(first posted 7/2/2013) If you’re seeing a whole lot of similarity between the sheet metal (except the grille) of today’s ’62 Cutlass coupe and this ’62 Tempest, you’re not mistaken. In fact, now that I think of it, there’s little doubt that no other two GM cars from different divisions ever shared so much of the same body until we get into the modern badge-engineering era that started with the 1971 Pontiac Ventura, no less. But unlike later badge-engineered GM cars, this one was very different than its body donor under the skin.
I did a comprehensive story on the 1961-1963 Tempest here, covering John DeLorean’s ambitious attempt to incorporate independent rear suspension, high performance four cylinder engines and some other unique bits to distinguish Pontiac’s new compact from its Buick and Olds stablemates. Pontiac was originally planned to have a badge-engineered Corvair as its compact, but DeLorean was very skeptical of the Corvair rear engine’s effect on handling. So he cobbled up the Tempest, but had to use the Olds F-85’s sheet metal pretty much intact, due to budget constraints. And its 195 CID slant four was expediently created by deleting on of the cylinder banks of the 389 Pontiac V8, which allowed it use the hi-performance parts developed for the V8. The highest output versions sported 165 hp, pretty substantial for the day, and especially for a four. Of course, it wasn’t exactly a paragon of smooth running.
Our man about Seattle, ActuallyMike, shot this Tempest coupe sitting next to a fine old International pickup. I know one of you will tell us its year and the torque specs for its cylinder head from memory. In fact he’s from Seattle too, so maybe he knows this particular truck.