Rare Project Opportunity: 1963 Apollo GT 5000

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The Apollo GT remains one of the most convincing attempts by a startup company to provide a compelling alternative to the grand touring models offered by the likes of Ferrari and Aston Martin in the 1960s. Featuring a stunning design and impressive power from a Buick-sourced V8, the Apollo GT checked all the right boxes as it pertained to parking your money in a relatively unknown manufacturer versus spending considerably more just to have the prancing horse badge on th hood. This Apollo GT is a rare 5000 model which denotes having come with a larger version of the Buick V8. Find it here on craigslist for $25,000 in California’s Antelope Valley.

For fans of the Disney classic “The Love Bug”, you’ll recall that the Apollo plays the role of the “Thorndyke Special”, which is the nemesis to the beloved Herbie, driven by Peter Thorndyke. It’s yet another example of how the producers of that movie sourced some very special road cars for the driving scenes, and one can’t help but wonder if this car was a stunt double in the film given its Los Angeles location. The bodywork appears to be in very good condition and it may have even been previously stripped down in preparation for a restoration that never happened.

Of course, the desert setting it’s located in is also likely helpful in preserving its gorgeous bodywork which was provided by Carrozzeria Intermeccanica. The Apollo was no kit car inside or out, with stunning looks accented by a very high-end cockpit. The visionaries behind the brand wanted to create a compelling alternative to a contemporary Ferrari model, so there was no skimping on the design or the furnishings. Of course, this likely also played a role in the company running out of money and the short-lived business venture is also why it is so hard to find an Apollo GT in any condition today.

The listing mentions this is a rare 5000 model, which reflects that it came with the larger 4.9L Buick mill under the hood. With just 88 models ever built, one could safely assume very few Apollo GT 5000 remain in existence today. The seller provides very few details on what, if anything, is included, simply mentioning that there are parts missing from the shell (what a surprise.) While the Apollo is still a six-figure car when it is done, it is a low six-figure car that is far more accessible than other exotics of the period but just as welcome at the lawn event of your choice. Thanks to Barn Finds reader numskal for the find.

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Beautiful car. Not so beautiful price for what it’s going to cost in parts and labor.

    Like 9
  2. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Fascinating find, and not all that far from where it was initially completed! The Bakersfield/Lancaster area is normally drier than a Mormon wedding and a perfect place to preserve an unusual American/Italian offspring as you can see by the other European exotics/ American classics with which it’s parked. For someone with the mechanical knowledge and financial wherewithal showing up with this at a car meet of any kind would be a head turner, quickly separating the poseurs from the real enthusiast.
    Awesome find, Jeff-we’ll never see the likes of these again with regards to enthusiastic gearheads starting up a company then making something like the Apollo..but who knows.

    Like 7
  3. RayT

    It could be a “low-six-figure” car!

    Once you spend a six-figure sum to get it back together and looking shiny, that is.

    Unless the seller has some large boxes of all the hard-to-find bits that appear to be missing, this will get you under water faster than James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine.

    And that’s a real shame. These are lovely cars, and deserve to kept in condition and on the road.

    Like 10
  4. scott m

    I saw one at Fantasy Junction and remember being surprised at how large it was!

    Like 2
  5. Derek

    It’s a very long bonnet, isn’t it? E-type length for a V-8. Nice thing, though.

    I also note the vented discs and wonder what else lurks beneath…?

    Like 3
  6. Howie

    I see some great cars in the background wasting away in the sun.

    Like 2
  7. TomP

    I emailed the seller a few days before this listing came to Barnfinds, but no reply. I guess he doesnt want my money.

    Like 5
    • Jerry Bramlett

      Some sellers are just jerks.

      He did you a favor by not responding. He’s looking for a fish to scam.

      Like 1
  8. junkmanMember

    I guess they would like you to CALL, that’s why they put a phone # in the ad.

    Like 8
  9. Steveo

    Pretty enough that even if not restored to totally correct it’s still a valuable and desirable car.

    Like 3
  10. JoeNYWF64

    Longest hood ever on a sports car?

    Like 1
  11. gippy

    It was on a different Craigslist ad a few months back and when I asked a few details, I never got any response.

    Like 5
  12. JBD

    Looks like an E type Jag from the side. Carroll Shelby beat them all to the punch with a better, lighter ALL aluminum sports car and a better Ford motor.


    Like 2
  13. PRA4SNW

    With 5 crappy pictures, there will be a lot of questions about this one and apparently, the seller does not want to answer them.

    Like 3
  14. Frank Barrett

    Unusual car, unusual ad. Best way to sell this would be an online auction, certainly not Craig’s List. Probably an unusual seller, too, but Apollos don’t show up every day, so this is an opportunity worth exploring.

    Like 3
  15. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    I have a well-off client I’ve sold vintage cars to over the last 35 years. A couple of years ago he expressed serious interest in finding an apollo GT to restore.

    Not long ago I saw an identical ad in Craigslist, and I made attempts at contact, both by phone and craigslist relay-mail. Left phone message. Never got a reply.

    As someone who has restored cars for decades, the photos suggest the car was placed outside to take photos, showing the progress made in stripping the body. My take on this ad & car is that it’s a fake ad, not uncommon on Craigslist today. No photos of any extra parts, motor/trans, leads me to believe the person placing the ad does not own or possess the car.

    Like 6
  16. George Birth

    The price of $25K leaves a great deal to be desired. Specifically a complete running auto. Not a pile of parts!

    Like 0
  17. 64 Bonneville

    Bill McCloskey, I do believe you hit the nail on the head. bogus ad, con somebody out of money. Even being in the desert, should have surface rust developing, appears this one was just rolled outside after getting stripped. High quality cell phone photos, enhance with photoshop. Could be the reason for no reply from seller. In any event BUYER BEWARE!!!!

    Like 2
  18. Slimm

    Wow it sounds like a very clever scam, where they put up an ad and then do not reply to any inquiries. Brilliant!

    Like 0
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember


      Hopefully that’s because the scammer knows the authorities are on to him, or better yet, he can’t call you back except by collect call from jail!

      Like 0
  19. Howie

    The post has now been deleted.

    Like 1
  20. chrlsful

    appriciate it when members put up pic of completed cars, thnx JBD…
    we need more here, off to look

    Like 1
  21. Don

    Damn , the price seems about right. Did the add specify what the serial number was?
    I’m still working on restoring #1008 , I acquired #1064 as a parts car that was in a feild for 30 yrs. It’s a complete car that got stuffed into a telephone pole.
    Seems that you giluys maybe right that’s it is a scam.

    Like 0

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