Not Even Close To The Moon: 1974 Buick Apollo

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It’s 238,900 miles from the Earth to the Moon, and this 1974 Buick Apollo hasn’t even driven one quarter of the way in it’s entire life! This may be a model of car you aren’t familiar with. Despite being named after the space program, it was based on the common Chevrolet Nova platform that was also used for Pontiac and Oldsmobile variants, but the Buick was only produced for three years. This particular one has just been purchased from the original owner’s family and is now located in Key West, Florida. It’s for sale here on eBay where the buy-it-now is $3,900 but lower offers are welcomed.

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Apollos were made from 1973 through 1975, and even though over 112,000 were built I’ll bet there aren’t many left, especially ones that look as nice as this example does. The seller claims there is no rust or body filler in the car, although it almost certainly has been the benefit of a repaint.

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The wire wheel covers are actually from a ’65-’67 Buick Special, but they look nice on this Apollo and I’d leave them alone. I know we’ll have some folks that don’t like the car because it’s a four-door, but I think GM did a nice job on this particular series of blending the almost fastback lines of the two-door with the need for headroom of a four-door. I’m curious: does anyone out there know if the two-tone was a GM offering or if this used to have a vinyl roof?

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Yeah, I’d ditch the floor mats too. But look how clean the carpet, upholstery and dash are! The seller tells us that the left rear window doesn’t roll down (it’s a crank, so it can’t be that difficult to fix) and that the air conditioning doesn’t blow cold. Relatively minor issues, although the air conditioning won’t be inexpensive to get right. Looking at the seats and dash, I can believe the claimed 50,634 miles. You’ll need a stock- appearing radio or blanking plate to get the interior up to snuff. The car has been used as a show car based on the plaque and accompanying documentation, so you should expect it to look nice and it does.

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The seller also mentions that the car’s flywheel cover is missing. I’d love to know the story behind that one; it seems like an odd part to leave off! Under the hood we’re looking at a 350 V8 that should give the car plenty of pep, although it could sure use a cleaning! I think I’d be looking for an original air cleaner as well; the aftermarket one just doesn’t look right to me in such a stock-appearing car. I think this car is a good value for what you are getting, even if it’s not completely original, but a value guide puts this towards the top of retail. Is this a car you could find a home for in your garage? Do you think it’s a good buy? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Rando

    A buddy of mine’s parent’s owned the Nova version and it had dark green metallic on the body and white painted metal top, so I would assume it to be a factory option from my experience. Tough old cars. I like this one. Would drive it proudly.

  2. Vernon Huffington

    Not a bad little car to have. I’d love to take it home!

  3. piper62j

    I bought a new 77 Pontiac Phoenix.. Same body style, but with a v6.. Nothing but hesitation problems from day one.. No one could fix it, so I took it to the GM training school in Dedham, MA and one of the instructors drilled out the metering jets one size larger.. Problem gone! Those guys were amazing..

    This is a nice car, regardless of the mileage and yes, may have had a new paint somewhere along the years..

    Great find.. I like it..

    • RON

      kinda says a lot for the so called “educated engineers of the day doesn’t it. lol millions in r&d and a buck drill bit resolve the proble, bet toyota and volkswagen wish they had thhis guy around in the last coua years!!!lol the v/8 versions f all the gm division cars of that era and the st 6 were really good comfortable dependable cars. they had a very nice upscale 4dr model with buckets console with shift in the floor gary lots of nice othe appts. i cant remember the sries name, i bought a beautiful dark brown metallic with saddle roof and interior bucketsand the 350 with wire wheel covers. was a ver dependable good riding and prform car.

    • krash

      piper62j…..

      I never knew there was a GM training school in Dedham, MA.

      Where exactly?…..Wish my dad had known about it…..had a 72 Nova which he purchased new….(suffered the same hesitation problem for the life of that car)…

  4. Todd Zuercher

    Flex plate cover missing not surprising. Someone may have pulled it to inspect flex plate teeth or perhaps the transmission was pulled at some point. Cheap and easy to replace.

  5. Gary I

    I do not think I have ever seen a four door Apollo. I have Novas and skylarks, but to my knowledge I must have overlooked them or this is a low production vehicle, not sure. In this condition you won’t run across another one nicer. Not the best looking car from the seventies, but it’s different and in great shape.

  6. AMC STEVE

    Now that’s butt ugly

    • Wayne S.K.

      I concur. It takes 9 uglies to make an ooogly, Steve. This thing is nine OOOGLIES!!!

  7. Jason Houston

    Here’s another one of those genuine eBay one-owner cars that’s on its second owner. I thought that color looked suspiciously non-GM, especially on a compact 4-door. Any time a seller says, ‘It might have been repainted,’ you know you’re being handed a Big One.

  8. jim s

    bought new, then inherited, then bought by seller = 3 owners unless seller is a dealer. seller has 3 other interesting vehicles on ebay. this is a great way into the hobby with a car that can be used as a daily driver. great find.

    • Chebby

      Good point, Jim. Also the color is described as both Skittle Red and Mopar Orange, so probably not original, door jambs are pretty scruffy as well.

      Somebody put those fat exhausts on, along with the chrome air cleaner, and writing the car name in the window is something that urban car clubs do. Cars with these custom touches have sometimes clearly been “de-donkified” and put back on regular wheels, so I’d be a little curious about that second first owner and what kind of car shows they were taking it to. But overall this thing looks pretty good and the price is right for a nice driver.

  9. Nova Scotian

    I remember my pal having one of these in high school…butternut yellow. Did a lot of cruising with the chicks in it. The guys all wore black leather jackets, and the girls with their ponytails,..it was such a fun age! One night, a fight broke out after a school dance because one of chicks had become pregnant from another fellow, (in the end there was no pregnancy),and so this was reason enough to fight…After the initial pleasantries of who was fighting who,…the whole group agreed to drive out to meet the rivals in their Honda Civic, at a special meeting place, where no law would be pestering us. And,..we had all been drinking.
    At a quiet dead end road a fight began with the driver of said Apollo. He became seriously hurt, And there was blood aplenty, and it was quickly surmised to go to hospital for stitches…after the fight. But who was going to drive the Apollo? None of the chicks had a license, and everyone else was quite inebriated…except apparently, me…so here I find myself behind the wheel, my buddy in the front seat with his girl, two more make-outs going on in the back seat that had steamed the windows up as the fight was on…and now the panic of getting this guy to the hospital for stitches! I slowly started backing up to turn the old reliable Apollo around. Apparently the fight wasn’t over, and the other guys friends started pelting the poor Apollo with rocks…Smashing windows and paint! What sore losers! The owner wasn’t happy with my slow backing up…and his car was getting a hail of stones rained onto it. I explained I couldn’t see out the back window! I had my door open looking back trying to see the road! Remember, those back up lights?
    We debated parking the Apollo and going out after the sore losers,..but the owner of the Apollo was in pain and exclaims,…”just floor it and get us out of here”!..but I can’t see! …so after some back and forth of arguing, I mashed the pedal and backed the poor Apollo….right out.. over a small cliff! K-SMASH!! Everything just stops. The opponents quickly run off, and a quick look underside has the trans spitting metal bits and fluid…the car is wrecked. It’s not upside down,…just sort of folded in half…and to make matters worse,…latter on after we eventually get to the hospital, dudes parents show up wondering what the hell is going on?…yikes!
    …Well, that was the last of the poor Apollo. We never saw it again. Dude picked up a Mercury after that. But I don’t think any of us will ever forget the good times we all had with that yellow Apollo!… Another one bites the dust!

  10. Mike

    Not sure if it’s just how the picture was taken but that trunk lid looks like it is sticking up a bit in the RR corner, possible sign that she was hit in the rear. Looks like the 2nd or recent owner had “ideas” of making it into a hot rod with that air cleaner and exhaust tips. Wouldn’t be surprised if somebody “lit up” those back tires before since it is a V8. Nice car though.

  11. Galaxie Greg

    Interesting unit….. Look close and you can clearly see that’s a Chevy 350. Saw a few come with equipped with that mill, but I think most had Buick engines. Also be interesting to see under side pictures and view how they must have installed tailpipes, as these ones exit directly under gasoline tank. Having worked in Exhaust shop for 13 years, I remember these Nova/Ventura/Omega/Apollo were fitted with transverse muffler behind rear axle and tailpipes snaked down overtop and beside leaf spring, exiting out just behind rear wheels…. Nice car, well kept, for sure

  12. Charles H.

    N= Nova, O= Omega, V= Ventura, A= Apollo= , Each model name used a letter from the car they shared their platform with! They later changed the name to Skylark for the 1975 model year, but still shared the Nova platform.

  13. taxijohn

    Love the colour scheme, I like 4 doors so that’s not a problem, and i actually think it’s a good looking car. I’d have it,but i’m in the uk. A good classic driver.

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