What Makes this APAL Porsche 1600 So Special?
Over the years, Porsche has produced a number of highly decorated and acclaimed cars, in fact, it’s hard to pin down a winner from the bunch. But this car—a 1600 Coupe—is not one of them, mainly because it wasn’t made by Porsche at all. Rather, this is an APAL-Porsche 1600, produced by Belgian fiberglass manufacturer APAL (Application Polyester Armé de Liège) in 1962, and designed to evoke the impactful lines of the hen’s teeth Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth coupes. Production spanned just five years (’61 to ’65), and in all, about 150 coupes were built. But just because these cars carried a different name doesn’t mean these APAL coupes couldn’t hustle. They surely could. RELATED: Take a Closer Look at the APAL Porsche 1600 Coupe
Founded by Belgian Edmond Pery, APAL is arguably more famous for its production of fiberglass beach buggies and Porsche Speedster replicas, of which around 5,000 and 700 were produced, respectively. But the APAL-Porsche 1600 is the rarer, and more sought after, bird of the bunch.
Of the 150 built, all utilized the chassis and floorpan from the Volkswagen Beetle. However, a scant 30 (this car included) fitted genuine Porsche running gear, including engine, gearbox, brakes, wheels, seats, and dashboard instruments.
Thanks to a longer wheelbase (an extra foot over the 356), a lighter curb weight (approximately 1,400 pounds), and lower center of gravity, these APAL-Porsche coupes proved to be highly capable sports cars. In fact, some APAL coupes even beat more modern Porsches during runnings of the famous Liège-Sofia-Liège rally.
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After production of the APAL coupes had ceased, the Belgian outfit turned its attention to the more popular VW-based beach buggies, until 1969 when a fire at the factory shuttered the whole operation. The factory was eventually rebuilt, and production of limited series cars continued into the early 1990s.
This car—a ’62 APAL 1600 Coupe—will cross the auction block in January at RM Auction’s Arizona sale, and is said to have been originally delivered to an owner in Germany, featuring the large 60 horsepower 1600 Porsche Normal engine underneath the boot lid. It then arrived in the U.S. and has since been sold between a small handful of American Porsche enthusiasts.
According to the listing, the car will sell without a reserve price, and no estimates are provided. However, a similar car—a ’63 APAL 1600 Coupe—sold at a 2012 Bonhams’ Paris auction for just shy of $30,000.
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