My grandfather and grandmother always drove Pontiacs, and I can remember my parents inheriting some of their hand-me-downs when I was a small child. My father had a ’54 Star Chief when I was a very young boy. Once I got older, I wanted to get a Pontiac of my own, but my taste leaned more toward the musclecar era.
In the summer of 2009, I came across a ’67 LeMans in Alliance, Ohio, that sounded like it was just what I wanted. I contacted the owner and drove the 600 miles round trip in an afternoon with $500 cash in hand so he would hold it for me if it was as good as he described. The frame was solid, as were most of the panels, though there was evidence of filler in a few areas. It no longer had its original 326 engine nor its original transmission, as it now had a ’71 Pontiac 350 and a Turbo 350 three speed automatic.
Overall, I knew it was a keeper with a lot of potential, so I gave him the $500 to hold it and came back two days later with my wife and two girls. The owner told me that in the nine years he had the ’67, it had never been more than 100 miles in any direction. We spent the night at a hotel so the girls could use the pool and made a mini-vacation out of the trip. Driving my new Pontiac back to Indiana with my family is one of my best memories, and it made the trip without missing a beat.
Since owning my LeMans, I’ve installed a new carburetor, manifold, brakes, water pump, hoses, thermostat, fan, and shroud. The heater core failed in the first summer, so I learned how to take off the front fender and replace it—an experience I hope I never have to repeat!
With the help of a friend who lent me his lift, I recently learned how to pull the engine so I could sand and paint the frame, firewall, and engine. I installed a new flywheel, starter motor, and motor mounts. Also, I replaced the oil pump, as the oil pan was dented from someone trying to jack up the engine. A new gas tank (and sending unit) were installed to replace the leaking one.
My future plans are to change the column shift to a floor shift with a console, swap out the transmission to a 200-4R, and switch the rear gears from 2.73 to 3.55.
When I sent the VIN to PHS Automotive Services, I learned that my LeMans was a Tempest Custom when it came off the line. I found it odd that someone along the way decided to clone it into a LeMans, but I’m going to leave it as it is.
We enjoy going to local cruise-ins as a family and even took our family Christmas picture in the Pontiac. We feel fortunate to have this driver, and I get a kick out of owning, driving, and maintaining a car that is two years older than I am!
In My Words spotlights reader experiences with their own Pontiacs in their own words. To be considered for publication, submit several high-quality color photos (if digital, each photo must be larger than 1 megabyte in JPG format—no other formats, please), your own Pontiac story (typed, approximately 500 words), your name, address, and telephone number to:
High Performance Pontiac Magazine
In My Words
c/o Christopher Phillip
9036 Brittany Way
Tampa, FL 33619
Please note: HPP pays $50 if your story is printed. A contract release and W-9 with your social security number will be required.