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1963 Apollo 3500 GT

1963 Apollo 3500 GT in The Love Bug, Movie, 1968 IMDB

Class: Cars, Coupé — Model origin: IT — Built in: US

1963 Apollo 3500 GT

[*][*][*][*] Vehicle used a lot by a main character or for a long time

Owner of this vehicle: eddog

Comments about this vehicle



2004-10-11 16:58


Il s'agit d'une Apollo 3500 GT, une voiture italienne avec un V8 américain.

pilou BE

2005-11-14 14:28


I agree with Flavienb , an Apollo 3,5 litre GT Coupe of 1963 or 1964.These small-production sports cars were manufactured in Pasadena , California , the aluminium bodies being made in Italy. They used Buick engines , mostly the light 3,5 liter V8 of 155 hp of the Special ( also used in the 3,5 l Rovers) or the 5,0 liter V8 of the big Buicks.

jarvite FI

2006-01-17 09:27


Thanks for the information. It had wondered me about 30 years...


2006-10-01 16:48


That's the Thorndyke Special

datsunZ IT

2007-01-18 20:09


The car was gifted of a Buick V8 unit as standard form and was developed by Intermeccanica of Turin exclusively for US-market(in Italy that car wasn't marketed never);but the car don't bears the Intermeccanica Brand,and was named only Apollo 3500 GT(a 1965 added model had a 5-lt.V8,so was named 5000 GT);was styled by Franco Scaglione for Bertone
of Turin.

PS The adventure of Intermeccanica ends in early Seventies'(after the 1967 Italia GT and 1971 Indra GT),but Firm's name was resumed later by a US-short-lived Firm,set up in California State,that made replicas of Fifties'Porsche 356 Speedsters,named as Intermeccanica Speedster

PS 2 Incidentally,Buick name a own car in 1973 just Apollo(reminiscences of Sixties'American-Italian GT adventure,'cause they had supplied the engines???)

-- Last edit: 2007-01-18 20:17:20

eddog CA

2008-06-08 16:30


The 'Thorndyke Special' is alive and under restoration in Toronto Canada.My car is one of two Apollo GTs prepared by Max Balchowsky of 'ol Yellar' fame for Disney for the filming of 'The Love Bug' in 1968. It was severely damaged during the filming of numerous crash scenes and then sold after completion of the movie.To my knowledge the car has not been roadworthy since 1968.
The body is undergoing major panel restoration currently and the 'Thorndyke Special' should be back in action sometime in 2009.

jwvandalen84 NL

2008-12-03 11:39


Dear eddog,

Nice to read! I was always fascinated about that car, i'm glad it is in good hands now. Where is the other car? Do you know how many cars where used during the film in total? Do you have any pictures of the restauration, hope to hera from you!

eddog CA

2008-12-20 07:12


My Apollo Gt is one of two cars used in the filming of the'Love Bug'. We believe that the other car was cut up to film some of the interior shots in the movie. There are pictures at the end of the DVD version which seem to show the other Apollo with it's left front fender and windshield post and doorframe cut away, leaving my car as the only surviving 'Thorndyke Special'

Daves356 US

2009-01-29 22:34


As I remember it, these cars were assembled in Oakland California not Pasadena

Richard Davies EN

2009-02-06 21:28


I also wondered what this was, it always reminded me of what you might get if you put an Jaguar E-type & a Porsche 911 in a teleporter at the same time.

naparsei US

2009-12-31 00:11


How's the resto coming? Any chance you could PM me the Serial Number for your car? I know the guy who has the original build sheets, and can get that info for you if you don't have it - he's the guy I bought my Apollo from. It's not Milt, fwiw. I'd love to see pictures of your car. The Max Balchowsky connection is probably cooler than the Disney/Love Bug connection.

@ Dave356: First run of cars were built in Oakland, co went bankrupt, some were built in Pasadena, more financial troubles, last lot built in Texas (as Vetta Venturas). Between TX and Pasadena, some bodies/chassis floated around and were assembled in a variety of different fashions.

[edit] I guess there is no PM. My email is motola 'at' alumni dot haas dot org.

-- Last edit: 2009-12-31 00:13:30

eddog CA

2010-01-05 04:33


Thanks for the interest in the 'Thorndyke Special'. Restoration of the body is moving along nicely now after being put on hold for about nine months. Other projects had to be finished before I could resume work on the Apollo. This is a major project requiring much research and a lot of fabrication and a number of rare parts.
I'm hoping to have the car done sometime in 2011, if all goes well.

naparsei US

2010-01-07 14:50


@ eddog: feel free to contact me at the address above. I can get you in touch with the correct people who can help with parts, what's original, etc. The original builder is still around and working on cars. There's been a lot of research done on the cars. In terms of parts, many were pulled from Buicks, Alfas, Ferraris, etc. It helps to know which part was from which car. The grills can be made. There is a guy that makes perfect repro seats. The owners got togther a couple of years ago and had a run of windshields made - a few extras are still around. I would love to learn about your car; especially the serial number.

chicomarx BE

2010-01-16 19:24


[Image: herbie43b.jpg] [Image: herbie50b.jpg] [Image: herbie83b.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2010-01-26 06:17:31

jmonson US

2010-05-08 07:40



What color was your car when they used it for the movie? Did they paint it yellow or was it already that color?


2010-06-30 21:03


It's interesting, These cars had Buick 215 V8s with I think single 4 barrel carbs in them, Yet when Jim Douglas (Dean Jones)looks at this car, He describes the engine as being "Over 400 Cubes" (Cubic Inches) and having "Dual Quads" (2 4 barrel Carburetors) as well as an "All synchro box" which I think it did have.


2011-04-19 22:08


Apollo was later taken over by MG-Bristol,right?

ingo DE

2011-04-19 22:28


hazzard wrote Apollo was later taken over by MG-Bristol,right?

Bristol had been always independent http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Cars ...until the insolvency last month.

Dazu etwas von der Auto BILD Klassik: Link to "www.autobild.de"

dsl SX

2011-04-19 22:39


Apollo became Intermeccanica - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermeccanica . No connection with Bristol (apart from the similarity that both built cars with US V8 engines). I don't know of any links between MG and Bristol either.

Ode US

2011-04-30 22:49


Another movie appearance by an Apollo GT is the made-for-TV flick "Drive Hard, Drive Fast", with Joan Collins. It features lots of footage of a Bizzarini 5300 GT Strada (Collins' car) being pursued by Henry Silva in the Apollo GT. Here's a bit of a synopsis: http://tinyurl.com/3eq78p7 After searching and waiting for maybe 25 years, I finally found a pretty good copy of this movie on DVD through the "iOffer" Internet auction site.

train68 US

2017-09-22 17:04


This car has the same horn sound as Cruella De Vil's car.

tore-40 NO

2017-09-23 09:19


^ Not so strange at all, as RCA Sound Recording still would have their bank of sound effects to add in the (sound) studio

-- Last edit: 2017-09-23 09:20:17


2018-10-10 22:04



If you still have the Apollo 3500 GT that was in the Love Bug, I'd love to find a way to contact you. I work for Hagerty Insurance and we're trying to assemble an exhibit of cars from the movie. --Jonathan

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