo space program, the company could have done worse than to make the most out of America’s recent technological triumphs. However, it was a nameplate that disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived, so I have to thank Barn Finder Gransedan for spotting this one for us. The Apollo is located in Bozeman, Montana, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner of the Apollo has set the price at $15,500 OBO.

While the Apollo was available in three different body styles, this example is the very practical 2-door hatchback version. In 1973, only 9,868 hatchbacks rolled off the production line, which represents a tiny percentage of the total of 821,165 cars that Buick produced in that year. This Apollo is finished in Apollo Red (surprise!) with a black vinyl top. Both the paint and top are said to be original, and if this is accurate, then they have survived remarkably well. The Rally wheels set off nicely against this color combination, while the trim and chrome all appear to be in first-class condition. The only non-original part on the car’s exterior is the rear bumper, and this was replaced because it had a slight ding in it. Otherwise, the Apollo appears to be spotlessly clean, and free of any obvious rust issues.

The spotless and original presentation continues inside the Buick, but I have found a couple of minor faults. The rear carpet is showing some fading, but it isn’t too bad. I’ve also noticed a few rub marks and scuffs on the glove compartment door, and the condition of the door is nowhere near as good as the rest of the interior trim. The rest of the interior is basically in as-new condition and remains completely original. The Apollo is fitted with air conditioning, but this isn’t blowing as ice-cold as it should, so a re-gas would seem to be indicated there.

Opening the hood of the Apollo reveals a 350ci V8 engine, a Hydramatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The owner states that this car has only accrued 33,500 original miles during its lifetime, so hopefully, he has some documentation to verify this. That 350 produces 150hp, which actually wasn’t too bad at that point in American automotive history. Performance is reasonable in an Apollo but isn’t earth-shattering. The originality of this car is pretty amazing. The original tires were only recently replaced, as they were quite dry and cracked. The automatic transmission and carburetor were both rebuilt in 2018, while the heater core was replaced in 1999. Otherwise, the only things that have been replaced are the consumables that you would expect to be replaced as part of normal servicing. We’re talking about items such as plugs, plug wires, filters, and points. While he doesn’t specifically mention the fact, the indications are that this Apollo is a car that should run and drive extremely well.

There really is no disputing the fact that this 1973 Buick Apollo Hatchback is in nice condition, and looks like the sort of car that should provide decent, reliable motoring for years to come. The Apollo is another one of those cars from the 1970s that was viewed as a disposable item. As a result, many of them ended their days in junkyards and crushers. Finding a nice one today is getting more difficult, especially a Hatchback. While it might not be everybody’s idea of a classic, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone slapped down the cash for this clean survivor.

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    There is a great series of articles concerning a guy who bought an Apollo to rebuild, as it was his first car: https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2016/01/15/project-apollo-part-i-finding-my-vintage-buick/
    This is a very nice hatchback version, which some claimed to have a lot of problems w/ watersealing and rattles. A well executed “halo” vinyl roof sets this one off, as well! GLWTS :-)

    Like 4
  2. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I actually owned one of these in 1983. Brown with beige vinyl top and beige interior. Bought it for $200 from the Buick dealership I was working at. Not sure what engine it had, all I remember was after stopping at a red light putting my foot on the gas to go I usually burned the rear tires all the way across the intersection. She had get up and go!
    She got rear ended. Sold her for $400. Saw the new owner driving her around town…… Smashed up rear end and all.

    Like 3
  3. Superdessucke

    They got 44 years out of an original set of tires. Holy cow! I I’m glad they replaced them. I would hate to do a Paul Walker in a Buick Apollo that’s for sure.

  4. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    An upgraded Nova, these fine cars were offered as a lower cost Buick but priced higher than their Chevy counterpart. It will make someone a great collector car.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  5. Scott Huntington

    What a beautiful car! I love the Novas and their corporate cousins, the Oldsmobile Omega, Pontiac Ventura/Phoenix, and the Buick Apollo/Skylark. The Apollo is by far the rarest; to say nothing of Chevy Nova production, even the Oldsmobile Omega and Pontiac Ventura both far exceeded Apollo’ s production numbers. The hatchback body style makes it especially rare.

    Not being highly sought after, even the best of these cars are not worth much on the collectors’ market. But the rarity of this one, combined with its status as a well-preserved, low-mileage survivor, makes it, in my opinion, worth every penny of the seller’s asking price.

    I would buy it, and proudly drive it as a fair-weather pleasure cruiser.

    Like 2
  6. Scott Huntington

    What a beautiful car! I love the Novas and their corporate cousins, the Oldsmobile Omega, Pontiac Ventura/Phoenix, and the Buick Apollo/Skylark. The Apollo is by far the rarest; to say nothing of Chevy Nova production, even the Oldsmobile Omega and Pontiac Ventura both far exceeded Apollo’ s production numbers. The hatchback body style makes it especially rare.

    Not being highly sought after, even the best of these cars are not worth much on the collectors’ market. But the rarity of this one, combined with its status as a well-preserved, low-mileage survivor, makes it, in my opinion, worth every penny of the seller’s asking price.

    I would buy it, and proudly drive it as a fair-weather pleasure cruiser.

  7. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    A very nice original survivor but it seems like a lot of money for only 150hp. I’d rather spend another $4,000(or less if the seller would accept a lower offer) for the really clean 1969 Buick Gran Sport California with 280hp. I’m sure the Apollo is probably the lesser seen of the two, so maybe it will appeal to some as the more rare example.

    Both are really nice cars in excellent original condition but to me, the Apollo is priced pretty high.

    • Maynard Reed Jr

      You don’t see to many appolos anymore. Nice example here.

      Like 1
  8. Butchb

    I’d be concerned about the amount of rust in the water jackets on this one. Maybe it got a refill on the cooling system upon the heater core replacement in 99 but thats still 20 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if the water pump failed upon any amount of significant drive time. With real rust inside water jackets, you could end up pulling the freeze plugs to get it all out..For that price, I’d want it up on a lift to pull the block drains to see whats inside.

  9. Sunshine

    We had one, bought new in ’73, with the same orange metallic paint, 350 V8, AC, automatic, PS, damnable bench-seat, but with a painted white halo top. Yes, the hatchback cavern rattled. Yes, 70’s GM poor quality build was well represented. It had manual drum brakes, which struggled to brake our boat trailer. My Mother picked it out as her first new car; and we kept it as her hauling vehicle #3 for 14 years. It served us well, with all the quirks. Feed these Buicks water pumps and hoses regularly, and they will get you where you are headed. Handled well and lots of torque for acceleration. Wish it had power disc brakes then; can’t imagine driving without in traffic today.

  10. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Here’s a little trivia you might enjoy…..

    N. Nova
    O. Omega
    V. Ventura
    A. Apollo

    Like 4
  11. Ken

    This car has been for sale forever. I sent in a tip to this car months ago, but it was ignored.

    Like 1
  12. TimM

    I’ve had two novas one Pontiac Ventura but never had the Buick or the Oldsmobile!! My Pontiac was a hatchback and after putting a 400 in it out of a wrecked GTO it became one of my favorite cars!! This one looks in pristine condition and I’m sure it would smoke the tires and be a lot of fun!!!

  13. Don

    fine looking ride for a survivor..I’d keep it as is..that 350 can be upgraded to have more spunk with a 4 barrel carb, a set of headers and a small roller cam.

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