1963 Pontiac Tempest LeMans - "Oh, This Old Thing?"

Jan 25, 2008 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Hot Rod Magazine

“We really were going to paint the car, but then we thought, No, this is good the way it is. This way we don't have to worry about scratching it every time we lean over a fender.”

More than just about anyone, we have a special appreciation for the car that looks like junk but goes like stink. via Hot Rod Magazine

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Pete

United States

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#1
Apr 12, 2008
 

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The 1963 Pontiac Lemans is a truly unique automobile and for the longest period of time has been overlooked by collectors and overshadowed by the 1964 GT0. A true automotive buff ,knows that the 1963 Pontiac Lemans was the precursor to the musclecar.In mid 1963, Pontiac offered heavy duty suspension (springs, shocks,carbon metallic brake pads, oversize tires) 4 barrel carburetor , dual exhaust and 20:1 steering ratio coupled to a three tiger V-8 -326 HO cast iron block. All this was available in a very attractive lightweight compact body that featured a unique torque tube drivetrain with an independent rear transaxle suspension. In my travels, I have never seen one these models but I guess a few still exist and probably command a high price can you say "Son of Bobcat".
Dennis

Spooner, WI

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#2
Oct 3, 2008
 
My first car was a 63 LeMans.
I had the high compression, 194.4CI I4 with 4 barrel carb.....
It was a great little car, snappy enough, looked good and was just generally a fun little beast!

Like most guys, wish I had that first car back in the garage!
Larry

El Segundo, CA

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#3
Nov 4, 2008
 
Pete wrote:
The 1963 Pontiac Lemans is a truly unique automobile and for the longest period of time has been overlooked by collectors and overshadowed by the 1964 GT0. A true automotive buff ,knows that the 1963 Pontiac Lemans was the precursor to the musclecar.In mid 1963, Pontiac offered heavy duty suspension (springs, shocks,carbon metallic brake pads, oversize tires) 4 barrel carburetor , dual exhaust and 20:1 steering ratio coupled to a three tiger V-8 -326 HO cast iron block. All this was available in a very attractive lightweight compact body that featured a unique torque tube drivetrain with an independent rear transaxle suspension. In my travels, I have never seen one these models but I guess a few still exist and probably command a high price can you say "Son of Bobcat".
Pete, My very first care was the 63 326 H/O Lemans. It was Black with a white top (Convertible). It had a factory tach in the dash and it would scoot. I had a lot of trouble keeping transaxles in it. I have looked for information on it and could only find the 326 2 bbl (I had one of those also). I know it was for real though because I could by parts for the dual exhaust at the local dealer.
duststorm

Houston, TX

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#4
Nov 20, 2008
 
I remember the day my mother drove up to the jr. high to pick us up in a gold 1963 Pontiac Tempest Lemans that she had bought from a lady schoolteacher who had just traded it in for a GTO. I was driving that car at age 13, dragging 1957 Chevys and beating them. It had a stock 2 barrel 326 V-8. The automatic transmission was in the rear of the car. They put it there to give the rear end some weight. It would lay rubber out of the Tastee Freeze. When I went off to college, she bought me a 1970 Pontiace Lemans, 400 engine, but it was never as fun as the Tempest. I wish Detroit would make them again. They would make millions.
Sesia

Albemarle, NC

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#5
Mar 7, 2009
 
I currently own 2 63 Lemans. My dad is driving a red covertible with a white top and a red interior. This car has a built 326 with a tricarb set up. I am driving a white with black top covertible with blue interior. this car is all original except it was repainted white instead of blue. This car has the 326 3 barrel motor
They did make an H/O version of these cars. i have a parts car that was an original 326 4 barrel car that had the factory dual exhaust.

if u r in mooresville nc and u want to see the white one and talk about these great cars. email me at ntimonte@yahoo.com
Craig

Manassas, VA

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#6
May 9, 2009
 
I remember when I was 11, my mother and dad brought home our 63 Tempest/LeMans Convertible in 1963. Mom was driving a Marimba red, Black top and interior, 326 V8 2bbl with the TempestTorque trans axle. It was her "Baby". My dad said she was the hot blond in the cool convertible. She had problems at first keeping the tires from squealing when she pulled out in traffic. It had power to spare. We towed boats and a 17' Airstream trailer all over the country for many years with it. All of us kids learned to drive in it. My mother was very upset with my father when he gave me the car a number of years ago. It languished in my garage for several years while I had the engine out being balanced and blue printed. Mom got to enjoy a ride in "Baby" a year ago Christmas. She was really happy with it. The car remains as it did the day she bought, just better. She passed away about a month later. Baby's transmission died about the same time. I have been working on trying to get her back on the road ever since.
Jerry

Saint Louis, MO

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#7
Jun 19, 2009
 
I took delivery on my LeMans in October of '62.
It was red with the black interior, 326 2 barrel, 3 speed stick and the optional 390 rear geared transaxle. My order deleted all chrome except the side window and front fender "teeth".
At the track, it would float the valves at about 4700 r.p.m. so I bought a set of GM 409 lock down nuts, backed off the valves and adjusted them so they had a slight "clicking" at idle. That gave me 6,000 revs on the stock 326.(The standard Pontiac nuts would keep coming loose).
After adding a pair of dump pipes, I was turning upper 15 second quarter mile times at 90+ m.p.h. while other like Tempests were turning times above 17 seconds.
The "cheater" slicks cost several driveshafts, but the dealer kept replacing them under warranty (he put them on other warranties, I think) because he liked the publicity it was getting.
I'd love to have it back.
Jon

Champlin, MN

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#8
Dec 9, 2009
 
I bought my 63 lemans, 326 2bbl., in 1981. I bought it from a friend who got it from his grandfather. He had the car for about 6 monthes and didn't like it. He wanted to jack up the rearend and couldn't do it bacause of the rearend transmission. I had the car for 4 years and sold it to my brother. He had it for 10 years and didn't take care of it. I bought it back and have had it in my garage ever since. It starts and runs but need to do restoration. It was a snappy car and very fun to drive.
63 trans axel

AOL

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#9
Dec 9, 2009
 
in 63 for the 326 was there a 2 speed auto transmission ??? or was there a 2 and a 3 speed auto ??
chuck

United States

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#10
Apr 10, 2010
 
Like many, I wish I had mine back. Maroon, 326, two door HT with white buckets and long throw floor shift. Lightning quick and had many people cussing and scrathing their heads at the drags. I traded in my 57 Chevy for it. Another set of wheels I wish I had back.
phil

United States

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#11
Jul 11, 2010
 
i have a 62 pontiac lemans tempset 2 door 4cyl perfect car but can anyone help me with a carb 1bbl rodchester seems the choke rod on top has a plastic cam for the choke to step down and over the years has rounded and wont idle correctly any ifo for parts or carb or other web sites would help send to beefer12000@yahoo.com thanks phil
joe paul

Lawrenceville, GA

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#13
Dec 13, 2010
 
My first car was a black 63 lemans convertible. It had a 4 cly., with a Rodchester 4 brl. carb. on it. The gear shift was in the dash.I think it was some sort of expermintal model. I loved it. My dad and bought it and fixed it up. I wish I had it today. I'm going to miss the Pontiac's, I've always had one.
yancy

Tampa, FL

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#14
Dec 26, 2010
 
about 20 years ago i saw a 1963 pont in a friends back yard and it had a motor in it that had the driver side hesd cut off what was it the plate that covered it had a gm stamp on it
Ryan

Alvarado, MN

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#15
Jan 7, 2011
 
My dad is a huge fan of the 63 lemans. He has titles for 9 of them and still has three sitting in his shed.
Mervin Malbrough

New Iberia, LA

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#16
Jan 12, 2011
 
Dennis wrote:
My first car was a 63 LeMans.
I had the high compression, 194.4CI I4 with 4 barrel carb.....
It was a great little car, snappy enough, looked good and was just generally a fun little beast!
Like most guys, wish I had that first car back in the garage!
Do you want another one I just happen to have one
jgb62

Chicago, IL

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#18
Jan 17, 2011
 
Looking at a 63 Lemans convert and was concerned about parts availability for trans failure or even brake work. Any experience good or bad would be appreciated to help my decision.
Connecticut123

Trumbull, CT

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#19
Feb 24, 2011
 
Mervin Malbrough wrote:
<quoted text>Do you want another one I just happen to have one
Been looking for one for my dad for a while now, it was his first new car. I would love to get one for his retirement and golden years.-Rob
Bob Morse

Cypress, TX

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#21
Mar 10, 2011
 
When I returned from Viet Nam in 1972 I bought a '63 Le Mans 326 w/ hurst 3 speed on the floor. I didn't know what I had. I paid $350 for it and drove it for 2 years. I wish I had it today. Malibu's backed down from this beast. I sure would like another one in my declining years. Please respond if you have ideas.
david

Seattle, WA

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#22
Mar 29, 2011
 
Ryan wrote:
My dad is a huge fan of the 63 lemans. He has titles for 9 of them and still has three sitting in his shed.
I am looking for parts for my convertible car. top latches in particular.
david

Seattle, WA

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#23
Mar 29, 2011
 
I am looking for parts and info on my 63 lemans convertble. top latches and kit numbers for trans rebuild.

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