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Tempting Project: 1963 Pontiac Tempest

1963 Pontiac Tempest

I’m sure many of our Pontiac fans know all about the ’63 Tempest 421 Super Duty cars. There were only 6 of them built for racing, but their success opened the door for the GTO. A few years back one of the 6 was saved from a crusher and was eventually sold for over $200k! Well this car isn’t one of those 6, but the seller had big plans for it. They were going to turn it into a 421 SD clone, but their wife caught wind of their plans and put an end to it. So they have listed this regular Tempest 326 project here on eBay in Jacksonville, Florida where it has a current bid of $660.

1963 Pontiac Tempest 326 Engine

The seller tries their best to connect this car with the Super Duty, but there really isn’t any connection. The SD cars were lightweight racing machines with a brutally powerful 421. This car on the other had has a heavy steel front end with a puny 326 V8. Of course the 326 did put out 260 horsepower and 350 pounds of torque, so it wasn’t all bad!

1963 Pontiac Tempest Trim Tag

I appreciate the seller’s desire to turn this into a SD clone, but personally I would enjoy it for what it was built to be. It wasn’t an all out race car, but a well balanced and fun to drive street car. Plus, turning it into a proper Super Duty wouldn’t be cheap or easy to do. I would rather just make this a nice driver with a few upgrades to make it more enjoyable to drive everyday.

1963 Pontiac Tempest 326

While I might be inclined to leave this car as a 326, that’s just my preference. So what would you want to do with it? Would you turn it into a 421 SD clone or would you leave it as a regular Tempest?


  1. Joe

    62-64 GM coupes had one of the greatest rooflines ever. Looks good across all their brands.

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  2. Ken

    Owned a ’63 LeMans in ’69-70, a 326 with 3 speed moved it along nicely, but the independent rear suspension with “rope drive” was not conducive to street racing, as I found out the hard way.

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  3. Frankie

    I read through the ad and yeah, the seller tries to connect his car with the 421 super duty cars, maybe it’s that he’s trying to show you the possibilities. Clones, tributes, etc… Don’t bother me like they do others, some people ar against it, besides, how many General Lee cars are necessary? I personally move past the ads quickly, don’t bother to even read them. Sure, it would be very cool to build a super duty car out of this one, but then what? All that money and time put into it, making it great, what then? Museum? Climate controlled storage? I love driving them, working on them.

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  4. BOP_GUY Greg Member

    I have a ’62 with the even more unusual 195ci 4 cylinder, mated with the high compression head and Holley 4 barrel. The two speed Powerglide is in the rear, power transferred by the “rope drive”. It’s a totally fun and unusual car, and like the ’63 above, I’m keeping it (mostly) original. Only 600 or so left on the road!

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  5. alabee

    My family had this as a Le Mans in gold with the 326. It was hard keeping the back end in.

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  6. David Conwill

    I think I’d split the difference with a Tri-Power 389, 4-speed and a narrowed Catalina rear axle.

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  7. Blindmarc

    Saw one listed awhile back that was a dust covered 326 4speed with tripower. I always liked these and would build one before a gto up to 67.

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  8. Ric Parrish

    David Conwill, I’m with you.

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  9. hhaleblian

    63 Lemans was my first car at 15 in 1966. Kissed in the front, 4 banger auto until we dropped in a 326 3spd. Car rocked with glass packs. But the spoiled rich kids at Hinsdale Central with their daddy bought goats, 442’s, vettes, would mop me up. At this stage of my life I realized I did all the heavy lifting and learned a ton. Those guys? Who knows or cares. I’d love another one just for nostalgia sake, just not this pos. Sellers posting, reasoning, and spelling pretty much moved me right along.

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  10. Bob

    I had a 1963 Lemans Conv. I rebuilt the auto trans and the 326. It looked fantastic. But was the biggest pain and pile i ever owed. It had vacumm issues and could not keep the trans shifting as designed. I spent so much money on that car i believe i am still paying for it to this day 35 years later. Wish it had been as good a car as it looked. I still love Pontiacs i have a 67 firebird conv. now.

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  11. GaryMc

    Those Super Duty cars also had a specific transaxle and they might as well be made of unobtainium. I know of a gentleman on northern Ca that has a couple of them as he used one in a late model Corvair with a front engine rear drive conversion.

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  12. Steven C

    I would want one of these with the 4bbl 4cyl and manual trans.

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  13. Jim

    The Little Indians club covers these cars, the 61-63 “ropeshaft” cars. Over 300 members now that want to help owners keep these cars on the roads.

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  14. kirk williams

    that’s a good car to start with in that is already has the V8 in it. so you can drop in a bigger 389 400 428 455 etc. and it’s bolt in. that rear transaxle has to go- they were a POS !! an idea that just didn’t work well.

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  15. Fred William Vincent

    Perfect body style, hood to trunk length proportions, Roof height to body, hint of a rear fin. Mine was a slant 4, four barrel, headers, 4 speed. After 5 transaxle four speed failures, Van Winkle Pontiac in Dallas quit repairing under warranty. They suspecting I was abusing it. Only tore up three transmissions after that. Iron four cylinder was indestructible. Good car for a teenager. When the 64 1/2 Mustang came out we thought it was ugly compared to the one year only 63 Tempest styling. Easy to out run their little 260 V8.

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