A parking lot is a parking lot is a parking lot—unless it’s the Summit Racing parking lot. On any given day or time, the lot outside a Summit Racing store can turn into an impromptu mini car show, depending on who’s stopped by the store. Each Wednesday, we’ll share our parking lot find of the week—another benefit of being Powered by Summit Racing Equipment.

It’s hard to believe the same guy who created Marty McFly’s gulled-winged time-travel DeLorean also created the Pontiac Tempest.

It’s true—John DeLorean served as lead designer of the Pontiac Tempest. And while it didn’t come with standard features like time-travel at 88 miles-per-hour or launch the muscle car movement like the GTO, the Tempest did help revolutionize the compact performance market.

Introduced in 1961, the Tempest featured a unibody design and a unique rear transaxle design that helped give the vehicle a nearly 50/50 weight distribution. The early Tempests came with a four-cylinder engine which was derived by simply manufacturing half of Pontiac’s popular 389-cubic-inch V8. The cutting-edge four-cylinder was marketed as a fuel saver, but the 1961 and 1962 models (like this one) were also available with an aluminum Buick 3.5L V8.

The Tempest’s innovations added up to a Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 1961.

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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.