AJ's Car of the Day: 1963 Pontiac Tempest / LeMans 421 "Super Duty" Coupe

Car: Pontiac Tempest / LeMans 421 "Super Duty" Coupe

 Year: 1963

What makes it special: It was Pontiac Motor Division's entry into the NHRA's Factory Experimental class. 14 special lightweight Tempest racers were built for 1963: Six LeMans coupes, six station wagons and two standard coupes.

What made it famous:  These special factory lightweight compacts were given high compression, dual quad-equipped 421 CI Super Duty engines connected to a unique rear-mounted 4-speed automatic transmission. Its twin 4-barrel carbs and free-flowing aluminum exhaust headers pushed power up to a potential 500 horses. All used aluminum front sheet metal and brake drums, acid dipped bumpers and mounting brackets and lightweight windshield glass, resulting in an almost perfect 48/52 weight distribution while keeping the cars in line with the NHRA’s 7.5 pounds-per-cubic-inch A/FX class weight limit.

 Why I would want one: I have been in love with the looks of the 1963 Pontiac LeMans for a long time. They make fantastic street / strip machines, and anytime you can get a V8 stuffed into an early 1960's compact, you know you're in for a wild ride....better put your seatbelt on.

 Fun fact: Of the original six 421 Super Duty Coupes built by Pontiac, four were destroyed and a fifth was recently found minus almost all the distinguishing special factory equipment. That rare Pontiac factory racer was sold at Mecum's 2010 Original Spring Classic Auction for $455,000.



( 1963 Pontiac Tempest 421 Super Duty photo from popularhotrodding.com )