Gumpert Goes Bankrupt
Gumpert, the German manufacturer whose Apollo supercar once ruled Top Gear‘s Power Lap board, sadly entered the first stages of liquidation last month. The automaker had been struggling since last year and even filed for insolvency last year before an unnamed investor stepped in and floated the company. That investor has since backed out, and Gumpert looks ready to close up shop for good. The news came just a week after another sports car manufacturer, Wiesmann, filed for insolvency.
Gumpert began running into troubles last year due to a planned entry into China didn’t produce the sales needed to move into that market, as Autoblog reports. Low demand likely fueled by the car’s price tag (equivalent to $1.9 million in U.S. dollars) was the culprit, and Gumpert had invested heavily in bringing the Apollo to the Chinese. Sales figures for the car on the whole were miniscule for the handbuilt supercar, with four to five cars per quarter being a projected target, according to founder and managing director Roland Gumpert in an interview last year. Even that modest figure ended up being too much for the boutique manufacturer, as 2013 only saw a pair of Apollos sold, says German news agency OTZ (translated). Two sales and one major repair job were the only work orders for Gumpert this year, and the company was forced to lay off its last employee in July.
One look at the Apollo is all one needs to figure that very little of the high sticker price went into making a good looking car. To put it nicely, the Apollo looks like an ugly mess of a turd. But although the Apollo appears to be a Dumpster on wheels, the exterior design is undoubtedly ruled by function rather than form. It is one of those cars that produces so much downforce that it can theoretically drive upside down, and the twin-turbo Audi V8 produces a stupid 750hp in Apollo S trim. The frame and safety cell only weigh 355lbs, and the fully constructed Apollo tips the scales at just over 1 1/4 tons. The ultra-lightweight construction combined with the honking engine and DTM-like aero work gives the Apollo an enviable performance sheet. 0-60mph flies by in just 3.1 seconds, and the Apollo S powers through all the way to 224mph.
While going quickly is the Apollo’s only real purpose, the car doesn’t forget that real people have to drive it. Sure, like a race car, the wheel has to be removed to enter the car without making an ass out of the driver, and the seats are little more than leather pads attached to the chassis, but the Apollo is reportedly quite usable on the street. It is also more than up to the task of doing track work, as Top Gear found a few years ago.
Everything about the Apollo aside from its horrendous looks make it a fantastic supercar. It is usually likened to literally bare bones, barely legal street cars like the Caparo T1 and Ariel Atom, but with a trunk and sheetmetal protecting occupants from the elements, it is much more practical than either. It is with a heavy heart that we salute Gumpert and the Apollo. Boutique manufacturers are by their very nature limited to how many cars they can produce and sell, and it’s a shame that the Apollo never found an audience substantial enough to sustain it.
All photos courtesy of Gumpert.
Top Gear’s Gumpert Apollo Review