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History of the 1964-1967 Pontiac LeMans
This era of the Pontiac Tempest and upscale LeMans was a huge turning point for Pontiac. Fickle buyers had once again demanded larger “compacts” and so, the “intermediate” A-body car was born at GM, which included the new Chevrolet Chevelle and Malibu and which also replaced the prior BOP’ers. In order to more easily produce the cars at the Divisional home plants, these cars were developed with full perimeter frames, and Pontiac also tooled up a version of the nearly new Chevrolet six for their own use with their own exclusive displacement of 215 cubic inches.
The already venerable 326 cubic inch V-8 was optional at low cost, and many such LeMans cars were so equipped. A conventional driveline with transmission behind the engine meant that the cars were easier to service and less expensive to build, and this also meant that even more powerful engines could be shoe-horned into the engine bay (see GTO). In fact, for 1964 and 1965, the renowned and powerful GTO was merely an option in the LeMans series, even while LeMans was merely a trimline in the Tempest. Many of these cars have been “cloned” to GTO status over the years, but this takes nothing away from the fact that they are collectible either way.
The 1967 cars lost the Chevrolet-based six and instead Pontiac advertising and marketing started to really push their all-new, exclusive, overhead camshaft inline sixes, including a very “hot” 215 hp Sprint version with Rochester Quadrajet carburetor, hot cam timing and high RPM capabilities. Being far lighter than the base 230 hp, 326 V-8 cars, the “Sprint Six OHC” equipped cars could handle well and were quite fast. This engine was shared with the new Firebird.
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