1963 Pontiac Lemans Super Duty Factory Lightweight

Courtesy of Russo and Steele

This 1963 Pontiac Tempest LeMans 421 Super Duty Factory Experimental Lightweight is one of six examples produced and it is one of only two remaining. Built on December 12, 1962, at the Pontiac, MI, assembly plant, the purpose-built LeMans coupes were all painted white and given blue interiors with bucket seats.

Pontiac Engineering fitted high-compression dual-quad 421 Super Duty engines connected to unique rear-mounted 4-speed automatic transmissions. All used aluminum front sheet metal and brake drums, acid-dipped bumpers and mounting brackets, and lightweight windshield glass, resulting in almost perfect 48/52 weight distribution while keeping the cars in line with the NHRA’s 7.5-pounds-per-cubic-inch A/FX class weight limit.

This LeMans coupe was delivered to Stan Long Pontiac on Grand River Road in Detroit. Driver Stan Antlocer campaigned the car through a busy and successful 1963 season that included the all-important Indy Nationals. Along the way, he made an important change to the car. Since the 4-speed transaxle accommodated only up to a 3.90:1 final-drive ratio and was somewhat prone to breaking under the 421’s explosive power, Antlocer replaced the factory driveline with a heavy-duty Borg-Warner 3-speed manual transmission and a full-size Pontiac rear end with a 4.30:1 gear set. The change paid off in spades, earning Antlocer the title of “World’s Fastest Tempest” after tearing off an 11.93 ET at 123.95 mph at U.S. 131 Dragway in Martin, MI.