No Reserve: 1972 Pontiac LeMans Hardtop

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Nope, it’s not a GTO, just a 1972 Pontiac LeMans two-door hardtop, one of about 80K similar cars assembled in the final year of this very popular iteration of Pontiac’s A-body series. It has experienced lots of miles and is a bit worn looking but will likely have a rejuvenated future with a new owner. Rejuvenated how you ask? Let’s make an assessment. Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, this Tin Indian is available, here on eBay for $2,550 with four bids tendered so far.

Back to that 80K number, that’s only part of the story as Pontiac produced a total of 175K LeMans of all stripes including the Base, Luxury, and Sport trim levels that year. Included in that total is the vaunted GTO, now, no longer an individual model and responsible for only 5,800 copies. As for a repeat performance, the ’72 LeMans’ volume is very similar to the nearly identical ’71 model, so if this car bears a familiar look it’s because the two years combined to produce approximately 340K members!

Wearing what was at one time known as Quezal Gold Metallic, and topped with a vinyl roof covering, this LeMans looks like it has had a trip to the blast furnace. There’s a mishmash of thin primer and surface rust evident everywhere. Look close enough and you’ll note various scrapes, creases, and other contusions though I wouldn’t rate any as serious. For real rust? Yup, there’s some of that too in the lower passenger-side fender leg. The seller states, “The car is from Nevada so it is pretty solid (currently in Bowling Green, KY). The only rust-thru I see is on the passenger side front fender“. Rust is the nemesis of this generation of GM’s A-body so a peek underneath would be warranted – no real reason to suspect a major problem, however.

Not said is whether the 160 net HP, 350 CI V8 engine is still operational Additionally, an automatic transmission handles gear changes but unbeknownst to me, a two-speed was still available in a ’72.  The image of the shift selector, however, confirms that the much preferred Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed unit is in service. The engine compartment reveals what appears to be a complete motor with a recently replaced alternator –  the fuel tank looks new too. There is an A/C compressor installed but it’s beltless, probably indicative of an inoperable status.

The interior is rough. There’s a cheap seat cover draped over the front bench, and judging from the shredded condition of the back seat, it’s easy to see why. Besides that, we have a split dash pad, dissolving package tray, filthy carpet, and door panels, and a questionable headliner and sail panels – yes, it’s all going to need some work.

OK, so it’s what to do with it time. Some might consider a GTO clone but that’s going to take a whole lot of reconfiguration, and expense. A stock restore? Doesn’t seem likely on a plain jane LeMans. I imagine this car’s next station in life will be as a cleaned-up moded, hot rod, in either minor or major form. There’s no required formula, of course, and lots of opportunities here. That’s my call, what’s yours?

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  1. 370zpp 370zppMember

    I owned a brand new 72 Lemans GT. Burnt Orange, dark stripes, rally wheels, 3-speed manual on the floor, side splitter exhausts. Very GTO-like. It was beautiful.
    And it was a piece of junk. For many reasons. Traded it for a 74 V-6 Capri. No regrets.

    Like 3
    • Tbone

      Please elaborate. I had a slightly older model of the same car and it was a great experience. Started my love affair with Pontiacs. For that reason I’m curious as to what happened. I’m guessing you got a total lemon that was built on a Friday or on the Monday after the superbowl or whatever

      Like 11
      • 370zpp 370zppMember

        Well Tbone, it started with the white interior. When my 72 was 6 months old, water started leaking in from the top, staining the headliner at most of the cross-seams. When I brought it back to the dealer where I bought it, they essentially told me just to live with it. (I was 18 years old)

        A year later it wouldn’t start, parked in my driveway and I was able to get a mechanic from the local Pontiac dealer to come to my house to try to start it. Great guy, actually. He spent hours trying to diagnose the problem until he discovered the float had a hairline crack, simply filled up with gasoline, sunk and would not let the car start.

        Looking back, those things weren’t deal breakers as much as simply big pains in the neck. There were other things later but I will not get into that here.

        Like 0
    • Daryl McDonald

      MY older brother had a red 1972 Pontiac Lemans with a white top back in 1989 when I was a junior in high school. Unfortunately one night my brother was rear-ended by a drunk driver and it completely destroyed the rear end of the car and buckled the frame identically on both sides of the car.

      Like 1
    • Joe Bernard

      I had a third hand 72 that was a twin to this one. Drove it in college while my 69 GTO sat in my folk’s garage for weekend adventures. The 72 was a great car…..tune ups, some belts n hoses and fluid changes and it ran like a top…

      Like 0
  2. Pj

    Hummmmm…… always liked these….. seems like a good start to something NaStY! Especially at the price! Possibilities are endless!!!

    Like 6
  3. GregM

    ’72 Pontiac Lemans was my FIRST (of 60+) cars, trucks and SUVs. This car taught me much…about loans, interest rates, (21%! in 1982…), getting to work on time (to pay that car note), the importance of checking your auto tranny fluid, back seat wrasslin’, and how to max out that 2 barrel while avoiding the local speed traps. If this care were in my garage, there’s no doubt – Judge clone!!

    Like 4
  4. Robert West

    This Lemans is one of the most solid examples I’ve seen in a long time. Thank heavens this car wasn’t owned by a “take it completely apart, never reassemble, lose parts along the way” self proclaimed gearhead. The ~$2500 price is reminiscent of late 1980s to early 1990s prices. I would DEFINITELY take this project on!

    Like 8
  5. Terry

    My first new car was a black 72 lemans auto sport package with 350 2 barrel . Could not insure a GTO because of a long list of traffic tickets. Loved that car. After l got a work truck I started hot rodding it with a 400and a four speed conversion,then a 455. Finally got a 421 super duty ‘nascar engine ‘and it really ran. Too old or I would love to re live those days.

    Like 3
  6. Maggy

    Great solid start to get into old cars. I’d do the usual ,duals,intake ,4bbl and hei.posi and a 3:73 later on then. She’s up to 5k with 2 days left. I’d say that would be max for me imo. I’m guessing it’s going to go to around 8.

    Like 2
  7. Ghyslain Gagne

    In October 1971, i bought a red Lemans with the rare gold sabre decal that ran from front to rear, It was a Canadian car powered by chevy. 350 c.i..

    Like 1
  8. Jim

    How about the Studebaker next to it? :)

    Like 2
  9. Porkchopzz4

    Original A/C car with a new gas tank.. there are worse starts to a project.

    Like 2
  10. Dennis

    Does it run? Last time it did? Condition of floors. Thanks,Dennis

    Like 0
  11. Geoff Jamieson

    We had a 68 Lemans traded in for a 72 Luxury Lemans, Brasilia Gold, 350 ci engine. Beautiful car. Never saw too many in the gold.

    Like 0
  12. Mike Burns

    I had a ‘70 lemans sport in 1976 when I was a senior in high school. 350 w/ two barrel carb and single exhaust. Held the pedal to the metal for a good 8 miles. 127 mph is what she gave me. Always wondered what she would have done with a four barrel and dual exhaust.

    Like 0
  13. Martin Langford

    This car is an example of why God made junkyards and car crushers! It’s been around for fifty years, and it would be better for the planet for its parts to be recycled. By no stretch of the imagination is it unique or worth the effort that restoration would take.

    Like 0
    • bone

      You sound like a real antique car lover ….Lets see, a 50 year old car, a company that’s no longer around , a desirable 2 door V8 model . I guess every Cutlass should be crushed out too right ?

      Like 2
    • maggy

      You need to use your imagination to make it unique or leave it stock , whatever the buyer decides to do. The car looks very solid for it’s age. Crush it because it’s better for the planet… really? Do you have a picture of AOC on your nightstand?

      Like 3
  14. Ashtray

    Looks like a pretty good vehicle to start a project with. It sure looks more complete and original than most. I realize it isn’t a GTO, but i like it.
    Just my opinion!

    Like 1

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