The APAL Is Belgium’s Idea Of The Ultimate German Sports Car
Photography courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Already a favored dune buggy and Porsche Speedster replica manufacturer, Belgium-based Application Polyester Armé de Liège, or APAL for short, set out to make its very own road car. In 1961, APAL created a fiberglass body that heavily resembled the Porsche 356b Abarth Carrera. These lightweight shells were then mated to reworked Volkswagen Beetle floorpans that featured a wheelbase a foot longer than that of a 356. Between 1961 and 1965, roughly 150 of these sleek 1600 GT Coupes were produced, of which just some 30 examples received Porsche 356 drivetrains—this specimen being one of them.
For supreme Grand Touring for two, APAL ditched the rear seats for a roomier cabin and extra luggage space. Keeping in line with the Porsche/VW configuration, the rear end houses an air-cooled twin Solex carb-fed 1,582-cc flat-four, hitched to a 4-speed gearbox—the standard 356 setup. The interior features Porsche seats, trim work, instrument dials, and steering wheel. The VW chassis sports 356 transaxles, full independent suspension, wheels, and drum brakes on all four corners, which are said to work exceptionally well thanks to the GT’s lean body. The whole package weighs in at just 1,400 pounds, making the power-to-weight superior to the 356 cars.
After being built, this Porsche-powered APAL found its way to Germany for racing. Vague history then finds the GT in a South Carolinian’s possession before being passed to Porsche zealot Tom Trabue of Tennessee, who acted caretaker for three decades. Finally, the car found its place in a California vintage racing enthusiast’s garage where it underwent the restoration the car currently presents. Upon restoration completion, the APAL made its unveiling at the 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion where it received well-deserved praise.
Made in Belgium with a German heart, this 1600 GT is likely the finest example on the market. Bid, buy, and take it to a Porsche-only meet—they’ll surely not be APAL’d.
– 1 of 150 (1 of approximately 30 in this configuration)
– Beautifully restored by avid Porsche enthusiast
~60 horsepower, 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.
Chassis no.: 40172003
Engine no.: 66106
Gearbox no.: 34248