So odd, that two cars embodying What Could’ve Been and What Unfortunately Was would bear the same name: Tempest. The 1964 Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO defined the muscle car (despite Jim’s efforts to do otherwise): midsize car with a full-size engine. The success of the utterly conventional, not even that original GTO convinced GM that baby boomers would keep buying sloppy straight-line cars as long as they kept the cool options packages and badging, regardless of actual performance.
Alas, just a few years prior the Tempest was part of a grand experiment at The General: ground-breaking engineering that evolved beyond eight cylinders, three automatic gears, leaf springs and solid axles. The Y- and Z-body “Senior Compacts” from Chevy, Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile all touted interesting technology. The Corvair had a rear-mounted air-cooled engine with optional turbocharging. Buick and Oldsmobile had the aluminum 215ci V8 with optional turbocharger and methanol injection. Pontiac offered a high performance 194ci 4-cylinder cleaved from half a 389ci V8.
All four The Tempest and Corvair shared a rear-mounted transaxle with independent swing-arm suspension and the Temptest used a flexible mid-shaft and torque tube that curved down to give a flatter floor.
This ancient article from Paul Niedermeyer at The Truth About Cars elaborates so I don’t have to. I share Paul’s opinion that it’s a bit of a tragedy GM decided to abandon this line of technology completely as a result of some teething issues, given where it could’ve led.
Anyway, today’s example is a red-on-white 4-cylinder, 4-speed example that looks damn nice. The seller offers almost no information (hence the digressive diatribe), and it’s in Wisconsin with modern California plates. The $9,500 asking price is high by our cheap-ass standards, but not out of line for a nicely configured example of a rare car. Were I building a car collection, I’d definitely be on the lookout for a Y-body like this to include.
1962 Pontiac Tempest for sale – eBay Motors