Overhead Cam Equipped: 1968 Pontiac LeMans

The LeMans began as a premium trim edition of the new compact Tempest in 1961, later becoming a series of its own as well as growing to a mid-size car. All of GM’s intermediates were redesigned in 1968, including the Tempest/LeMans. This ’68 looks like a nice survivor, and it’s powered by Pontiac’s overhead cam (OHC) six-cylinder engine, a departure from other inline-six engines in other GM cars. Located in Puyallup, Washington, this looks like a car that you could drive almost anywhere without a worry. It’s available here on craigslist for $10,900. Another tip from Barn Finder local_sheriff!

Perhaps Pontiac fans will disagree, but I find the engine in this car its most interesting selling point. The single overhead camshaft (SOHC) design was debuted by Pontiac in 1966 as the standard Tempest motor. At first a 230 cubic inch inline-6, it shared internal dimensions with the overhead valve engine that Chevy built but it had its own cast-iron block and head casting. Only the large cam carrier/valve cover was made of aluminum. With a single-barrel carburetor, it was rated at 165 hp though the Firebird had a version that was good for 215 hp in 1967. It was the second post-World War II U.S.-developed and mass-produced overhead cam automobile engine.

For 1968, the engine was enlarged to 250 cubic inches and the horsepower rating was up to 175 hp. The seller refers to the engine in this car as producing 230 hp. I think he means cubic inches and – if that’s correct – the motor would be from 1966-67. If all is original, the engine should be a 250, and the seller is simply mistaken. The car is said to have just 68,000 miles on it and is a nice survivor, though not perfect. There were 8,439 LeMans 2-door hardtop coupes assembled in 1968, so this car is not in unlimited company today.

The body and paint look good with a repaint of the original Alpine Blue at some point. The only miss is a scape on the edge of the passenger side right front fender that looks like someone had a miscue with a garage door opening. The chrome and glass look to have held up well. The interior is finished in a matching light blue and the upholstery appears nice, but the carpeting is well worn and has discolored over time. A new carpet set would cure that problem.

Hagerty pegs the resale value of a ’68 LeMans at $8,100 for Good and $15,700 for Excellent and this car is priced somewhere in the middle. A couple of days at the body shop to fix the fender and another day at the upholstery shop for rug work would turn this car into a sweet cruiser for Cars & Coffee.

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Comments

  1. Stevieg Member

    What a sweetheart of a car! I would love to have this. I just hope whoever gets their hands on it doesn’t turn it into another GTO clone. It is really cool the way it is.

    Like 32
  2. Moparman Member

    A new set of rugs, a fender repair, and a set of Rally II wheels and this baby would really pop! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 15
  3. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Curious – do these tune up as freshly as a slant six can?

    Like 3
    • Terrry

      They can run circles around a slant six, but they do have a rubber belt drive so that has to be maintained/watched.

      Like 7
      • Arthell64 Member

        It doesn’t take much to run circles around a slant six.

        Like 2
  4. Dan August

    Is it an interference engine?

    Like 6
    • Boris Wong

      Yes and no.

      Like 1
    • Tiberius1701

      Nope. But still best to keep the timing belt in good nick.

      Like 1
  5. Paul

    every car with that motor i saw always had a hole in the block junk motors

    Like 3
    • Jack

      I would disagree. I had. 69 Firebird with the 250 OHC Sprint with 230 hp and a 4 speed, love.y running car and I wish that I still had it

      Like 6
  6. Jim in FL

    I’m a fan of these motors. I had a 67 Tempest four door with the ohc six. Sipped gas and ran well even with a powerglide. Of course it had decent highway gears. Before the Internet, they were hard to source parts for, so not in demand among collectors, I rebuilt mine, my brother opened up the heads a bit and it was reliable and fun to drive. I would like to find another, but preferably with the sprint six, not the one barrel. Too bad this is on the wrong coast.

    According to an old Pontiac tech, if these have been sitting, you don’t set the choke and crank it for about 15 seconds to get the oil up to the cam. Then set the choke and start it otherwise, it starves the cam of oil.

    Like 6
  7. Phil

    Hub caps don’t match.

  8. Jakespeed

    This is a beautiful car and has lots of potential.

    I wish there were better pictures of the engine. Being a 1968, it should be a 250 cube engine. The question is Which Carburetor, Intake Manifold and Exhaust Manifold(s) does this have? If it’s a Q-Jet on a Four Barrel with Dual Exhaust Manifolds, it should be a 230 HP engine.

    In the old days, when Jack Clifford Sr. ran Clifford Research out of Huntington Beach, California(?), you could get good parts for these. They recommended to turn down a Chevy 292 crank, use the OHC connecting rods and custom pistons, their cam, headers and intake. Their stuff is theoretically still available, but I’ve heard horror stories about getting parts.

    The timing belt is the (very) weak link. It was new technology then, but no one has updated it.

    Like 1
    • Randolph L Dull

      I don’t see a badge for the “Sprint” version so it would be the standard 6 with a 1 bbl., I believe.

      Like 1
  9. Arthell64 Member

    Classic grand mother car. I bet this car drives nice.

    Like 2
  10. S

    Nice car!! I don’t know a lot about this engine though. I never heard anything negative.

  11. Marshall King

    I had a 67 Firebird with a 69 Sprint 6 motor. That was a fun car to drive, took many beatings ( hey what 18 year old didn’t beat on their cars back in the mid seventies?) I never had any trouble with that motor! At least not until I had way beyond 100K on it! The timing belt never broke, I never replaced it, but I had a piston crack, so that was the end of that motor. Wish I still had that car, though. Had a three speed on the floor, and was it a fun car to drive— handled great and surprised many people. They didn’t believe it had a six in it!

    Like 2
  12. Idiot Boy

    There isn’t a darn thing wrong with that carpet. It’s original, only slightly faded and in excellent shape with the priceless smell of old car. Replacing it with an inaccurately reproduced PRC made rug would be heresy. “Survivor” means “respect its state of preservation and leave it alone, dummy!” If you require perceived perfection, search for keyword “rotisserie” instead; it can be cross referenced with “inaccurate”.

  13. Idiot Boy

    There isn’t a darn thing wrong with that carpet. It’s original, only slightly faded and in excellent shape with the priceless smell of old car. Replacing it with an inaccurately reproduced PRC made rug would be heresy. “Survivor” means “respect its state of preservation and leave it alone, dummy!” If you require perceived perfection, search for keyword “rotisserie” instead; it can be cross referenced with “inaccurate”.

  14. Bhowe Member

    Thank goodness nobody has yet suggested an LS swap. To me this engine and plain appearance makes this quite desirable, even though I’m more into 80s cars vs 60s. Keep it stock and the owner will.get a lot of attention. Lots of v8 cars out there already.

    Like 1
  15. Thomas Haywood

    Super nice car. This is the Sprint Option 6 – the Quadra jet 4 barrel 10 – 5 to 1 compression with a hot cam . Take a close look at the bottom of the front rocker , just behind the front wheel . That badge says : O H C 6 and was only on the Sprint Option cars. I still have one from my first new car – a 68 Lemans , Verdoro green , white interior, the hot 6 with a 3 speed Hurst , a notch back bench seat . A very very fun car for a young father of two. Owned it 7 years , drove it 105,000 trouble free miles . I would buy this in a heart beat but alas – I am blessed to already own two classics – no more room at the Inn and the wife says no. A fine car at a very fair price .

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