Retro Touches: 1976 Pontiac LeMans Sport Coupe

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Customizing is almost as old as the car itself. Owners endeavor to place their mark on their pride and joy, with some attempts more successful than others. Whether you feel the ones applied to this 1976 Pontiac LeMans Sport Coupe “work” will be a matter of opinion. It is a solid, highly-optioned classic that presents well and needs a new home. It is listed here on eBay in South Elgin, Illinois. The seller has set their BIN at $18,000 with the option to make an offer. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder TommyT-Tops for spotting this fascinating retro classic.

I always place great store in a long-term ownership history, and this classic delivers. It has been part of the same family since new, with the owner as its custodian for more than forty years. The seller acknowledges that this Pontiac received a repaint in its original shade of Durango Bronze in 1990, and it has withstood the test of time remarkably well. The paint continues to shine impressively, with no noticeable flaws or defects. The panels are straight, the gaps are consistent, and this classic is rust-free. The exterior shows no problems, while the underside shots reveal nothing but the occasional dusting of surface corrosion. The original owner ordered the car with Rally II wheels, and these reconditioned rims are in good order, wrapped in a set of BF Goodrich tires. The raised white letters are one of the features typically seen in the 1970s and 1980s, as were the rear window louver, dual-panel glass sunroof, and the hood scoop that looks like it started life on a Trans Am. Some will lament the upgrades, while others will applaud the seller’s bravery. They will undoubtedly draw the public’s attention, particularly those who grew up around vehicles with these types of changes. The trim is in good order, and the tinted glass looks flawless.

The original owner clearly focused on comfort when ordering this LeMans, which is reflected in the original Build Sheet and Dealer Invoice that form part of this car’s excellent collection of documentation. They went to town with air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a power driver’s seat, a remote trunk release, cruise control, dual remote exterior mirrors, a rear defogger, a Rally gauge cluster with the factory tachometer, bucket seats, a console, intermittent wipers, and an AM/FM radio/8-track player. Most of these items remain intact, although the original sound system made way for a radio/cassette player and an oh-so-1980s graphic equalizer. Additional mismatched gauges are mounted under the dash, but I don’t feel the sound system upgrades or the gauges suit this Pontiac’s classy interior. Beyond that, this interior presents well, with its Buckskin vinyl upholstered surfaces free from wear and damage. The seller cut various surfaces to install speakers for the new stereo, and reversing those changes would require the buyer to locate replacement trim items. Otherwise, the dash and console are in good order, and there is no evidence of crumbling plastic.

The original owner didn’t restrict their pen-wielding to interior features when completing the Order Form for this Sport Coupe. The drivetrain came in for attention when they selected the 400ci V8, a three-speed automatic transmission, a Safe-T-Track rear end, and power assistance for the steering and brakes. That is an impressive package, although emission regulations meant they only had 185hp under their right foot. The journey down the ¼-mile would have taken 18.1 seconds, which was about what buyers expected from this type of vehicle in the mid-1970s. However, this LeMans should be able to blow that figure into the weeds courtesy of a recent professional engine rebuild that will have unlocked extra power. The engine received a 0.030″ overbore as part of a rebuild, the compression ratio was lifted to 9:1, and the seller selected TRW forged pistons, a Competition Cam, Harland Sharp roller rockers, an HEI ignition, and an Edelbrock 600cfm carburetor atop an intake from the same manufacturer to help this car deliver. They also added a 3,000 stall converter and a 3.90 rear end. That is a recipe for a significant power boost, although the air cleaner setup makes me believe that the hood scoop is probably more decorative than functional. This work has borne fruit, with the seller stating the car runs and drives well. For those seeking instant gratification, this classic is a prime candidate.

I acknowledge that the changes made to this 1976 Pontiac LeMans Sport Coupe won’t appeal to everyone, and some people may choose to reverse a few of them. However, it provides a snapshot of the customizing scene during the 1970s and 1980s, and enthusiasts wishing to rewind the clock to their youth could find it irresistible. I would probably make changes to achieve a neater appearance, especially to its interior. Would you modify anything, or would you enjoy the attention this classic would undoubtedly receive in its current form?

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  1. KC JohnMember

    The realistic brand stereo cracks me up. This thing screams 80s and I really appreciate it. I’m pretty sure me and this guy hung out on base a few times. Just kidding. Very representative of an era when future collectability wasn’t a concern. I enjoyed it then and now. Good luck to both seller and new owner.

    Like 22
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      Why Tandy decided to call its line of consumer electronics “Realistic” eludes me, even to this day. I owned a few of their products, some were of very good quality, and I even worked for the Shack for a while, years ago.

      Like 4
      • Jeff

        Because the sound was so … realistic !!

        Like 4
  2. Melton Mooney

    I’ll never forget the guy telling me about the ‘graphite equa-laser’ (sic) he put in his Datsun.

    Like 10
  3. Tony Primo

    Most of the custom touches can be returned back to stock. Too bad about the his and hers sunroofs. Not a cheap fix and I would never enjoy the car with that over my head.

    Like 4
  4. Big C

    The back window slats would hit the metal recycler, ASAP. You’d have to live with the goofy sunroofs. The stereo is an easy fix. The rest of the car is perfect. If I was a Pontiac guy? This would be one for me.

    Like 6
  5. ACZ

    Is this a re-run?

    Like 0
  6. Jack M.

    And who doesn’t love yellow traction bars?

    Like 6
    • W72WW3

      ” where are we traveling to today, Mr. Peabody?”
      “To the mid eighties; Sherman!”

      Like 10
  7. Terrry

    The “Colonade” body style does it for me, Pontiac seemed to pull off the best ones too. It was a very rare case of safety requirements actually causing a good-looking body to be built.

    Like 3
  8. Michael Berkemeier

    I love this thing…except for that god-awful sunroof.

    Like 4
  9. Robt

    Seems pricy for a late 70’s mid-size Pontiac, especially being ‘customized’.

    Like 0
  10. Guido Sarducci

    You in a heap o trouble now, boy!
    -Sheriff Buford T. Justice

    Like 10
  11. Troy

    When GM got into this body style I lost interest I just don’t care for it but someone else will enjoy it

    Like 0
  12. John Oliveri

    Need a garbage dumpster, the hood, the snorkel, the louvers on the rear glass, the gauges, that Mickey Mouse realistic radio, those cut door panels, those horrible gauges, this was a nicely optioned Lemans I owned a 73 Luxury Lemans all the options, beautiful car, this is a joke out of a JC Whitney catalog, OMG save this beautiful car, if I had the extra room I would have the owner remove all that junk and ship me the car without it

    Like 2
  13. Troy McCutcheon

    This was my first car, but mine was silver with red interior,also came with Rally wheels but they were swapped for the Snowflake wheels off of a 76 Firebird. The guy had to have those Rally’s. I think I got the better part of that deal. This LeMans has sure brought back lot’s of memories.

    Like 2
  14. Bob C.

    Good Colonnade example. GM’s best cars of the 70s. Pontiac was the go to for performance during the time and they held onto it the best they could. Long live Poncho!

    Like 3
  15. Marvin K Foss Jr

    The panel gap on the front end is WAY OFF!!!
    Last time I seen a gap like that was……
    It’s light they took the whole front end off & missed hooking it up by one hole. HOLY CRAP!!
    Last time I seen a gap like that was……

    Like 0
  16. Jim in FL

    Straight out of my high school parking lot! Even ditched the AC compressor for weight savings. Ladder bars, headers, I love it! Whoever buys it – please don’t change a thing.

    Like 1
  17. John Oliveri

    PS I didn’t notice that horrible sunroof, car is ruined unless you wanna invest a few thousand more to have a proper power moonroof installed, which wasn’t available in 76 on this car, it was a sunroof, and if that hole they cut for that junk is to big forgetaboutit

    Like 1
    • Terrry

      and, you can almost bet the thing is going to leak.

      Like 0
  18. P Mar

    that fake ziebart sunroof has to go you just ruined the whole car cutting a hole in the roof

    Like 2
  19. CenturyTurbo Coupe

    Taking off a QuadraJet 750 for a Carter 600 makes sense!

    Like 0

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