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Hot Rods 1962 pontiac tempest

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dogwalkin, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. dogwalkin
    Joined: Jan 17, 2013
    Posts: 91

    dogwalkin
    Member
    from tn

    So it looks like very soon I will be taking ownership of a 62 tempest. It will run and the trans seems to work but it needs brake work for sure. I have no problems making any repairs needed but what I would like to know is there anything special I should know when owning or working on one of these. I understand the engine and that it's half of a 389. I somewhat understand the transaxle. I am quite familiar with pontiac as I own 2 others.

    In just looking for some of the things you find out once you really start digging into one. Or maybe you owned one and have a cool story.

    Sent from my VS990 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  2. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,331

    sunbeam
    Member

    The transaxle is pretty much the same as a Corvair and front suspension. The drive shaft is a pain to deal with. The motor is a shaker but not as bad as the V6 that was used in the buick.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
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  3. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,794

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    Funny story, in 1999 when I was doing my g.m. vette certifications they had a new vette on the lift and one of the main Chevy guys was there telling us how fantastic the new vettes were.

    He starts in about how innovative and ground breaking corvette is for running a rear transaxle and how other u.s. makers will be envious at which point I've had enough, Gary my instructor is across the room. I look over at him while pointing at the trans axle and yell " hey Gary! Trans axle, 1962 Pontiac tempest right!? " Gary grins and yells back " right, 62 Pontiac tempest".

    The head Chevy guy shuts up, dirty look and storms out the door, other guys start laughing and Gary ask me "you do that on purpose" and I smiled and replied "of course"....
     
  4. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 906

    RidgeRunner
    Member
    from Western MA

    Be aware the transaxle alters the CG and handling somewhat. Hit a bump while rounding a corner on a wet or slippery road and the rear end will "step out" quicker than you would expect from a normal car of the era. ...........and I had been pre warned by the owner when I first got behind the wheel back in the mid '60's......

    Ed
     

  5. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 594

    leon bee
    Member
    from Arkansas!

    Those cars are easy to wreck. First one I ever wrecked...............course I was only 13.
     
  6. gbazinet
    Joined: Jun 27, 2017
    Posts: 7

    gbazinet

    Not looking to derail the thread, but I also recently picked up a '62 Buick Special. I believe these cars share the same platform (GM Y platform?) Would this have the same transaxle? Also, what motor is in your Temptest?
     
  7. Similar body style, but not the same. No transaxle. No IRS.
    4 cylinder, (194 1/2) , as stated.
     
  8. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 1,143

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Man, now you've got me flashing back to "My Cousin Vinny." Notable for the pivitol role of a Pontiac Tempest, and also for the last performance of Fred Gwynne (aka Herman Munster).
     
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  9. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 10,007

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nice comparison but the Corvette had a wee bit better driveshaft design.......like straight.
     
  10. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,973

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Arnie Beswick liked 'em - he stuffed 421 Super Dutys in them. Mickey Thompson spent years working with them, & built a fabulous digger.
    As sold new, they were another of GM's compact/intermediate cars sent to the public to field test ...
    one of the things folks learned early on was not to go into a corner too fast and let off the gas, because the car tipped over .... the 9'' brakes are cute, too. And the rope - don't forget the rope drive.
    If you have to pull the flywheel, get a jack or a husky helper.
    There's a 10.25:1 comp., 4 barrel version of the engine. A 4 gear, well tuned unit is an awful lot of fun as the station wagons will bounce the right front wheel on the 1-2 shift. Super Duty parts were listed in some Pontiac catalogs.
     
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  11. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 594

    leon bee
    Member
    from Arkansas!

    My father was really pissed. Car was only a year old when I stole it out of the garage and totaled it. Thirty or forty years later I found a little article somewhere saying, hell, it wasn't MY fault..........was those damn GM engineers.
     
  12. ss823
    Joined: Aug 10, 2015
    Posts: 14

    ss823
    Member

    my first car was a 63 le mans. I would not want be in need of a trans & or rearend for one now . mine needed both & they were already hard to find around 1967. also be aware that the lugs on the drivers side were left hand thread. ( I broke about 3 before I figured that one out) SS
     
  13. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 27,464

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    post a pic of the Tempest - not everyone knows what they look like - friend's Dad had one with factory 4-speed / 4 barrel carb on it - was really fast - look at what Mickey Thompson did with them - as for brakes, they were lousy from the factory.
     
  14. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,250

    dan c
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    i googled these pics of the car/engine. i recall that pontiac eventually offered the 215 aluminum v8. the '63 model still had the transaxle but the 326 engine. wonder if ralph nader was down on these cars, too? Scan0034.jpg
     
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  15. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    RichFox
    Member Emeritus

    I bought a '63 new with the four cylinder engine. It was a good little car.The only thing about it was that the cam chain whipped around a lot due to it being a four. Or so it was said. At any rate they have bumpers in the timing cover to keep the chain from whipping around to much. Mine broke the steel mounts for the bumpers at about 12,000 miles. Chain got real loose. Made noise. Not that hard to fix. But I don't think you can buy new bumpers today. After that I changed mine at 10,000 miles.
     
  16. Poncho60
    Joined: Jan 23, 2011
    Posts: 259

    Poncho60
    Member
    from N Illinois

    Lots of info available on these (61-63) on the Ames Performance site. Get on the forums and check out the 61-63 Tempest / Lemans section.
     
  17. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    There was a lot of innovation in American cars especially GM until Nader shut them down. The Tempest was a good looking economical car with a unique drive train. Nearly eliminated the trans hump and driveshaft tunnel giving more interior leg room. 4 wheel independent suspension all on coil springs should give a good ride for a small car. Rear swing axles, not so great in hard cornering but should be no problem in normal driving. In abnormal driving be sure you have the stock length shocks (may not be available anymore) or tie down the axles so they can't tuck under.
     
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  18. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 10,007

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Arnies did not have trans axles in them. They were straight axles in the form of 57-63 Pontiac full size cars..
     
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  19. Boss 302 Mustang
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 53

    Boss 302 Mustang
    Member
    from Duxbury MA

    The original factory '63 A/FX super duty Tempests came with a special 4 speed transaxle originally but stuff kept breaking so guys went to the solid axle. I think Arlen Vanke was the first to put the solid axle in the '63. M/T used a solid axle in the '62 he built.
     
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  20. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,999

    stuart in mn
    Member

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  21. dogwalkin
    Joined: Jan 17, 2013
    Posts: 91

    dogwalkin
    Member
    from tn

    Thanks for all the replies. My goal when I get it home is to get it going and stopping reliably then just drive it. Its in fair condition with minimal rust. I think it will be a neat daily driver and we can hit some local cruise ins.

    Sent from my VS990 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  22. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,575

    chevy57dude
    Member

    Good on ya for a new/old ride. Grandpa bought a new '62 Buick Special. V6, air cooled 'Glide. Roomy for an ''economy'' car of it's day.
    You can have loads of fun decking the 4 out like a halved 389. Like a single M/T valve cover, and other goodies. Show us pix!
     
  23. dogwalkin
    Joined: Jan 17, 2013
    Posts: 91

    dogwalkin
    Member
    from tn

  24. Sorry, not a Glide... it's a "Dual Path Turbine Drive". No relation to a Powerglide.
    I have to correct that anywhere I can on the 'net. Big job, but somebody's got to do it.;)
     
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  25. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,575

    chevy57dude
    Member

    Good info, thanks! Always best to know what's correct. It's bad enough being from Pennsyltuckey.
     
  26. Yeah, I had one of those.... 4-dr wagon with the automatic; what a POS. Yep, they were very hard on cam chains because of the 4-cylinder harmonics, and I found out quickly that cam chain parts were unobtanium. And the 389 parts fit, but weren't heavy-duty enough; the four used a special chain, sprockets, and the mentioned tensioner assembly, all different from the V8 according to Pontiac.

    After breaking down one time too many, it went to the crusher...
     
  27. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,050

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My roommate had one when we were in trade school that he caught a railroad track with the front crossmeber at a crossing one night and it should have been totaled as the insurance spent more on it trying to fix it than it sold for new. It bent the original drive shaft and they couldn't get one that didn't vibrate. Now I figure it bent more than just the drive shaft.
    When I went to work for JT Carpenter in Waco in the early 70's one of the first cars I had to work on was an Early Tempest that someone had stripped the engine, front suspenion and rear suspension out of and put in an I beam front end with leaf springs in the front and a Pontiac or Olds axle in the back on leaf springs with a 389 and automatic under the hood. I had to hook up the engine and wiring, get the brakes to work and some other details and finally got it running and the owner picked it up and to this day I don't remember ever seeing it again.
     
  28. That was the formula back then. Big Pontiac rear,and leaf springs sticking out back. Another problem with the design. There's nothing normal about them.Everything is in slightly the wrong place. Even the driveshaft tunnel is wrong.
    My advice for anyone contemplating owning one. If it runs, drive it. If it doesn't , leave it for the resto museum conversation piece market.
     
  29. wisdonm
    Joined: Jun 20, 2011
    Posts: 444

    wisdonm
    Member

    I had a '62 Tempest LeMans convertible 444, 4 cylinder, 4bbl, and 4 speed. I am one of the few people that actually autocrossed one of these things. Be sure to ADD a camber compensator. GM decided it was better to save $5 per car than make the Tempest and Corvair safer. Racing VW Beetles used these also, because of similar rear suspension.

    The biggest problem that I had was the shift lever box broke off the frame. I was driving along and all of a sudden the shift lever dropped down. I didn't have access to welding equipment at the time, so I just pushed the box back into place and hose clamped it into place.
     
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  30. Back in the late 80's I had a friend from Poland who came to live in the US for a few years to make some money and then go home. He lived with his aunt who had a '62 Tempest with the 4 banger so she gave it to him for the time he was here. I don't recall exactly why he ended up buying another car, a 74 Maverick. He drove the Tempest for quite a while but I don't think he liked it much. It was all original and seemed to still run and drive OK but it was a nasty sounding thing compared to other 4 bangers at the time.
     

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