• John Marques

The History of Apollo

As part of my ongoing Instagram series #BehindTheLogo where I explored the history behind brands such as Versace, Tom Ford, and Amiri, I now dive into the automotive field: You can find the complete information on my Instagram highlight here. As the first automotive brand featured on #BehindTheLogo, I decided to pick someone who's making waves in the hypercar community and particularly on social media: Apollo Automobil.

I remember first seeing the original sportscars in Monaco, still under the Gumpert brand, and finding its design extremely appealing but now the brand and company completely reinvented itself. Originally Gumper Sportswagenmanufaktu, Apollo Automobil is a German hypercar manufacturer based in Denkendorf founded in 2004 by former Audi Sport's director Roland Gumpert.

Gumpert produced its first design in 2002 with a concept by Marco Vanetta, this design would result in the Apollo model. Production started with two prototypes developed in collaboration with the University of Munich for technical testing and PR.

Despite demand for the Gumpert Apollo and breaking several speed records over the years (Until it was beaten by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport), the company would end up filling for bankruptcy in 2013 after launching 3 variations of the same model in total.

In 2016 the brand gained traction once again when "Ideal Team Venture", the Hong-Kong conglomerate that also owns "Pantera"'s trademarks, bought the brand's intellectual rights.

Gumpert entered a new era, reborn as Apollo.

Apollo Automobil GmbH unveils its first concept a couple of months after the brand acquisition, meaning the concept model was probably in the final stages of development when the acquisition happened.

The concept was named "The Arrow" and its first appearance blew everyone's expectations during its presentation at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show.

The Arrow concept was showcased as a 986HP hypercar with a twin-turbo 4.0 Liter V8 engine capable of reaching 100Kmh in just 2.9s.

Despite the regular skepticism when a newcomer showcases a brand new hypercar in Geneva, Apollo proved them wrong and in 2017 presented the production model based on "The Arrow" at the Goodwood Festival of Speed - the Intensa Emozione.

The IE captured a lot of attention during the festival not only for its extravagant design but also for an incredible driving experience. This was the first time a working vehicle was shown by the brand and the naturally aspirated 6.3L V12 engine was a serious upgrade from its concept stage.

After a world tour with the Apollo Intensa Emozione production officially began in April 2019 with industry-leader HWA AG, the same company behind several Mercedes racing cars and the 90's icon Mercedes CLK GTR.

What do you think it's next for Apollo?

After the successful launch of Apollo as a brand and demand for its IE roars, a series of limited editions should follow such as a Spyder version (Since some of the chassis renders and engine positioning seem able to accommodate this layout) along with track-only configurations and commemorative models.

Since the conglomerate is already pursuing a lower price point with the recently unveiled Pantera P72 which shares the IE chassis for a reported 750,000 USD, the Apollo brand will probably remain as the flagship brand with a price over the 2M USD price-point for the group with a more futuristic design-language and innovation-driven approach. So the next step before a new generation IE can really be a jump into the hyper-SUV category ahead of Bugatti, dictating the rules of a newborn segment.

An alternative or complimentary track can also be an expansion into the lifestyle segment with collaborations or even a brand-extension into high-end fashion, yachting, or luxury hospitality to further cement the brand's prestige positioning.