Saturday, February 14, 2015

A bright red beauty for Valentines Day!

Le Mans Sport
Back in the warmth of summer I was riding the bike around Ditmas Park in Brooklyn when I passed by this immaculate shiny red apple:
Alright this is a seriously beautiful ride that clicks off so many choices on my all-time dream car checklist. What we have here is a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans Sport convertible in the flashy color choice Carousel Red. It probably looks nicer now than the day it was delivered to the dealership in late '70!
This car is attention grabbing enough so I applaud the omission of the raised white letter tires you see on so many muscle cars. Pontiacs of this era left no mystery as to which engine was under the hood; we can clearly see a 350 emblem under those ornamental gills behind the front wheel. There were other engines available from the 326 and 400 V8s up to the mighty 455. Even the largest most drag strip-ready engines came with drum brakes as standard equipment. Plan your stops ahead of time!
In 1971 this was the mid trim level of the Pontiac midsize line, with the T-37 being the lowest (replacing the Tempest of years previous), and the GTO at the top.
This car is fantastic. In my opinion 1967 and 1971 are the 2 greatest overall years for muscle cars in general. The '67s were for the most part refined and tough versions of cars that still looked very much a part of the early to mid '60s. 1971 was arguably the high point of tough purpose-oriented muscle cars that walked the walk as well as talking the talk. A year after this the damning regulations started rolling in; larger bumpers, lower horsepower, and stringent emissions were just some of the knives stuck in the performance car ribcage. Combine that with a major gas crisis and new 8 mile-per-gallon hot rods soon filled the dealer lots a full 2 years after they were introduced heavily marked down.
There was nobody around to ask permission so this is as close as I dared to go. Obviously the owner has a thing for domestic convertibles because there is a pretty rare 2000-2005 Ford Thunderbird parked in front of it. I was just happy to catch this beauty out in the open as I'm sure it never even emerges from its garage if there's a tiny chance of rain. Happy Valentines Day!

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