Nick Anderson is smiling once again after rebuilding his Tempest.
Here's the Tempest launching at Speedworld in 2005. Note the big Pontiac rear, and custom-
Rebuilt with the technical advice of Jess Tyree after the crash, Nick's '62 features a Jes
Building an A/FX Tempest LeMans was a lifelong dream for Nick Anderson of Riverside, California, but he never thought meeting and working with legendary racer and NHRA Class Record Holder, Jess Tyree, would be part of the experience. "In 1962, I was about 12 years old, and I tagged along with my older brothers to the drags," Nick recalls. "I remember Lions Drag Strip, Fontana Drag City, and Irwindale Dragstrip. There, I watched Jess Tyree race his '62 Pontiac Catalina Legal Stocker with aluminum fenders, and his '63 Tempest."
Racing Pontiacs was quickly ingrained in Nick. "When I was four years old, I remember my dad being a Pontiac man and moving the family from Kansas to Southern California, in a shiny new '55," he says. "As years went by, I learned a lot from my older brothers about Pontiacs and street racing. In 1966, I remember riding with my brother, Jon, and going to Jess Tyree's muffler shop in Santa Ana, where he was checking on his header order. Just being at the shop of Jess Tyree made quite an impression on me."
Nick's first Pontiac was a '57 Chieftain equipped with a 347 and a four-barrel. He raced on the streets and at Fontana, Irwindale, and Riverside. His next Pontiac was a '68 GTO, but he enjoyed it briefly, as raising a family soon took precedence and he retired from racing.
It wasn't until 1992 that he decided to return. "I traded a '62 Pontiac Catalina four-door station wagon for my niece's '62 Tempest LeMans," he says. "My original plan was to build a tribute car similar to the early-'60s A/FX Pontiacs, both in looks and equipment. I wanted it to be all PMD, including a big Pontiac rear housing with 3.42 gears and dual-quad carburetion."
When Nick got the Tempest LeMans, it was still running its factory-equipped 194ci Pontiac Indy four-cylinder motor with a one-barrel carburetor, a rear automatic transaxle, and a dash-mounted shifter lever. It was a daily driver with a rating of only 110 horsepower. The trim tag shows it was optioned with Caravan Gold Poly paint (code T) and Saddle (code 214) vinyl interior. Its base price was $2,186.
In 1998, Nick attended a barbecue held by auto painter, Alex Idzardi of Santa Ana, and Jess was there, displaying his '63 Tempest race car. Meeting him and listening to his old Pontiac stories of the '60s, Nick knew it was time to make his own dream come true by building his Tempest into an A/FX tribute race car.
He asked Jess how he built his A/FX Tempests in the early '60s. A friendship between the two men began, and Nick started learning from the master. He outfitted his Tempest with a narrowed '62 Pontiac full-size station wagon rear end with 3.42 gears, and a custom 4-inch driveshaft, and started racing.
Engine And Drivetrain
Dil Brandow, of Tulsa, assembled the motor. It began with a '69 428 4-bolt block (code XF) bored to 4.180, and a factory 4.00-inch crank turning Scat H-beam 6.625-inch rods and Ross forged flat-top pistons. The displacement is 440 ci. Kauffman aluminum high-port heads feature 56cc combustion chambers and flow 330 cfm at 0.600-inch lift. A set of 7/16-inch steel pushrods activate Scorpion 1.5 ratio roller rockers that compress Comp dual springs and open and close Ferrea 2.20/1.70-inch valves. A Comp custom grind solid roller cam turns 272/276-degrees duration at 0.050, provides 0.660/0.661-inch lift on a 108-degree LSA and was installed straight up.
Fuel is pulled from an 8-gallon fabricated aluminum fuel cell by a Holley 110-gph fuel pump and delivered through 1/2-inch stainless steel lines to the regulator, set at 9 psi. It's then routed to a Holley 1150 Dominator carb modified to 1180 cfm, with No. 86 jets, on a Victor intake.