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A Buyer's Guide to Getting a Used Pontiac LeMans

So, you want to buy a used Pontiac LeMans. That’s great, but when you consider the fact that Pontiac has been out of business for more than ten years now, how are you supposed to know what you should look for in a used car that hasn’t been produced in 28 years? It all starts by asking yourself some important questions. These are largely the same questions you would ask any time you think about buying something that’s used. However, it’s even more important when you consider the fact that the Pontiac LeMans is a true classic that is highly sought after. In addition, it’s also a car that hasn’t been produced in decades. It was out of its prime long before Pontiac made the decision to stop producing it. As a result, there are a lot of things that you have to carefully consider before you make the decision to buy one of these classics.

The Pontiac LeMans in Its Heyday

You might find it hard to believe now, but when the Pontiac LeMans was first produced, it wasn’t a car that really caught the attention of car lovers and passersby alike. As a matter of fact, most people considered it a bit plain. As such, it was largely passed up for the sportier looking cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. The thing that saved it from being discontinued was the fact that it was also more affordable than either one of its main competitors. Pontiac had to find a way to generate interest in the car or they would be forced to halt production, so they slashed the prices dramatically. When the car was introduced in 1962, it could be had for just over $2,000. It was far cheaper than a Mustang, so more people eventually bought it. Even today, the car can sometimes be found for far less than a comparable Mustang or Camaro. Prices have gone up, to be sure. That said, you just might be fortunate enough to find a LeMans that doesn;t empty out your bank account.

What Should You Know About Specific Models?

The Pontiac LeMans was produced from 1962 to 1981, and then resurrected in 1988 until the model was permanently discontinued in 1993. If you want a true classic, you’ll need to find one of the earlier models. The true legends were made during the 1960’s. Keep in mind, the models that were produced from 1988 on were a far different animal than the ones which had been manufactured earlier. If you are going to go to the trouble of buying a used Pontiac LeMans, you should aim for one made prior to 1981. Unless you just have an absolute love for the later models and you’ve dreamed of having one for most of your adult life, you should probably either search for a classic or save your money. It’s also worth noting that the looks of the car changed drastically with the 1977 model year. The car that had always looked fast and furious ended up looking like a cereal box on wheels, one that got progressively shorter with each passing year.

The Challenges of Being a LeMans Owner

As it turns out, there are some issues associated with owning a Pontiac LeMans that seem to permeate the car as a whole. For example, the engine mounts aren't strong enough to hold the engine in place when the clutch is released. This results in an engine that shakes the entire car when pulling away from red lights and stop signs. In fact, the shaking can be so severe that it actually causes fuel to spill out of the carburetor and into the engine compartment. That sounds bad enough in and of itself, but there are more issues that a number of LeMans owners have complained about over the years. The cars tend to burn oil rather excessively, so much so that it's necessary to add one or two quarts of oil in between oil changes. If you fail to check the oil regularly, you might end up driving a car that doesn't have enough oil to keep the engine operating without seizing up. Some drivers also reported issues with weak shock mounts and even transmission problems. As a general rule, a number of LeMans owners have complained that the car shakes so violently at speed that it's almost impossible to control it.

What is the Pontiac LeMans Worth Today?

Given the fact that the car has a number of issues that most “car people” are well aware of, even the classic Pontiac LeMans can often be had for far less than most other classic automobiles, especially where muscle cars are considered. Where you might expect to pay well over $50,000 for a Mustang Fastback, you can still get a Pontiac LeMans for somewhere between $20,000 and $35,000, depending on the exact model in question. Of course, cars that have been well-maintained mechanically as well as aesthetically will bring more money than those that need a lot of work. If you're talking about a 1964 model that's in near-perfect condition, you should expect to shell out somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000.

There is no mistaking the fact that the Pontiac LeMans has a classic look that is almost instantly recognizable. For that reason alone, some people are drawn to the car. Others had one when they were young and there is still some part of them that wants to relive the days of their youth. If you have been thinking about purchasing one of these cars, the best thing you can do is take your time, do your homework and find one that has been well maintained. Be sure to ask about the problems that are commonly experienced with these cars. Find out how much cars in comparable condition are selling for in your area so you can make sure you don't pay too much. If you do all of these things, you just might find one that you can enjoy owning.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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