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.
Had a friend with the 62 tempist. It had a V8 with a 3 speed on the floor and the transaxle. He kept blowing the transaxle out, but MAN, would it fly!.
Was this a stock option, or something his older brother put together?
Hey Don, while we can’t say for sure about your friend’s specific car, without any pictures or details–we can say that there definitely was a V8 option for the 1962 Tempest.
In fact, it was the innovative Buick-sourced 215. It had aluminum heads and an aluminum block, making it lightweight. It had quite a production run too, as the British Rover company bought the rights to produce the engine in the late 1960s, and used it to power Rover vehicles for the next several decades.
We couldn’t find exact numbers, but if it was stock, your friend’s Tempest was really, really rare. It looks like V8 models represented only about 1 percent of the entire production run.
Hope this helps!