READER AD: 1961 Pontiac Tempest

Asking: $1,650

Reader David G found and purchased this Pontiac Tempest with plains of having it restored. A friend who restores cars offered to take the job on, but unfortunately, they passed away before getting it done. David has realized he isn’t going to get around to restoring it and would rather see it go to a fellow reader than to let it sit. If you’d love to take this Tempest on, you can find it here on craigslist in Atlanta, Georgia for $1,650.

When the Tempest debuted in 1961, it was a technical masterpiece with a near 50/50 weight distribution, four-wheel independent suspension and an impressive amount of legroom for its class. It was the brainchild of John DeLorean during his time as Pontiac’s Cheif Engineer. The design combined parts from a variety of GM products including sheet metal from the Oldsmobile F-85 and even some Corvair components.

Power came from a rather interesting 4-cylinder engine. Known as the Trophy 4, it was literally the right half of a 389 V8. It displaced 195 cui and was so off-balance that it required massive rubber motor mounts to keep things as smooth as possible. Power was sent to the rear-mounted transaxle via a curved torque shaft, which Pontiac branded as Rope-Drive. Power ratings for the 4-cylinder ranged from 110 to 166 horsepower. David didn’t say which one this is, but that’s definitely a single barrel carbureter currently installed so it’s likely one of the lower-rated versions. It’s believed to have just 11k miles on the engine, so hopefully, it doesn’t take much to get running.

David has a trailer full of parts, most of which are the original components that were removed from the car. He believes everything taken off the car is present, including the interior and trim.

Apparently, the underside had rust issues when the restoration work started, but it’s already been repaired and is said to be in good shape. There’s some surface rust to be dealt with and the roof has a dent from a tree limb falling on it. So, there’s a fair amount of work to be done here, but first-year Tempests are quite rare. If you’ve been on the hunt for an interesting and unique project to take on, this one might just be the classic for you!

  • Asking Price: $1,650
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Mileage: 11,111
  • Title Status: Clean
  • VIN: 161P20707
Asking: $1,650

List your car here on Barn Finds for only $50!

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  1. lc

    Unfortunately I feel this car has had it. Great for parts yet putting this lass back on the road again will yield nothing but expenditure. It would need someone with a passion for these models, yet at this price there are others to be had that don’t need a ouija board to figure out what goes where. Just moving it all would be a chore to those less enamored.

  2. newfieldscarnut

    A life size puzzle .

  3. Larry Tate

    Another one down and out.

  4. Ralph

    A dismantled low end sedan puzzle kit…….I don’t think paying me $1650 is enough to take it, maybe $2500.

  5. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. There was no reason for anybody wanting to start this project to take the suspension off. Fenders, doors and hood maybe. But what kinda fool makes it impossible to maneuver the car around the shop in preparation for the important work to be done? This sort of thing makes me mad. From experience the next owner has no level set to figure out what the previous project owner did or didn’t do. A lot of second guessing, a waste of time and energy. When there are no wheels present you have no option but to recruit volunteers to get it loaded. Surprised the engine is still sitting between the front fenders. Wonder if it is loosely set in there?

  6. Doug

    Sadly, this car was not really worthy of restoration in the first place- a 4dr 4 cylinder sedan, which actually was more dangerous than the Corvair with which it shared rear suspension- the reason Nader attacked the Corvair instead of the Tempest was that the Corvair was more outside the appearance of the normal American sedan, and therefore an easier target. The Buick or Oldsmobile, in a 2 door version, MIGHT be worth restoring, although one would still likely spend more than the car would be worth when done.


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