Arizona | Lot 126
1963 Apollo 3500 GT
$125,000 - $165,000 USD | Offered Without Reserve
€110,000 - €145,000 EUR
£90,000 - £120,000 GBP
| Phoenix, Arizona
27 January 2022
- 12% of the hammer price up to and including $250,000
- 10% of the hammer price in excess of $250,000
- The fifth of 41 examples built by International Motor Cars, the original Apollo manufacturing concern
- The first of four examples known to be factory-equipped with an automatic transmission
- Believed to retain original Buick aluminum V-8 engine; beautifully restored in the early 2010s
- Class winner at the 2012 Dana Point Concours d’Elegance; exhibited at the 2011 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, 2013 Concorso Italiano, and 2014 Arizona Concours d’Elegance
- Subject of feature article in Automobile magazine; documented with prior registrations and titles, owner correspondence, restoration invoices, and marque literature
The 1961 introduction of the new Buick Special, and its lightweight aluminum 215-cubic-inch V-8, paved the way for California engineer Milt Brown to realize a longtime dream: to build a European-style GT car. The resulting Apollo 3500 GT was unveiled in late 1962, bearing many of the hallmarks of contemporaneous competitors like the Jaguar E-Type, Corvette Sting Ray, and the Ferrari 250 GT 2+2.
The fledgling Carrozzeria Intermeccanica hand-built steel coachwork to a design by Art Center graduate Ron Plescia, which was mildly reworked by the renowned Franco Scaglione (best known for designing the Alfa Romeo BAT cars). Trimmed with luxurious leather interiors, the frame-mounted bodies were then shipped back to Brown’s Oakland-based International Motor Cars for installation of the drivetrain, including the V-8 and numerous other running gear elements from the Buick. The automotive press was delighted with the Apollo’s nimble handling, powerful acceleration, and Italian styling. As the driver/journalist Denise McCluggage wrote in her review for Science and Mechanics, the Apollo “handles as well or better than a 2+2 Ferrari, an Aston DB4, and a Sting Ray Corvette.”
According to the records of the Apollo Owners Registry, chassis number 1005 is the fifth of 41 examples built by International Motor Cars before the company shuttered in the face of financial difficulties. The Apollo is also the first of four examples known to originally be equipped with a Buick two-speed automatic transmission.
By the early 1970s the 3500 GT was acquired by Mrs. Regi Woods of Sausalito, California, whose husband Jack owned Apollo chassis number 1016. Mrs. Woods retained possession for many years until May 2009, when her son sold the car to the late Bud Bourassa, a respected collector residing in Scottsdale, Arizona; he soon commenced a full restoration. Among numerous other measures, the engine was rebuilt with Offenhauser valve covers, the coachwork was refinished, the interior was re-trimmed, and the brightwork was re-plated. On the strength of the painstaking refurbishment, the Apollo was awarded first in class at the 2011 Dana Point Concours d’Elegance. The car was also presented at the 2011 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, the 2013 Concorso Italiano, and the 2014 Phoenix Concours d’Elegance, before being the subject of a feature article in the August 2017 issue of Automobile magazine.
Believed to retain its original factory-equipped Buick engine, and documented with restoration invoices and photos, prior registrations and titles, and owner correspondence, this beautiful Apollo is notable for its early production status and the unusual automatic transmission. The rare 3500 GT would make a sensational acquisition for any enthusiast of Italian-American hybrids, as one of the most striking grand touring cars of its era.