Clean Nova Clone: ’73 Buick Apollo

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Although the members of GM’s X-platform aren’t particularly exciting, it is rare to find the other variants besides the Nova that shared common components with different names. The Apollo didn’t stir up the recipe too much, but they do stand out for being rarely seen today. Although the example here on craigslist lacks the rare GSX package, it remains in survivor-grade condition and fitted with the optional 350 V8.

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The interior is as basic as it gets, but the tan cloth seats and carpeting remain impressively clean. The paint appears original based solely on the even layers of age evident in the photos, but it’s reassuring to see the door jambs painted the same color. Apollos could be optioned with the 350 automatic transmission, which this example has, but the accessories list was fairly sparse.

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The 350 was available in either a 2- or 4-barrel configuration, and this example has only 61,000 original miles. That explains the clean condition outside, but it’s also good to see the original air cleaner and engine stickers still present. It has received a new master cylinder and rear brakes under the current owner’s care, but not much else is mentioned in the way of maintenance. Still, an engine that looks that clean may not have needed much work.

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One neat feature of the Apollo is the lack of a radio antenna, as it was a pioneer in the movement to layer aerials into the glass. Given this example doesn’t wear the optional sport mirrors or have the center storage console, it’s about as plain-jane as you can get. However, you tend to see its Nova twin with far higher frequency, so if you’re looking to drive a preserved X-body that stands out from the crowd, an Apollo could be the way to go. Which one of the X-body twins would you choose?

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Comments

  1. Jay M

    Well,
    I would be very tempted to slip a 455 in there…

  2. Mike

    69 Grand Prix was the first to embed the antenna in the windshield. My 70 Acadian SS (Canadian sister to the Nova) had it, as well as the 72 Nova SS I have now. The 68-72 X-body’s are my lifetime favourites.
    The 1973 requirement for bumpers to absorb a 5mph impact was the reason for cars to either have prominent bumpers as seen on GM products like this one, or big blocks of rubber masquerading as bumperettes on the Chryslers. Never liked them from the day they came out like that.
    But that being said the Apollo, Omega, Ventura and Acadian are seldom seen compared to their Chevy Nova counterpart which can make them sought after models, regardless of year or model.

  3. Dusty Stalz

    Ok I’m diggin this car. It would get a nice warm 350, th350 with a shift kit and good brakes if I had it. Nothing else would change. It looks so unassuming and would shake em up at the light.

  4. Dusty Stalz

    Ok I’m diggin this car. It would get a nice warm 350, th350 with a shift kit and good brakes if I had it. Nothing else would change. It looks so unassuming and would shake em up at the light. I really like it’s unaggresive and pleasant front end.

  5. JW

    This car would be a great daily driver that could also be a cruise night fun car. Nice find.

  6. Howard A Member

    To call this a Nova “clone” isn’t really accurate. More like the epitome of badge engineering. I think these cars only solidly proved, some people could be bamboozled into thinking, “oh no, this is a Buick, not a Chevy”. ( and probably paid extra for that name) Great example of this style though. My grandfather had a ’72 Nova, same setup, and it was a fun car. Most were hot-rodded,( and driven accordingly) so this is pretty neat to see. Maybe a little steep on the price, but hard to find like this.

  7. Keith K

    N Nova
    O Omega
    V Ventura
    A Apollo

    Not a secret that GM named these same x body cars with initials that spell the word Nova , but does anybody know why ? Accident? Someone just having fun or marketing ploy? They also didn’t seem to mind that the words No and Va in Spanish basically translate to NO GO. It didn’t seem to matter, I understand they sold a butt load of these cars in Spanish speaking countries. Any historians out there know why? Seriously, automobile naming and badging has always been a fascination to me.

  8. Alan

    Buick later changed the name of the 2-door models to Skylark, while the 4-doors were still called Apollos for a while.
    Also, the name of the white color available on the 1970 GSX was Apollo white. GM got their money’s worth out of that name.

  9. leiniedude Member

    I see a blue four door Apollo driving around about every other trip I take to the Village. I smile every time I see it. Still ticking.

  10. ron h

    Still think the ventura was the best looking of the bunch and the apollo was the least appealing. Just my opinion. The nova is still where the money is…

  11. Luke Fitzgerald

    That is a absolute bargain and super dooper clean – someone go get it!

  12. William H

    I had both a ’73 Ventura, in garish big bird yellow, and a ’73 Omega, faded white, as well as a small stable of Novas at different times in high school. It was almost impossible to get people to believe they weren’t made over Nova’s especially when sitting in a group of said Nova’s. People would always ask where i got the “custom” grill. Weren’t a lot of them around back then and certainly less now. Not sure what kind of drive train I’d like to put in there but it wold be fun the leave the rest as is and prowl the streets in this unassuming sleeper.

  13. Joe Haska

    In Spanish Nova translated to English means “No Go” no va

  14. Loco Mikado

    If nothing’s mechanically wrong with it’s current 350/350 setup, why change for change’s sake? Especially if that is all the miles it really has on it. Everybody and their mother’s, brother’s uncle has a SBC 350 in their car. Dare to be different! Clean it up, fix the odds and ends that need to be addressed and drive it.

  15. Robert

    I wonder why there are no pics of the right hand side of the car.

  16. 77Vette

    Is that a Buick 350 or a Chevy 350?

  17. Loco Mikado

    Buick 350, thus my comment in my post.

  18. Jay M

    See? That’s the question you will get again and again….sbc in there?
    A 455 will bolt right up and give you neck snapping torque while the original engine is stashed away for the future.

  19. RoughDiamond

    Nice old unusual Buick. Looks to me like someone did a rattle can paint job on the valve covers.

  20. TC

    These were oft over looked but are now coming into their own because everyone and their half-brother have Camaros, Novas, Chevelles etc… And the market is rediculous for even the junkers. Glad to see it here. Venturas are my favorite though. Pick your poison, I say.

  21. Doug Towsley

    Make an awesome sleeper car. Wear a grey wig and a shawl and big sunglasses and you might take a few at the lights. I had a 72 Rally Nova back in the late 70s thru 1994. Great car, Miss it. I picked up a Apollo back in late 90s off the thrifty nickel paper Cheap and had multiple offers over the weekend to resell. I had planned to do more work and eventually resell but I was given offers I couldnt refuse.
    There is a market for these and this one looks like a cream puff

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