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

Year: 1962

What makes it special: The Tempest was produced by Pontiac from 1961 to 1970 and again from 1987 to 1991. The Tempest was introduced as an entry-level compact in 1960 for the 1961 model year. Sharing the new Uni-Body Y platform with the Buick Special and Skylark, and Oldsmobile F-85 and Cutlass, the model also appeared under the LeMans nameplate beginning with the 1962 model year.

What made it famous: The original Tempest had several innovative features that made it stand out. Power came from a 195 cu in straight-4 engine marketed as the "Trophy 4", taken from the right cylinder bank of Pontiac's 389 cu in V8. The other half of its pioneering drivetrain was a rear-mounted transakle 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. It was known as "rope drive." The combination of a rear-mounted transaxle and front-mounted engine gave the car very nearly an ideal 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, making it nimble for the era of 4-wheel independent suspension, and eliminated the transmission floor hump in the front and lowered it in the rear compared to a conventional front engine/front transmission layout.

Why I would want one: Not only is it iconic for its engineering, but it's a very good looking car, with great lines.

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

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