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AJ's Car of the Day '62 Pontiac LeMans Convertible
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Car: Pontiac LeMans Convertible

Year: 1962

What makes it special: Introduced as an entry-level compact and sharing its uni-body Y Platform with the Buick Special, Skylark and Oldsmobile F-85 and Cutlass, it appeared under the LeMans nameplate beginning with the 1962 model year, though Pontiac also manufactured a few 1961 Le Mans coupes.

What made it famous:  Despite sharing some of the Oldsmobile's sheet metal, it featured an innovative drivetrain,  a rear-mounted transaxle coupled to a torque shaft arcing in a downward bow within a longitudinal tunnel, coupling the forward engine and rear transmission into one unit and eliminating vibration. Dubbed  "rope drive", had been previously used in the 1951 Le Sabre concept car. The combination of the rear-mounted transaxle and the front-mounted engine gave the car very nearly an ideal 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, enabled four-wheel independent suspension, and eliminated the transmission floor hump in the front and lowered it in the rear as compared to a regular layout, such as the front engine/front transmission used in the Tempest's Buick and Oldsmobile sister cars.

Why I would want one: It's an engineering milestone car, plus it's just good looking.

Fun fact: John Z. DeLorean, designer of the Tempest, was the division's chief engineer and would later become the division's head, then later become widely known for founding the DeLorean Motor Company.

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