1961→1965 APAL Porsche
For nearly five years, APAL LG manufactured a fiberglass version of Porsche Abarth 356B Carrera GTL in Belgium. For track and rally events, they outfitted the same design with a lighter body and Porsche mechanics for events like the local Liège-Sofia-Liège.
At only 650 kg, the car was considerably lighter than any of its Porsche counterparts.
The APAL LG story began with Edmond Pery, a keen Formula Vee racer who was running with VW engines from importer Roland D' Ieteren. Eventually he started making fiberglass specials based on the VW platform chassis until finally making his own chassis and body in 1961. The new car was named after the process in which it was conceived: Application Polyester armé Liège.
The small coupe was built from a one-piece fiberglass body over a modified VW floorpan. Some of the double-walled sections and the side sills were also filled with with expanding foam.
Over the course of five years APAL built around 150 of these units including 17 pre-production cars. As few as 30 of these were built with Porsche pieces.
Most cars were sold as turn-key road cars with fitted windows, bumpers and interiors. Occasionally they built up lightweight variants with Porsche components for racing. Some of these had four front-mounted driving lights for rally racing.
After suffering a devastating fire 1969, Apal eventually rebuilt and continued with VW Buggies and a wide-body version of the Porsche 356 Speedster in 1981 called the APAL Speedster. They also opened La Maison APAL to revive and tend after vintage cars.
In total only three APAL coupes were sold to the United States. Our feature car was initially sold to Mr. Bendheur in 1962 for racing in Germany and was outfitted with several Porsche components for his use. Like most APAL Porsches, this included a Porsche brakes, engine and gearbox. The entire car weighed only 650 kg.
In recent times, this car, chassis 40172003, was purchased by Porsche collector Neil Alexander in California. He commissioned a very thorough restoration of the car which debuted at the 2012 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion alongside his center-steer Porsche RSK. Details included three pristine sets of Marschall headlights; one set was the very first halogen model offered.
Neil is actively seeking information on his car or the APAL marque at large. You can contribute to this story by contacting us or Neil directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Richard Michael Owen