APAL Porsche Spotted on Amelia – Porsche Club’s version of fall colors!
The most unusual car of the most recent Coffee and Porsches at Amelia was the 1962 Apal- Porsche. 60 bhp, 1,582 cc OHV air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with dual Solex downdraft carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear independent suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in. This car was powered by a 356B engine.
A must-have for any collector of Porsches and its many interesting variants, this APAL (Application Polyester Armé de Liège) coupe appears at first glimpse to be a different version of the Porsche 356 Abarth Carrera, but in reality, it is a lightweight fiberglass-bodied coupe built atop a strengthened Volkswagen floorplan, and there is a lot of Porsche underneath.
With a wheelbase a foot longer than that of a Porsche 356 but fitted with only two seats, the APAL GT offered very comfortable accommodation for driver and passenger, plus a great deal of interior luggage space. Their light weight and low center of gravity contributed to excellent handling as well.
While APAL founder Edmond Perry is best known for his dune buggies and replica Speedsters, the Belgian concern turned out about 150 of these attractive little coupes between 1961 and 1965, of which some 30 or so examples were fitted with Porsche 356 engines, transaxles, brakes, wheels, seats, instrumentation, and interior trim. Given that they weighed barely 1,400 pounds, much less than a 356 B coupe, the Porsche-powered APAL GT proved very effective in racing, hillclimbs, and rallies, including the famed Liège-Sofia-Liège contest.
The APAL factory in Liège suffered a major fire in 1969, and the company almost went out of business. However, Pery and his employees rebuilt the factory and went back to building dune buggies, which had proven very popular in Europe.
Ralph Thomas, a local resident of Amelia Island, Florida owns this great example of the Apal-Porsche. At first look I assumed it was a very rare 904. The owner said no, this is 4 inches longer than a 904. This particular version, Apal made 8 only. 7 were Rally cars and one was set up for track events. This is apparently the only one set up for the track. The owner also was one of the locals who set up the sports car races at the Amelia Island Airport back in the mid 60’s.
Thank you Ralph for sharing your very rare Porsche with us. We appreciate you.