61 Pontiac Tempest Project

Projects & Restorations

  1. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    I have put this one off long enough.
    I am the owner of a 1961 Pontiac Tempest 4-door sedan.
    It has not run since the 70s when it was parked at my grandmother's house in west texas.

    When we sold grandma's place, I opted to trailer it up to north texas where it has sat under the eaves of the white barn at the estate for about 11 years.

    It has a trophy 4 engine (half a V-8) and is 195ci
    A 112 inch wheelbase.
    Manual shift
    'rope drive' with transaxle in the rear.

    Pictures to follow.

    Rats were living in it for a time, but I believe I've gotten all of them out.

    I have a key for the ignition but no key for the trunk and yes, the keys are different.

    I know the 'torque tube' underneath that contains the rope drive looks like it dropped down and pinched a 90 degree bend at the engine end.

    So I know I need the torque tube and the rope drive that goes in it.. which means I need a parts car or access to someone who can pull parts for me.

    Used to be a great place just north of me in Oklahoma that had plenty of tempest parts; however, about 2 years ago something happened and they closed up. My loss.
    Craigslist used to be a good place to locate tempest parts cars; however, with the change to charge $5 for ads, that source has about dried up.

    You guys up for walking on the wild side of an early model Pontiac 'orphan' build?

    JW
    (soon as I resize the pics, I'll post my pics).
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  2. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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  3. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    You can see where the rats chewed the hoses.

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    Lower, front right - battery holder is rusted bad.

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    Dirt dobbers have filled some holes (white) on the left side of the engine. The side where the spark plugs would go.

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    Looking at the left side of the engine compartment down to the ground, you can see the torque tube is bent.

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    Bent really bad.

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    backseat inside shot
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  4. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmmm, a slant 4:D

    You have a project and a half on your hands with that one!

    I keep being reminded of "My Cousin Vinny" and the courtroom scene where Mona Lisa Vito is testifying.:cool:
     
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  5. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    A cool little car for sure, but it needs "Divine intervention" or big $$$ thrown at it.
     
  6. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Thought I'd just blow the dirt out, buff out the paint job, and install a new drive line -- be on my way in a couple of hours.

    lol

    Yep-- he's got a few problems.

    I figure I can throw the same money at it that I would have thrown at the Green Cordoba-- see where it gets me.

    JW
     
  7. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Aspen500 -
    I know that if the engine is seized, I can replace it or repair it as well.

    The torque tube and the rope drive is my problem.

    I need a parts car -- sedan, manual transmission to donate to the cause.
    OR
    Turn this into the parts car for another sedan.

    JW
     
  8. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    I thought about clipping this body to a donor.

    Only a few drivers have a 112 inch wheelbase.
    And I'd have to give up the way cool rear transaxle.

    JW
     
  9. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    Back in the day they would swap a conventional transmission and rear axle in them and terrorize the drag strips in the early 60s.
     
  10. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    he he
    Me out there terrorizing the cattle on my way to and from town.

    JW
     
  11. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    This is what I was talking about.
     
  12. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Those 2-door versions were really sweet.
    JW
     
  13. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    You could be the little old lady from Pasadena
     
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  14. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    At the rate my hair is turning gray, you are really on-target there.
    lol
    JW
     
  15. Oldiron440

    Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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    Turning gray is a right of passage, wear it with pride.
     
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  16. old yellow 78

    old yellow 78 Well-Known Member

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    JW, that is a REALLY neat little car!! ;) I think that would be a great project to try to get it running again. It doesn't look that bad to me, seems like only surface rust and a few dents. The interior looks like it might be salvageable with a good cleaning. I REALLY like the floor shift manual! I think this is a great idea instead of trying to deal with the grumpy Cordoba owner. Your pics show a very rarely seen little Pontiac that would be a lot of fun just to get it running. Do you ever look at the YT channel Coldwarmotors? He and his friends find old cars and try to get them running again with as little $$ as possible, just for the fun of it. I find it very inspiring and relaxing to watch them bring these old relics back to life. Check it out.
    Looking forward to hearing more about this little Pontiac!
    Check this old FOTD article on a '61 Tempest in Hemmings:
    https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2011/10/27/hemmings-find-of-the-day-1961-pontiac-tempest/
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  17. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    old yellow
    I'm hunting for a 4 door sedan with a manual shift drive line intact.
    Breaking in a new guy to help at the estate, so while I'm down there today I'll see about surface cleaning the inside and figure out if I can jack it up and get it on some railroad ties so I can get under it.

    thanks for the links...

    Looks like you get to watch me fumble my way through this lovely jewel.

    JW
     
  18. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    Well, seems I'm starting to get a little pride myself! Not so much on my head yet but elsewhere.........................When I say pride, I don't mean rainbows, just to be clear! lol
     
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  19. Trey

    Trey Well-Known Member

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    Interesting looking project. Looks like a little elbow grease and the seats and door panels would clean up really nice. I did a nationwide search on searchtempest.com and couldn't find any cars for parts. There are a couple '62 models on ebay but they're convertibles and likely not parts cars. Man, I thought J body cars were scarce...:cool:

    There's a junkyard I frequent around here that may have a car for parts and I posted a couple pics of the GM section. I don't see any Tempests in these pics but GM cars are not something I work on so I'm not real familiar with that part of the yard. He has a huge yard and a lot of cars. so he just might have something for your car. I don't go to this yard in the summer because of the ticks, snakes and the hill climbing in this heat but I'd be glad to check next time I go. The yard is Johns Salvage in Cabool MO. He's got a good idea of what's in the yard and he used to ship parts, although driveline parts would be expensive to ship. Good luck with your restoration. 000_0509.jpg 000_0515.jpg
     
  20. Darth-Car

    Darth-Car Well-Known Member

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    Yeh, that will buff out in about 30 minutes. :)
     
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