Now you can have your very own Thorndyke Special

Photography Courtesy RM Sotheby's

Jim Douglas fell for the Thorndyke Special at first glance: “Over 400 cubes, dual quads, all-synchro box, zero to 60 under 5.”

Maybe here’s your chance to finally own it.

A 1963 Apollo 3000 GT Coupe, the Italian-bodied American special that stood in for the Thorndyke Special as Herbie’s nemesis in “The Love Bug,” will cross the block during RM Sotheby’s upcoming Scottsdale sale. Estimate is $150,000 to $200,00.

From the catalog:

This 1963 Apollo 3500 GT, chassis number 1004, is just the second example built and is believed to have been sold new by Phil Hill Buick of Hollywood, California. Finished in a handsome dark red exterior over sumptuous black upholstery, 1004 wears a nicely kept older restoration which adds much to its vintage allure. It correctly maintains an aluminum hood, doors, and trunk—a feature reportedly exclusive to the earliest GT examples.

The car rides on gorgeous, polished Borrani wheels wrapped in period-correct Michelin X radial tires. It is correctly powered by an all-aluminum Buick 3.5-liter V-8 engine mated to a four-speed manual gearbox and is very well presented under the hood. The consignor notes that the engine is numbers-matching to the unit listed on the car’s chassis tag.

A remarkably comfortable cabin—with room for two and generous luggage capacity— remains faithful to the original, with door cards, interior panels, and headlining upholstered in the factory-correct heavy-grain vinyl. The dashboard and seats are trimmed in black leather, while the cabin floors are covered with Wilton carpet. The Jaeger tachometer and speedometer are ideally situated ahead of the driver, while auxiliary dials are arranged neatly in the center of the dash, giving it a classic layout. Since entering the consignor’s noted collection of Apollo GTs, 1004 has been regularly exercised and carefully stored.

Lauded in-period by Automobile Quarterly, major collectors have recently taken an increasing interest in this fascinating mid-century hybrid, with an Apollo 3500 GT Spyder having just claimed first place in the Postwar Touring Open (O-2) class at the prestigious 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Though the Apollo company was a failure, the Apollo car was a resounding success. This 3500 GT is an outstanding grand tourer, one absolutely worthy of taking on its thoroughbred contemporaries from Europe.

Click here to learn more about this 1963 Apollo 3000 GT Coupe for sale.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/23/23 12:24 p.m.

Color me totally smitten with this one.

I even like the color. 

Now you can have your very own Thorndyke Special details

Price upon request

Dark red

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