During the 1960s, the city of Liège saw the birth of a legendary automobile brand: APAL, an abbreviation which stands for Application Polyester Armé Liège. Although the manufacturer had its ups and downs, its ability to embark on new challenges resulted in some unforgettable successes such as the Buggy or the Formula V, which were, however, ephemeral. As well as these legends, other models remained confidential, not to say commercial failures. We are thinking here in particular of the Horizon and the APAL Francorchamps, but also various creations that were the result of partnerships with other automobile manufacturers.
A true craftsman of the automobile
What created the true identity of APAL was perhaps this passion that never left the designers of the Belgian brand. Indeed, no fewer than 6000 models came out of their workshops during thirty years of activity. The hallmark of these designs is their experimental character.
In fact, APAL took advantage of the spirit of the times, when the chances were there for those adventurous enough to seize them. This was the case of Patrick Van Remoortel, a real businessman dubbed a dreamer, who acquired with great flair the 356B 1600 Super 90 Roadster belonging to the president of the French Porsche Club. On this occasion, he achieved a superb deal, since there are only five similar cars in Belgium, a fact of which the former owner seemed to be unaware.
He discovered APAL after suffering a mishap during a rally. Since his car was no longer satisfactory, he decided to find an alternative and to take a chance on the manufacturer of Liège. The brand is better known in Wallonia than in Flanders, so it was a gamble. Only the Buggy has enjoyed a certain popularity in this part of the country. Patrick Van Remoortel has a certain admiration for the founder of APAL, Edmond Pery, a very creative personality. After teaching panel beating for years, he had fun transforming cars and eventually designing car prototypes himself. His story is told in the book “Apal, le défi Liégeois”, which traces the history of the company.
Equipped with technology from German manufacturer Volkswagen, there was nothing for Apal cars to envy in other legendary models such as those of Porsche. For a long time, Péry managed to make a living and to keep his passion for motorsport alive, thanks to his bathtub factory - until a fire reduced it to ashes in the late sixties. This episode marked the end of his dream and the gradual extinction of the brand in the memory, except that of real aficionados. The rare surviving models should, therefore, remain precious collectable gems.