Tempting Tempest: 1965 Pontiac

1965 Pontiac Tempest

I’m kind of surprised someone hasn’t already turned this ’65 Pontiac Tempest into a GTO clone, but somehow it has survived without having an engine swap or GTO badges installed. It is a base Tempest, so perhaps that’s why no one tried to turn it into a Goat. When I say it’s a base car, I mean it is a base model with the 215 cui straight six. The seller doesn’t offer any information about the condition of the engine, but given the rusty floors, I would assume it is also in poor shape. I doubt there are many people out there that would want to fully restore this car, but if you are looking to build your own GTO, this one might be a good starting point. Since it will need new floors and just about everything else, I wouldn’t feel bad modifying it. And if the body is as solid as it appears in photos, you might actually be able to keep the rough look and have one unique looking Poncho! You can find this Pontiac here on eBay in Nevada City, California with a $2,200 BIN and bidding at $1,400. So would you turn this Tempest into a GTO clone or would you keep the straight six for something a bit different?


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  1. moosie Craig

    Why bother with a 389, if yer gonna go, GO BIG, how about a Pontiac 455, Inject it, automatic overdrive ,,,,,,,,,,,, Vio’la excellent cruiser.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I agree – restomod it.
      Being more of a Mopar, I’ve always liked the idea of taking an everyday Satellite and turning it a Road Runner killer.The same applies here.

  2. sunbeamdon

    Let’s rejuvenate an old tradition – keep the six, build it out, dual carbs, cam, split the manifold, add burned-out glass-packs and scare the bejeezus out of the masses!

  3. JW

    I had a 64 Tempest with a 6 banger, it was my mom’s way of passing a car down through all of us kids that we wouldn’t get killed by driving fast. I’m with Craig beef up the front suspension, drop in a 455 with some headers and flowmasters and a OD trans while upgrading the peg leg rearend to a 3:75 traction loc and then leave it as a Tempest.

  4. booya

    If it’s the OHC 6, I’d find that a lot more interesting than either a 389 or a 455. I’m probably in the minority on that, however.

    • Stephen

      Unfortunately it’s not. The OHC engine came out in ’66.

  5. Chris A.

    Nope, another vote for the OHC 6 in a Tempest Sprint with a 4 speed. C & D did a story of an XK-E with a Weber equipped Pontiac 6 instead of the Jag engine. Neat swap.

  6. Fred

    My problem with leaving it as a Tempest is I’ve just never cared for that grill. RE: making a clone…were some GTO’s post models?

  7. Banged my head

    Personally I am a ford guy but I have always liked the Pontiac 400 motor. Don’t know much about the 389 and found the 455 the be unreliable because I had them in my jet boat and they didn’t hold up at all. I would dump the six ,drop in a 400 add a 4 speed and leave it a Tempest. Why not have something different, because all you see is goats.

  8. pontiactivist

    I agree the 400 is a better motor than the 455. Bigger main bearing journals. I would do a 400 stroked to some ridiculous size (488) with a 4speed posi rear with some good gears and leave it a tempest. Maybe a gto good and grills to make it more eye appealing but not clone it. So much can be done with this body style.

  9. John

    Am I the only one who noticed the bullet hole in the windshield???

    • JW

      John you got me on that one, looking at everything but that, that’s ok if it lodged in the seat and didn’t go through the floor, windshields are out there and as long as there’s no dead body in the trunk.

  10. Zenaldo

    A guy could LS motor it with a 6 spd and have a lot of dependable power..although the 389 with 3 deuces with a 4spd ate up many rear tires in my youth…

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