For over 50 years, General Motors has alternated between blessing and disappointing enthusiasts. Small-block V8s and beefy automatic transmissions? No problem. Small sports cars (that aren’t the Corvette)? Nothing but tears and more tears. The Pontiac Tempest (and its Y-body cousins from Buick and Oldsmobile) brought innovations not seen again until Porsche brought them back in the late-70s.
Specifically, this 1963 Pontiac Tempest sports a 326ci V8 mated to a flexible driveshaft bowed under the car, driving a rear-mounted transaxle that puts power down through independent rear suspension. If the all-iron 326ci Pontiac motor was too crude, you opt for the half-a-389V8 four-cylinder making as much as 165hp or a 215ci aluminum V8 with an optional turbo in the Oldsmobile. Alas, this was GM and all of that super-advanced technology didn’t quite, well, work. Specifically, the independent rear suspension was a primitive swing-axle setup shared with the notorious first-generation Corvair and those advanced motors were prone to vibrations, turbo issues or block porosity. Turning to the disappointing side of the coin, GM never granted the BOP cars a second generation (unlike the Corvair) to iron out those teething problems. By the mid-to-late 60s, neither the average customer nor GM management had any appetite for the technical innovations of the early 60s when conventional V8s, 2-and 3-speed automatics and rear axles on leaf springs were good enough. For more detail, Niedermeyer The Elder covered the Y-bodies in greater detail back in 2010 on The Truth About Cars.
Were I a collector with means, I’d add today’s example to my collection. It’s a 1963 Tempest convertible with the 326V8 (making 260hp) hooked to a three speed manual. It’s a stylish cruiser with just enough sporting pretensions to keep things interesting. $25k worth of interesting? That’s up to you.