This is a Quick Shift for Wednesday, June 29th. I have done a couple of Quick Shifts with some of the more interesting cars I have come across this past weekend. This one is one of my absolute favorites; A first year Pontiac Tempest LeMans Convertible that has just been restored to better than new condition. Let’s have a look….
1962 was the first year for the LeMans Convertible, and this one looks splendid. Powered by the 195 CID slant inline four, that produced anywhere between 110 and 155 HP depending upon the carburetor chosen and the compression ratios. This was actually the left side of a Pontiac 389 CID V-8 engine, and Pontiac could save money by producing the engine in the same plant as the V-8 sibling.
This car was just as innovative as the Corvair in the fact that it was equipped with a front engine, a rear transaxle, connected by a unique torqueshaft that was dubbed “Rope Drive”. This gave the Pontiac the same floor space as the rear engined Corvair, as well as the only other GM car equipped with a fully independent rear suspension.
This particular car is equipped with the two-speed automatic transaxle, with the same shift lever used in the Corvair. The owner added an aftermarket air-conditioning system, which really isn’t a bad idea. Trivia: Many of the body panels used in the Tempest and LeMans were shared with the Oldsmobile F-85!
I love this car, and I hope you like it as well.