Baked But Solid: 1972 Pontiac LeMans

Life in the Arizona sun can take its toll on the paint and plastic of a classic car, but it tends to be good news when it comes to the question of rust. That would seem to be the case with this 1972 Pontiac LeMans. There is no denying that it has been pretty heavily baked, but there is virtually no rust for the next owner to tackle. Once restored, this could be an eye-catching classic that would be fun to own and drive. Located in East Valley, Arizona, you will find the LeMans listed for sale here on craigslist. Hand the owner a mere $3,200, and you can take this baby home.

We’ve seen a few affordable project cars come across the desks here at Barn Finds recently, but this is one of the most promising that I have seen for a while. The owner claims that the LeMans was originally finished in Cardinal Red, but the tag indicates that the current Sundance Orange is correct. The Arizona sun has done its worst to the paint, and it has also destroyed the White vinyl top. However, that same sun also means that the dreaded tin worm hasn’t taken a stranglehold on this classic. The owner states that the floors and frame are in good order. He does say that the trunk pan is pitted, but that he believes that it can be saved. There is some corrosion poking its way out from under the rear window trim, but I would be surprised if there is any penetrating rust lurking there. The rockers, rear quarter panels, and the bolt-on panels all appear to be sound, but the body does sport some visible dings and dents. I’m not sure what happened to the hood, but I suspect that the buyer will probably choose to replace that. Any other dings and dents are repairable, and while all of the glass is present, the windshield will need to be replaced.

Under the hood of the LeMans, we find a 350ci V8. This is hooked to a 3-speed automatic transmission, while the vehicle also features power steering and power brakes. When in good health, this engine should be producing 175hp. That would allow the LeMans to cover the ¼ mile in 17.2 seconds. The engine doesn’t currently run, and it isn’t clear when it last fired a shot in anger. The owner doesn’t even indicate whether the 350 turns freely. With everything looking so dry in the engine bay, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the engine was able to be coaxed into life with a bit of effort.

The White interior trim of this LeMans must have been stunning when combined with the Orange and White exterior combination. That was a long time ago, and UV rays have ravaged the upholstery. The Pontiac will require all new upholstery, along with a dash pad, and a carpet set. On the positive side, the interior does appear to be complete…except for the lack of a steering wheel. A trim kit is going to be the most economical way of returning the interior to its former glory. These can be slightly harder to find for the LeMans than for some other classics. However, a price of around $2,000 seems to be in the ballpark for a decent kit.

I do not doubt that there will be more than a few of our readers who will look at this 1972 Pontiac LeMans, and they will like what they see. One of the most daunting aspects of a restoration project can be rust repairs. When this work involves the wholesale replacement of steel, it can turn some individuals right off a restoration. Having been through that process myself, I know how rewarding the final result can be. I also know how daunting it can be, especially to the uninitiated. The buyer of this LeMans isn’t going to face that task, which means that it could potentially be tackled in a home workshop. At the asking price, that has to make this car a tempting restoration prospect.

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  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Negotiate the price lower, swap out the busted windshield, swap the hood for a GTO hood, source a 400 to build up and a new steering wheel, get a new dash pad and interior (maybe a set of bucket seats), get it running and driving and fix it up as you go

    Like 7
  2. Matt in L.A.

    Yes, Mitchell is right. As it is, it isn’t worth the money to either buy it at this price or to restore it as it is. If you can affordably make it a GTO clone, maybe. I have a 72 LeMans with the endura front end option. I did the buckets and console but kept the 350 for now. Great cruiser, GTO looks, within my LeMans budget.

    Like 4
  3. George Duran

    Probably the original hood, have seen many in the same condition when the hinges weren’t lubed and someone forced it down to close it.

    Like 5
  4. Vance

    I lived in Arizona for 25 years, it is true that the tin worm doesn’t get the cars, but it fries everything else. Upholstery, trim anything plastic anything rubber, wiring ( pack rats are terrible) molding, carpet, visors , etc. I If you have deep pockets there is no problem, but be prepared to replace everything else. The sun is unforgiving and relentless, its a great place to live if you are a snake.

    Like 3
  5. Zach

    The guys on Roadkill recued one of these fom a unkyard recently.

    Like 1
  6. Bigbird

    I live in AZ also. It is a good thing that tire is hold the car down because we get real windy out here. I think you can find one in better condition, in someones garage for sale. These cars drank gas like crazy, and most are parked because of that.

    Like 1
  7. 370zpp

    I owned a brand new 72 Lemans GT, same color as this one (no vinyl top) with white interior. After about a month of ownership I went back to the dealer (Rutland, Vt.) because the roof leaked and there were water stains across the seams of the headliner. The dealer told me it was just too much trouble to fix and I should just leave it the way it was.

  8. Mark Dahl

    I’ve been the proud owner of a 70 LeMans for over 36 years. I put a 400 in her with a 400 tranny. Black dash, buckets, counsel, carpet and headliner, tilt wheel with white door panels. Painted it cranberry pearl. This is not the only car I have, but it’s my favorite. It Cruises awesome. (At approximately 18 MPG) I have to be careful when I take her out. People get to close to me just to get a better look at my girl. Also the best thing that I love about her is that she is not a Chevelle. A person just doesn’t see these LeMans around very often. (At least I don’t). I own a mint 66 big block Chevelle. Yes I get the looks on that one also but it’s not the same as the Pontiac. People say there goes another Chevy. On the Pontiac people say wow I haven’t seen one of these in years. A proud moment…..

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