5k: Trophy 4 Banger: 1962 Pontiac Tempest

When Pontiac were developing their first generation Tempest, they needed a small displacement, frugal engine for the mass market, but didn’t have the budget for a full scale development effort.  So they took the 389 V8 and hacked one bank of 4-cylinders off, and created one of the strangest looking 4-cylinder engines in existence, the Trophy 4.  Find this 1962 Pontiac Tempest offered for $5,500 in Artesia, CA via craigslist.  Tip from FuelTruck.

The first generation Tempest was developed by a young John Z DeLorean who had yet to become the head of Pontiac division or start his own car company, get entrapped by a sting operation — you know the story.  The Tempest featured some radical stuff for the day, an inline-4 cylinder engine mated via a “rope drive” to a rear mounted transaxle, and 5 lug on 4.5 inch bolt pattern (a wheel configuration not shared by anything in the GM stable, but a few years later was used by the V8 Mustang).

Under the hood is a misshapen lump that looks like a V8 that has been
given a unilateral mastectomy…which is essentially what the Pontiac
engineers did.  All the V8 smoothness was replaced with the inherent
imbalance of a 3.2 liter inline-4 and power was transferred via
Pontiac’s rope drive to the rear mounted transaxle.  The fact that the
Trophy 4 weighed 200 lbs more than the optional Buick 215 alloy V8 is
truly ironic.   No word from the seller if this is a 115, 140, and 166 horsepower version, depending on which carb and compression ratio was used from the factory.

This Tempest is shifted with an automatic transmission, which is going to make it slower, but its not like the manual transmission version was going anywhere quickly anyway.  It should be faster than an automatic transmission equipped Covair from the same era…but…that isn’t saying much.

See another ’62 for the Mrs?  tips@dailyturismo.com