Car: Pontiac LeMans
What makes it special: The era of the upscale LeMans was a huge turning point for Pontiac. The demand for larger “compacts” caused the creation of “intermediate” A-body cars at GM, which for Pontiac meant the Tempest and LeMans models.
What made it famous: LeMans and Tempest were developed with full perimeter frames, and the 326 cu in V8 was optional at low cost, which is why many LeMans cars are so equipped. A conventional driveline with transmission behind the engine meant that the cars were easier to service and less expensive to build, and this also meant that even more powerful engines could be shoe-horned into the engine bay. As a matter of fact, for 1964 and 1965, the legendary GTO was merely an option in the LeMans series, even while LeMans was merely a trimline in the Tempest.
Why I would want one: My favorite year of the Pontiac Intermediates. Many prefer the GTO, which is nice, but I root for the underdog. Love the stacked headlights that started in 1965. Love the crisp, sharp lines and aggressive stance and look of the body style. Love the 326 V8, but also love the fact that this body style can accommodate a larger V8, and THAT...my friends, is what hot rodding is all about!
Fun fact: Many Pontiac LeMans have been “cloned” to GTO status over the years, but that takes nothing away from the fact that they are collectible either way.
( 1965 Pontiac LeMans photo from wordpress.com )