The Un-Corvair – 1962 Pontiac Tempest Convertible

While GM has a well-deserved reputation for building mechanically ordinary V8 powered, live rear axle body-on-frame cars, they deserve more recognition for their innovative phase in the 1960s, where they really pushed some engineering boundaries to market some cars that should be truly interesting to the automotive enginerds among you. That’s how Chevrolet ended up with a rear-engine, flat-6 powered compact, and Pontiac sold a compact car powered by a straight 4 or aluminum V8 running through a torque shaft to a rear transaxle. Unfortunately, these haven’t survived in the same numbers as their full-size siblings, in spite of handsome styling and technological advancement – they’re probably in some purgatory between the big cars and 4-cylinder European imports, destined to be ignored by both American and European car fans. Check out this 1962 Pontiac Tempest convertible for sale for $3500 in Portland, OR.

1962 Pontiac Tempest left

Who thought “flame surfacing” as seen on recent BMWs was anything new? And GM pulled this off a lot more convincingly, giving the style of their larger cars but somehow looking a bit more sporty. Assuming this is the 195ci Trophy 4 instead of the Buick-derived 215ci V8, it’s not mentioned whether it’s the low-compression 110hp, high compression 140hp, or four-barrel 155hp spec. With such a large engine you can expect some decent vibration, but at least in top specification it’s got the power and torque to compensate.

1962 Pontiac Tempest front

While less successful than the twin-nostril nose of the 1961 cars, this is still a nice design, somewhat similar to the contemporary Dodge Valiant. White paint suits the car well, and there doesn’t look to be much rust. The seller is clearly an enthusiast, and lists off much work done, including a rebuilt transaxle, some front suspension restoration, working convertible top and decent interior with one split, new fuel pump and hard brake lines, extensive paperwork and many spare parts.

1962 Pontiac Tempest rear

As a 15-year owner, he also knows the weak spots – small tears in the top, a carburetor needing a rebuild, clouding in the windshield, cracks in the wing windows, and some rusting in typical lower-body areas, along with aged paint. The seller’s enthusiasm is clear, so it’s surprising there are no shots of the passenger side, interior, or engine – maybe this is a reluctant sale. Sounds like exactly the kind of person you’d want to buy from, and with summer starting it’s hard to see how you could go wrong.


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