Black Plate 1963 Pontiac LeMans Convertible

In the last few weeks, we have seen quite a number of interesting classic cars emerge from California, and this 1963 Pontiac LeMans Convertible is just such a car. It is in good condition for its age and will need very little before it is ready to hit the road once again. I really have to thank Barn Finder Larry for spotting this little beauty for us. It is located in San Diego, California, and has been listed for sale here on Facebook. The owner is asking $6,995 for this Summertime cruiser.

The current owner purchased the Pontiac from an estate sale and believes that it had probably been sitting since around 2010. The Grenadier Red paint looks to be in pretty reasonable condition, but it would be interesting to see how well it responded to a professional buff and polish. I suspect that it would probably have a positive impact on the car and that she’d wind up sparkling like a new penny. I believe that the same will be true with regards to the external trim and chrome, while the glass all looks to be okay. The previous owner treated the LeMans to a fresh soft-top at some point, and this still looks really nice. As for rust, there really doesn’t appear to be a lot to talk about. There are no shots of the floor, and there is no visible external rust. There are some spots in the trunk pan, but none of these are particularly big. It would certainly be possible to replace the pan, but given the fact that the few holes that are present are mainly the size of a thumbnail, I think that patches would probably do the job quite well.

The next owner is not going to have to do a lot of work inside the Pontiac, beyond a bit of cleaning and stretching a couple of minor trim pieces back into shape. The deceased previous owner has, at some point, had a fresh interior fitted to the car, and while it is now dusty, it is free from rips and tears. There is one trim piece in the back that is rippled, but I suspect that this could be stretched back into shape with little effort. In addition, some of the knobs are missing off the factory radio. Otherwise, a weekend in the garage with some decent cleaning products should be enough to return the interior to its best.

Under the hood of the LeMans, we find the 194,4ci “Trophy 4” engine, which sends its power to the road via a 4-speed manual transaxle. This engine was ordered with the optional 4-barrel carburetor and produces a pretty impressive 166hp. When compared to the base engine, this option provides a fairly substantial improvement to overall performance. This car would be more than 3 seconds faster from 0-60mph than its brother, while it would also knock more than 2 seconds off the ¼ mile ET. After sitting for so long, the current owner has gone through the car pretty thoroughly, and it has been returned to a healthy running and driving state. There are a couple of minor items that will need to be addressed, but these will fall to the new owner to tackle. These include the car requiring a new muffler, and the throw-out bearing for the clutch is also noisy. As you can see, it’s pretty minor stuff.

The owner states that this ’63 LeMans Convertible isn’t perfect and that the price reflects this. Personally, I think that it probably represents a bit of a bargain buy, simply because it would seem to need so little to make it a reliable daily driver. Its rust issues are relatively insignificant, and it would be interesting to see how it looked after a Winter of tinkering in a home workshop.


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  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Nice one, Adam! That’s a little jewel in the rough, but it doesn’t look that rough. This seems like a fairly good deal to me, it’s very tempting.

    Like 14
  2. Classic Steel

    This one looks like a steal to me too.

    This GM GEM reminds me of a prequel
    to the 64 chevelle malibu from the body to dash to seats.

    I like the interesting engine too and hope
    its kept original 👍👀

    Like 7
  3. Fred Alexander

    Buy it. tinker with it, drive it, show it at show and shines go topless and let the wind blow through your locks – – that is unless you’re bald – – -that would be a different sensation, and enjoy your bargain convertible.
    You’ll be hard pressed to find another convertible in this condition of this era for the price.

    Like 11
  4. JW454

    If this one had red interior, it would look exactly like my first car. Mine also had an automatic but, I’d prefer this one’s 4 speed. I paid $100.00 for mine in 1972. It was a great little car. I do miss the nights of cruising the streets in mine.

    Like 4
  5. Alan Brase

    Putting a TO bearing in it might get a little involved. This is a transaxle car. The transaxle is very similar to the Corvair, but they used a solid whippy drive shaft. those need bearings sometimes, too. Neat car tho. The 326 V-8 option puts one of these into the muscle car class one year early of the GTO. but this one will be plenty quick.

    Like 4
  6. BeeMoe

    No offense, but I wish people would stop saying “It is in good condition for its age”. It lacks any objective value for the reader.

    Like 5
  7. 68custom

    the trophy 4 cylinder in actually a 389 minus half the cylinders so they are pretty heavy, also the “Rope drive” driveshaft is mounted with a slight bend and enclosed in a torque tube as I recall. neat car to clean up and enjoy as the clean semi original it appears to be!

    Like 1
  8. Wayne

    Let’s see, $7,900 for a Malaise Era Citation, or $6,995 for a technologically advanced car from what some consider the golden age of Detroit? I know which one I would pick!

    Like 4
  9. J_Paul Member

    Very neat car, with some of the cleanest early-60s styling out there and a surprising amount of interesting engineering—the rear transaxle setup, unibody construction, fully independent suspension, and a 4 cylinder with a 4-barrel carb make this an interesting (and different) find. It was certainly ahead of its time in some ways.

    It surprised me to find that these early Tempest/LeMans models actually share a lot of the underbody with the Corvair, despite having engines in different ends of the car!

    This seems like a LOT of fun for $7,000.

    Like 4
  10. Wayne

    Good deal on a great little car.
    Most people don’t realize that these cars came with 15″ wheels. ( their brother cars Buick Special and Oldsmobile F85 came with 13″ wheels) So +2 concept in the wheel/tire setup from the factory. Too many projects in the fire right now or I would be driving down to snag this car right now.

  11. Del

    Wow. nice and price is right

    Like 1
  12. Alan Brase

    Keep in mind, IRS in this case means the exact same SWING AXLE setup that Ralph Nader felt made Corvair “unsafe at any speed”.
    The “rope” driveshaft and rear mounted gearbox gave better weight distribution than anything else, actually and was nearly the same setup used by Porsche in the 924/944/968 models. Also predated Ferrari’s use of a transaxle by a few years . (But Lancia was the possible origin of this good idea over 10 years prior).
    I had a station wagon model that worked pretty good as a daily driver and first home buyer support vehicle back in about 1970-72. And was better in the snow than any pickup from Detroit.
    Seems like some California speed demon, (Mickey Thompson?) built a few with conventional live rear axles and 389’s as a serious 1963 GTO prototype.

    Like 1
    • BOP_GUY Member

      Yup, it was Mickey Thompson, and it was actually a 421!

      Like 1
      • chrlsful

        w/alu body up frnt – wuz it 200 made?

  13. BOP_GUY Member

    These are great cars, fun to drive and better power than you would expect. I have one a year older, and they are a blast. Go to any car show or cars & coffee, put the hood up, and you’ll have people passing by multiple GTO’s in a row to check out these really unique cars!

    Like 2
  14. BOP_GUY Member

    My 62 Pontiac LeMans Convertible

    Like 6
  15. Joe

    I had one of these around 1975. Maroon coupe, 4 cyl. (2 bbl.), dash shift automatic. It was a good reliable car. Always wanted one of the SOHC, 4 bbl., 4 speed coupes. They are quite scarce now.

    Like 1
  16. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Nice car. It may not be a throw out bearing. T. O. Bearings make noise when there’s pressure on the clutch, if it’s noisy while driving w/o foot on clutch it’s probably the front bearing in the transmission.

    God bless America

    Like 1
  17. Tom

    I can’t get the link to work. I am interested in this car.

  18. TimM

    Looks like the buy of the week!! It’s really hard not to press that buy it now button once in a while!!

    Like 2

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