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Apollo GT is an American attempt at a European sports car

The 1964 Apollo GT was one of those small displacement sports cars that quickly fell into the dark. But this latest episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” offers the full story, with commentary from Kurt Brakhage, the owner of the car shown in the video, and Robb Northrup, author of the book “Apollo” GT: America’s Ferrari.”

Apollo GT is the brainchild of Milton Brown, who, despite being in his 20s, decided to start an automobile company. Initially, an investor suggested that the company build a commuter car, but after touring Italian car factories during his honeymoon, Brown announced that he would build one. America’s Ferrari,” Northup explains in the video. Maybe that’s why the Apollo GT bears such a strong resemblance to Ferrari period.

1964 Apollo GT on Jay Leno .'s Garage

1964 Apollo GT on Jay Leno .’s Garage

Brown combined a 225-horsepower aluminum 215-inch Buick V-8 with a reworked bodywork, giving the Apollo GT European style with easy maintenance of the American powertrain. It is similar to the formula used for the Shelby Cobra and some European-made cars such as Monteverdi highway 375S and Bizzarrini 5300 GT.

Brown, who holds an engineering degree and briefly worked as a draftsman and test driver for racing car manufacturer Emeryson, designed the frame himself. He used some used parts in addition to the engine, including Buick finned drum brakes and a Borg-Warner 4-speed manual transmission.

Agencies were built in Italy through a complex business arrangement. Apollo contracted with Intermeccanica, which subcontracted the work to a vehicle builder, then distributed the work to individual craftsmen.

Two aluminum body prototypes — one two-seater and one 2+2 — were built, followed by 76 coupes and 11 convertibles. Prices start at around $6,500 for the coupe and $7,400 for the convertible. Those were substantial sums of money at the time, but not enough to make the Apollo GT profitable. That, combined with Apollo’s lack of initial funding, meant the company didn’t last long. About 55 cars are said to have survived to this day.

That means you can’t see an Apollo GT on the road today. So it’s definitely worth watching the full video to see this example on the streets of Los Angeles and hear the Buick V-8 show off the Ferrari V-12 at its best.

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