Dusty Rope Drive: 1961 Pontiac Tempest

The early 1960’s were a time of experimentation for GM.  One only needs to recall how radical the newly released Corvair was to understand what was going on in the design halls at Detroit iron.  While the Corvair went on to a 10 year production streak, the equally radical Pontiac Tempest only managed a 3 year run before converting back to conventional power train configurations.  Find this 1961 Pontiac Tempest for sale in Tulsa, OK for $2,250 via craigslist. 

At the time, Pontiac’s chief designer was none other that John Z. Delorean who would later become famous for the stainless steel DMC-12 and a widely publicized arrest and ensuing legal battle.  Although the Tempest was a shared Y-platform over other GM lines, it received a unique power train configuration with a rear mounted trans-axle assembly and an arched shaft connecting the engine to the rear mounted transmission.  This configuration was know as “Rope Drive” and helped earn Car of the Year accolades from Motor Trend Magazine.

This example is a first year production model and looks to have survived very well.  Interior bits are remarkably preserved for a 56 year old automobile.  Rodent infestations are more common with cars this age that have been in long term storage, but this one seems to have been spared.

The seller discloses some rust on the lower panels and an older re-paint, but overall the car looks complete and worthy of resurrection.  The example is listed as being equipped with the 3.2L inline 4-cylinder engine configuration.  

2K for a unique piece of Pontiac history seems like a bargain.  Some TLC might get this car moving again and help preserve it for years to come.  Rarely seen these days, it would be a neat entry point into classic car ownership.  

See another radical American 60’s design looking for some TLC? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

While officially only 10 days into winter, Glenn is already sick of shoveling snow and yearns to be behind the wheel of a classic in warmer weather.