Original Paint! 1968 Pontiac LeMans

The 1968 Pontiac LeMans was a model sandwiched between the lower-priced Tempest and the performance-oriented GTO. At the time, even Pontiac struggled for differentiation, using the same art for both a Tempest ad and a LeMans ad! This particular LeMans appears at first glance to be largely original and is located in dry Gallup, New Mexico. Hopefully, rust is not an issue for once! It’s advertised for sale here on craigslist for $11,500 or best offer.

The seller tells us that the LeMans is wearing its original paint over styling that was “years ahead of its time” (according to this period brochure). I do remember reading that some dealers ended up retrofitting LeMans front bumpers around this time to replace the Enduro body-color ones on GTOs in order to sell them, and I find the front end pleasing as well. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Local Sheriff for sending in this cool find!

The seller reports nicks and scratches, and those are certainly evident from this close-up picture. Would you repaint the car or leave it with the original paint?

The ’68 LeMans featured clean rear styling as well. It doesn’t look like that huge chrome bumper has suffered from any hits at all! I think this car is a Sport Coupe rather than a Hardtop model; if that’s the case only 8,439 were made for the 1968 model year.

The ad states that the dash has been restored, and it certainly looks the part. Seat re-upholstery kits are available for the Morrokide upholstery and the door panels look pretty good as-is. The air conditioning vents are welcome and I’m sure were necessary in New Mexico!

While I was initially put off by the aftermarket air cleaner, valve covers, and coil, ultimately this engine compartment looks fairly stock. The seller claims it is a great running 455 cubic-inch V-8; if that is indeed the case it’s certainly not the original engine as a 350 was the largest engine available in the LeMans. Personally, I’d leave it alone if it runs as well as the seller says. What would you do with this LeMans?

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Comments

  1. Vance

    Love this Poncho, clean interior, motor, and a few scratches for 11500.00, that is a good price. With a little work it could be a real nice car. No, wait a minute, I think I will throw away 28k and purchase the worn out Camaro. I think I made my point, would love to own this vehicle.

    Like 18
  2. RATTLEHEAD

    chrome bumper 68 gto’s were not a dealer installation they were a option delete package because pontiac knew some people wouldn’t like/trust the endura crap. maybe 1800 or so came factory with the endura delete.

    Like 4
  3. Thomas Haywood

    Bought one brand new ( I was 23 ) . Verdoro green , white interior , O H C 6 , 3 spd. Hurst , notch back bench seat . Sprint option 6 had a 4 brl. carb. , special cam , 10.5 to 1 compression . Owned it 7 yrs. – 107,000 miles. A joy to own and drive. Own two classics – no money or room , or I would hunt another. I miss it.
    This is a good one.

    Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey

      Thomas Haywood,

      What area of the USA was your car located? I bought exactly the car you described, from the second owner, a man named Alan O. who collected Studebakers. My LeMans Sprint 6 was in the Maryland area it’s whole life. I ended up installing a 4-speed trans out of a Chevy Nova instead of the 3-on-the-floor, and it made that Sprint 6 really fly down the road at high speed.

      • Thomas Haywood

        Bill McCoskey , L bought that great Lemons at King Pontiac in Gaithersburg , Md. on August 9th 1968 Serial # 237378B608600 .I traded it there in 1975 for the last new car I ever bought , a1975 Grand Prix . The Lemans spent most of it’s time in Rockville and I commuted daily to downtown D C.
        Where did you buy it and do you have a record of the Vin. ?
        Oh ! , and I raced it twice at 75 & 80 dragstrip in Frederick County.

      • Bill McCoskey

        Thomas Haywood,

        This is crazy!

        First, I grew up in the Rockville area, and my sister-in-law’s father was a close friend of W. Lawson King, the owner of King Pontiac. He used to buy all of Mr. King’s personal demonstrators once he was finished with them. The “Odd year” cars were high performance 2-doors [for him], and the even year cars were station wagons for Mrs. King.

        I ended up with the last 2 cars he bought from King; a 1967 GTO coupe, silver with black interior and vinyl top, and a 1968 Bonneville wagon in dark gray/blue metallic. Both cars were fully loaded with all possible options, as the sales manager knew to order Mr. Kings cars with every conceivable option! [The wagon actually had 3 window stickers!]

        I sold the GTO to a friend who wrecked it while racing at [you guessed it] 75 & 80 in Monrovia! I drove the Bonneville wagon until the mid 1980s when the left rear axle bearing failed without warning, and the wheel came out and ruined the entire left rear fender, so I sent it to the Save-More junkyard over near Rt 355 and Gude Rd, after I stripped it of most of the rarer options. I still have the rare twin rubber GM air mattresses for sleeping in the back of the wagon [yeah, it even had those!].

        Now for the LeMans; It’s got to be the same car! We both know the Sprint 6 cars with floor mounted 3-speed stick shift were quite rare, and when we consider that there was a chrome emblem on the trunk lid of my car that said “King Pontiac, Gaithersburg”, I cannot believe 2 identical rare cars would have passed thru King Pontiac.

        As for it’s history, I bought it as part of a multi-vehicle estate sale that involved several Studebakers and Packards. My friend Alan O. had been driving the Pontiac as his everyday car when he passed away in the late 1980s. in the 1970s he was married and living in the Rockville area [off Viers Mill Rd], and then later he moved to Silver Spring.

        I drove the LeMans on a regular basis until 1999, when I found a good 4-speed gearbox from a Nova [I think it was a Borg-Warner T-10 variant]. Adding the 4-speed made the car a real high speed cruiser, and it was quite fast off the line.

        Not long after I did the trans conversion, a friend of mine [Ray S.] in Baltimore, pestered me about the car as he was a Poncho nut, so I sold it in late 1999 or early 2000. I’ve not talked to Ray in about 10+ years, so I don’t know if he still owns it or not, want me to see if he’s still got it?

        I don’t have the VIN for the car, but I might be able to get a friend of mine at MVA in Glen Burnie to look up my records for the car, once COVID19 is only a memory. My email is my first & last name [without the space] @aol.com. Stay in touch with me and let’s see if we can discover if we both used to own the same car! [I’m 99.9% sure we did!]

  4. Eduardo

    Sorry to be ‘that guy’ that kills everyone’s buzz, but I just remember that a buddy of mine bought a nearly identical car for $2200. Also in New Mexico. My geezer brain then realized that was almost 20 years ago to the day. These GM A body cars are great platforms to drive and enjoy and there are tons of aftermarket upgrades available.

    Like 2
  5. Jcs

    Looks like a pretty nice example from the pics but why oh why would a seller not locate a factory breather assembly before taking pics for a listing. I’ve never understood that.

    Like 2
  6. dave Member

    Some folks just want to sell the car and not spend any more money on it. Least it runs.

  7. rex m

    Too bad it’s an automatic….

  8. David kirschnick Member

    Hmmm. Let me think a moment.
    Where do I put it after I put behind garage to hide from my dearly beloved .
    Most came with blk interior . Love the white.

  9. John Oliveri

    My big brother had a 69 Lemans Convertible, Vedero green, white top, white bucket seats black console, and in that console was a Hurst shifted 4 speed, and under the hood was a 350/330 4barrel and under the rear bumper were dual exhaust, and the car had full PMD wheel covers, and no one saw it coming, or blowing past them, with the under dash 8 track playing, great car

    Like 1
  10. Desert Rat

    What to do with this little LeMans? Good question for me because I would be torn between my love for the 69 GTO with hidden headlights which I would want to transform this into or doing the right thing and leaving it the way it came from the factory and enjoying a part of auto motive history. Boy, this decision would surely keep me up at night…

  11. Gus Fring

    First thing I would do is throw away the cheap Cooper Cobras. Nothing says “I love my car” better than a cheap set of Hi-Gear Auto Parts tires.

  12. Chuck

    These were great cars. Green was a popular color for them. I’d make a few repairs, drive and enjoy it.

  13. Mark

    I don’t think it would have been a 350 in 1968, likely the near buet proof 326 or if a sport 326SD. If the 69 above had a factory 350 it would have been a very late 69,

    • gbvette62

      The only V8 offered in the 68 LeMans was the new for 68 350. It came in two versions, a 2 bbl, 265 horse power one, and a 4 bbl one with 320 horse.

      My mother had a nearly identical Verdoro Green 68 to this one, except hers had a black vinyl top, and the Willow Gold interior (really sort of a light green), instead of the Parchment interior this car has. Hers had the 2 bbl 350, and like all 350 LeMans’, it was easily identified as a 350 by the red “350” emblems on the rocker moldings, just aft of the front tires.

      • Steve Cota

        Yup the 68 was the first year for the 350, and the early 350’s had a common problem with the camshafts. Seems they would round off a lobe before they hit 100,000 miles. I know, I bought a 68 Lemans conv. in the spring of 1974. A year or so into my custodial relationship with this car the cam went bad and since I didn’t have any money for a rebuild I bought a running junkyard 400 cu in motor for $50. from a 68 Catalina that was being scrapped. (all the Pontiac blocks are basically the same externally) I have No idea how many miles were already on that 400 engine, But I have put more than 100 K on it since I got it …. and I still have the car and it runs just fine. As a side note, my car came with 14 inch wheels, Drum brakes and No power assist !?!?!

        Like 1
  14. SteveInPA

    Jamie, FYI this is a hardtop, not a Sports Coupe(post coupe). It’s in the VIN actually: 4237378B123161
    Actually there should not be a 4 in front, just 13 digits: 237378B123161
    2=Pontiac
    37=LeMans
    37=2 dr. hardtop
    8=1968
    B=Baltimore assembly plant
    The final 6 digits are the production numbers, with V8 cars beginning with a “1” and 6 cylinder cars starting with a “6.”

    BTW the material the GTO nose was made of was called Endura, not Enduro. The bumper had a steel core.
    Thanks for the article.

    Like 1
  15. David kirschnick Member

    You guys and girls gotta lighten up it’s the holidays.
    There was a time when there was only 3-4 tire makers and everyone else had their names added.

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