Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A quick shot of America and a landmark chapter in the Muscle Car craze

Lets start off this post with the most patriotic thing I've seen in a long time:
YES! Every once in a while you need an Eagle-Hawk-Bear-Wolf-12-point-Buck reminder of just how great this country is!
Now on to the star of the show which was almost entirely hidden from view;
I was across the street when I caught a quick glimpse of a taillight behind a wall of vans and meter maid trikes out near Sunset Park. Even though it was brutally hot and it meant leaving the shady side of the street I had to investigate. I'm glad I did!
This is a 1964 Pontiac Tempest wearing remnants of either Marimba Red or Sunfire Red. It can park on the sidewalk without fear of towing or reprisal of any kind simply because it has no plates. DO NOT try this in Manhattan, but in Brooklyn you can just leave a car wherever you want for as long as you want as long as there isn't a NY plate on it and nothing will happen.
Show some reverence, people because this is it! The one that started it all. The official start of the muscle car craze was a 1964 Pontiac Tempest with the GTO* option. Even though this one is not equipped as such it is a milestone in the American automotive history, not to mention a sweet ride.
GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologato which was the name of a Ferrari at the time.
This car has seen some wear and homegrown repairs but seems remarkably complete otherwise. Still, riveting a piece of metal to a rusty section isn't really gonna cut it at the car shows. The original and simple hubcaps are nicely understated. She's sitting nice and high on new tires so someone's got plans for hooking this beast up.
The patina is great. 
Those three chrome accent lines would be replaced with vertical gills if it were a GTO. This was overlooked sometimes in the past by people trying to pass off a Tempest or Le Mans as a GTO when selling. However, real GTOs are worth so much these days that nobody would ever get away with it (especially since everyone has the internet on their phone and can search the VIN on the spot).
I thought this fender was wearing a different color but I can't tell if that's the case or not. If so the entire front end may have been replaced.
The seats are in pretty nice shape, the dash is solid, and it looks clean throughout. That original radio with PONTIAC written on it is sweet. The horn ring is a weird shape from the factory with a flat lower half. WHY with the dice people?
This is the base model 2 door coupe as opposed to the much more popular hardtop. At first glance with the windows rolled up it looks like it could be a hardtop, but the fact that the chrome window surround goes over the vent window on the door means it is a post car.
I think these tidy mid-'60s midsize cars are some of the best looking ever. They aren't too huge and have great proportions. The trademark Pontiac split grill with the beak gives it a tough look.
If this were a GTO those 3 letters would be sitting where PONTIAC is on the left. The following 2 years would feature stacked headlights. The 1967 is arguably the most popular year for the Le Mans/Tempest/GTO line with the split grill being shorter in the middle than on the ends.
This is the famous Pontiac emblem. The name comes from Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa Tribe, a war chief that battled the British in the Great Lakes region in the 1760s. Originally the logo was a stylized silhouette of the chiefs head in a circle, and later within a shield or arrowhead design. Finally the likeness of the chief was dropped entirely and this arrowhead became the logo.
This is all I could get of the drivers side since it was jammed against the wall of vans. This is the sort of ride that's still within reach price-wise, but can be souped up or restored to original very easily as most parts remain available. The Chevelle, Cutlass, and Skylark are all essentially the same car under the skin so any number of upgrades or engine swaps are possible too. I would love to just get a hold of this beast and drive it as-is, patina and all!

No comments:

Post a Comment