The Pontiac Tempest is an old classic these days that for many, has drifted into a memory that only surfaces on the rare occasion when a restored version is seen driving down the road. This is a vehicle that was made from 1960 to 1970, then after a several-year hiatus, was brought back from 1987 through 1991. For those of you who were tempest fans, we invite you to take a stroll down memory lane to review the 10 best Pontiac Tempest models of all time.
10. 1961 Pontiac Tempest
The 1961 Pontiac Tempest was released in the Fall of 1960 as a 1961 model year. This was the year that the Tempest made its debut. It was a delightful change in a car classified as a compact model to offer drivers an economical and smaller driving option. The new design became popular but only about 2,400 were ever produced. If you find one of these rare classics, you have a piece of history in your garage. The most beloved characteristics of the 1961 Tempest were its power and great acceleration. For its time, it was a peppy car with an innovative Y unibody design. It was equipped with a standard four-cylinder engine paired with an automatic transmission.
9. 1961 Pontiac Tempest LeMans Coupe
The first Tempest was offered in a higher-end trim that drivers found appealing. The LeMans trim provided drivers with the option of adding leather bucket seats, which gave the vehicle a sportier and higher-end feeling. There were just a few of the 1961 Pontiac Coupes that offered the upgrade to the LeMans trim and if you can lay your hands on one of them today, it’s a rare classic car that is likely worth a small fortune on the classic car market.
8. 1961 Pontiac Tempest Safari Station Wagon
The 1961 Pontiac Tempest was made available in a station wagon body styling. This was a hit with families with kids because it provided the necessary room for everyone to fit along with the week’s groceries in the back. It became an attractive option for families looking for a smaller station wagon with ample cargo space. This model was perfect for taking out on a road trip across the country with the family to visit the grandparents.
7. 1963 Pontiac Tempest Convertible
The Tempest received some updates in 1963 that made it a notable year in the history of the model. The first convertible model of the Tempest was offered in 1962 and became a hit in 1963. The LeMans was now a separate series of vehicles as the upgrade offered a little more comfort and sportiness. In 1963, Pontiac made some changes that improved the handling of the car with a transaxle redesign. It was heavier and a little larger than the previous compact versions, however, still classified as a compact vehicle. The model also received a new 326 cubic inch 5.3-liter V8 engine that produced even more torque to the tune of 352 lb-ft which was substantial during this era. With performance improved this was a popular model for 1963.
6. 1963 Pontiac Tempest Super Duty
The Super Duty version of the Pontiac Tempest is now a rare and valuable model. There were only 14 of them ever produced. They were classified as an NHRA factory experimental vehicle that was made with the capacity for clutchless shifting for the racing industry. One of these rare cars was auctioned in 2008 and went for a price of more than $225,000.
5. 1968 Pontiac Tempest
The 1968 Pontiac Tempest was offered in a 2 door sport coupe. It was equipped with a 6-cylinder 175 horsepower engine and a new style. The previously vertical headlight stacks were now laid side by side with a sloped rear deck that was shorter and a decidedly different appearance. This was a big year of change for the model which was available in a choice of three times including the Tempest, the Tempest Custom, and the higher-end LeMans trim.
4. 1969 Pontiac Tempest
In 1969 the Tempest received just one change. This was the removal of the vent windows that were previously a part of the hardtop coupe design. There were a few minor updates made to the model year, but nothing noteworthy. The biggest change was the renaming of the Tempest Custom lineup to the Custom S. The engine did receive an increase of 5 horsepower, but drivers liked the new locking steering column and new placement of the ignition switch.
3. 1970 Pontiac Tempest
The 1970 edition of the Tempest would be the last year that the model would be produced for more than a decade. This is a memorable model that marked the end of an era. It would be replaced by the T-37 series and fade into oblivion until Pontiac would resurrect it again in the latter part of the 1980s.
2. 1987 Pontiac Tempest
1987 marked the year that the Tempest was temporarily resurrected. The car entered its fourth generation with this model. It featured a debut in Canada and Israel only as the third generation. It was available in the base trim and the upgraded LE trim.
1. 1991 Pontiac Tempest
The Pontiac Tempest made its last run with the 1991 model. This was the last year that the model was ever produced. It was based on the US Corsica LT. The model featured an updated grille, and new taillights along with new wheel options, a metric instrument cluster for Canada, and a brief selling period in Israel. The later generation of the Pontiac Tempest was not made available in the United States market.