350 V8 Project: 1971 Pontiac LeMans

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This 1971 Pontiac LeMans had been a daily driver for many years. The plan was to eventually restore the car, but mechanical issues developed, and the automobile has been sidelined for the past eight years (and maybe outside). Some recent work has been done to revive it (currently not running), but the seller has other irons in the fire and must let the project move on to someone else. If you like the idea of restoring a Pontiac with a 350 V8, does this LeMans scratch an itch?

The LeMans began as a trim option on the new Tempest compact in 1961 and soon developed into a series of its own. The Tempest and LeMans were promoted to intermediate-sized cars in 1964 and the Tempest name was eventually dropped in 1971. Having been redesigned in 1968, the ’71 models differed little in appearance from the ‘70s. The pecking order for mid-sized Pontiacs that year was T-37, LeMans, LeMans Sport, and GTO. The seller’s 2-door hardtop is one of about 41,000 assembled in 1971.

We’re told this “Poncho” was sidelined due to a rusted gas tank and bad fuel lines. The seller has a new gas tank, but it’s in a box and will go with the car. The engine turns over freely though the machine hasn’t run since 2016. The 350 engine has a 4-barrel carburetor and is fitted with dual exhaust. Recently, the seller set about installing new brake lines and wheel cylinders, a new distributor, and a choke. Waiting to be put in are a new taillight, door seals, and new exterior badges.

The seller says the chassis is solid, but the floorboards have been patched and the work has an amateur look to it. There are holes in the trunk area that have yet to be attended to. Overall, the undercarriage is rather crusty and that could lead to other problems. Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, this LeMans is available here on craigslist for $3,500 if you feel the urge to take on a new project. But the car was well-used before it was parked – 125,000 miles. Our thanks to Barn Finder Tommy T-Tops for bringing this tip our way!

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  1. Old greybeard

    Sad. Wouldn’t pay $1k. Work everywhere you look. If you have a emotional tie to this year and model, enjoy doing the work and have space and time it could be a good project.
    Otherwise you’ll spend a ton to get a car worth 1/2 of what you spend.
    Similar Malibu would have already sold at 2x the price.

    Like 14
  2. CCFisher

    I don’t understand the thought process behind letting a project car sit outdoors for years. If you don’t have indoor storage for your project, then where are you going to work on it? Where are you going to store it when restoration is done? I suppose leaving a project to rot is an emotional thing, because it certainly isn’t logical. Eight years ago, you might have been able to salvage the metal around the rear window opening. Now, I’d be willing to bet that most of that metal is gone.

    Like 8
    • Mark

      I agree about eight years ago it would have needed less work. I see rust on the rear quarters above the rear bumper. All I can say is WHY.

      Like 4
  3. larry

    Hard PASS ! Rust everywhere you look. Not a desireable car from the start, and this is so far down – PASS.

    Like 6
    • Erich

      I beg to differ on the desirability factor as I loved every Poncho I ever owned, 67 Tempest, 69 Custom S, 71 LeMans Sport and even the lowly 76 Sunbird I had as a winter beater (V6 equipped) so, yeah, desirability is more of a personal matter, but totally agree on the “lost cause due to rust” factor

      Like 4
  4. SS

    Left outside,pretty much worthless at this point,if what you see is rough,imagine what you can’t see!

    Like 3
  5. Timothy Hanson

    Wonder if there is a roof left under the vinyl top?

    Like 1

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