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Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
6/6/13 12:27 p.m.

Check out this BangShift piece on a 1963 Super Duty Tempest that walked the 250 GTO and 427 Corvettes at Daytona:

http://bangshift.com/blog/thundering-bastard-the-day-a-super-duty-pontiac-tempest-destroyed-the-worlds-best-sports-cars.html

I don't know how I've never heard of this machine before, but now I really, really want to build a model car of it. Great stuff!

Knurled
Knurled UltraDork
6/6/13 12:41 p.m.

Transaxle Tempests weren't muscle cars.

They were TINY little things. Well, relative to the A-body, anyway.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
6/6/13 1:32 p.m.

I was excited to read about a muscle car on a road course.

Then saw a muscle car on a high banked oval, with descriptions of "He never lifted once" and the like. Meh.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
6/6/13 1:44 p.m.

In reply to Swank Force One:

Maybe you missed the in the rain part. Y'all have to remember that there weren't really any "road courses" at that point. You had ovals, including Monza, Daytona, Indy, Nardo, Goodwood, etc that might have had an "infield" section, actual road races like LeMans, abandoned airports like Sebring and Silverstone, or hillclimbs and rallies.

And a 421SD Tempest is a muscle car, even if it's small.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
6/6/13 1:53 p.m.

I thought they said they can't run circle tracks in the rain (that should stir some NASCAR people up)

Awesome story though.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper PowerDork
6/6/13 1:57 p.m.

I've never thought muscle cars of the era couldn't turn, just that most of them were made unable to turn. Usually through frisbie front wheels.

The Tempest is/was a fascinating car.

Leafy
Leafy New Reader
6/6/13 2:08 p.m.

Come on guys, dont you know nuthin. The muscle cars win all the time on r u fasta than a red nuck... Except they are beating 5 figure cars with 6 figure cars.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltraDork
6/6/13 2:12 p.m.

Yes they can, but only in the wet. For more powerslide I guess.

http://bangshift.com/blog/The-Defant-Ones-Part-3-The-Gray-Ghost.html

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
6/6/13 2:15 p.m.

That car is legendary in the Pontiac world, mainly because it disappeared off the face of the earth after Mercedes bought it. Strictly speaking the term 'muscle car' hadn't been invented yet in 1963, so at the time it was just a small car with a big engine.

There was a good discussion about it over on the Performance Years Pontiac board earlier this year: http://forums.performanceyears.com/forums/showthread.php?t=724972 In that thread, an article was posted from a 1963 issue of Hot Rod that has more detail on the car, but I'm not sure if you can see it without being signed in.

Driven5
Driven5 Reader
6/6/13 2:23 p.m.

Just because a car has a lot of muscle, does not mean it is a 'muscle car'. This story simply reinforces how much better real muscle cars could have been if they had a better distribution of less weight, and an independent rear suspension, in addition to all of that power.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson UberDork
6/6/13 2:46 p.m.
Javelin wrote: In reply to Swank Force One: Maybe you missed the *in the rain* part. Y'all have to remember that there weren't really any "road courses" at that point. You had ovals, including Monza, Daytona, Indy, Nardo, Goodwood, etc that might have had an "infield" section, actual road races like LeMans, abandoned airports like Sebring and Silverstone, or hillclimbs and rallies. And a 421SD Tempest is a muscle car, even if it's small.

Not sure where you’re getting the no road courses thing, but by the early 60's there were hundreds of road courses around the world and many in the US, Laguna Seca, Road America, Lime Rock, Riverside, VIR, Mid Ohio etc. etc. were all open by then. . BTW, you listed Goodwood, that's always been a road course, not an oval and it held its first event in 1948. It's one of the many converted airfields that turned into race track in the UK post WWII inc Silverstone, Snetterton etc. I assume as you were talking ovals you meant Brooklands in the UK, which ironically hosted it's last race in 1939 thanks to lil old Hitler when it was converted to an aircraft factory, building planes that would fly out of airfields that would turn into the road race tracks that replaced it!

Forget the dodgy history though. Thanks for posting, that is an awesome story, I wish the car still existed. I love the duel 2 speed autos hooked together with a clutch to get it rolling. What an awesome idea.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
6/6/13 3:01 p.m.
Javelin wrote: In reply to Swank Force One: Maybe you missed the *in the rain* part. Y'all have to remember that there weren't really any "road courses" at that point.

Riverside? Lime Rock? Watkins Glen? Road America? Amelia Island? Roebling? Bridgehampton?

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
6/6/13 3:04 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: Strictly speaking the term 'muscle car' hadn't been invented yet in 1963

That term didn't come about until the 80's anyways. All the car mags back then called them "Super Cars".

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
6/6/13 3:08 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson:

Sorry, I didn't mean for my reply to be a Master's Level dissertation on the history of racing tracks...

I was just trying to point out that purpose built "road courses" were still in their infancy. Back then all the big races were still run on either the ovals, old airfields (which were slowly becoming actual courses), or closed public roads. Nowadays it's what, 90%? road courses used in all the GT racing? I think Sebring and Daytona are the only old-schoolish ones left in the US. Anyway, the point was is downright common back then to run the sports cars on an oval.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
6/6/13 5:18 p.m.

I can do a lot of things.

Doesn't mean I'm the best, or even good at them.

Grizz
Grizz SuperDork
6/6/13 5:43 p.m.

I wish it was a wagon.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
6/6/13 6:51 p.m.

I wish I was a little bit taller.

egnorant
egnorant Dork
6/6/13 7:09 p.m.
Javelin wrote:
stuart in mn wrote: Strictly speaking the term 'muscle car' hadn't been invented yet in 1963
That term didn't come about until the 80's anyways. All the car mags back then called them "Super Cars".

Actually, the term muscle car has been around a long time. Tom McCahill descibed the 1962 Thunderbird as not a muscle car in Mechanix Illustrated in May of 1962.

It was in common usage by 1965 by several magazines to describe a lot of new cars. Earliest I found was 1965 Hemi Tempest.

Bruce

oldsaw
oldsaw PowerDork
6/6/13 7:43 p.m.
Javelin wrote: In reply to Adrian_Thompson: Sorry, I didn't mean for my reply to be a Master's Level dissertation on the history of racing tracks... I was just trying to point out that purpose built "road courses" were still in their infancy. Back then all the big races were still run on either the ovals, old airfields (which were slowly becoming actual courses), or closed public roads. Nowadays it's what, 90%? road courses used in all the GT racing? I think Sebring and Daytona are the only old-schoolish ones left in the US. Anyway, the point was is downright common back then to run the sports cars on an oval.

Your claims of historical knowledge are exceeded by your lack of actual knowledge.

In 1963 what "big races" (other than oval centric series like Nascar and USAC) were run on ovals, airfields or public roads? Answer: very few with the exceptions of Sebring, Pomona and maybe a couple of other airport events. The point REALLY is that sports cars had a lot more permanent road course venues available to them than you know. A race on a pure oval was an aberration, not a commonality.

Yeah, the story is cool but it doesn't peg the meter on the David vs Goliath scale. Unless, of course Goliath had the nickname of Tempest.

An experienced Nascar race engineer modifies a car specifically for an oval race, inserts an accomplished Nascar driver and puts a whooping on cars never intended to be competitively run in an oval environment.

Why am I not surprised?

novaderrik
novaderrik UberDork
6/6/13 8:02 p.m.
egnorant wrote:
Javelin wrote:
stuart in mn wrote: Strictly speaking the term 'muscle car' hadn't been invented yet in 1963
That term didn't come about until the 80's anyways. All the car mags back then called them "Super Cars".

Actually, the term muscle car has been around a long time. Tom McCahill descibed the 1962 Thunderbird as not a muscle car in Mechanix Illustrated in May of 1962.

It was in common usage by 1965 by several magazines to describe a lot of new cars. Earliest I found was 1965 Hemi Tempest.

Bruce

Hemi Tempest?

someone also said something about the car in the OP being a LeMans with a transaxle- not true... the early Tempest was built on a kind of a bastard chassis that was pretty much a Corvair with a front mounted liquid cooled engine that was also used by Olds and Buick..

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UberDork
6/6/13 8:02 p.m.
oldsaw wrote:
Javelin wrote: In reply to Adrian_Thompson: Sorry, I didn't mean for my reply to be a Master's Level dissertation on the history of racing tracks... I was just trying to point out that purpose built "road courses" were still in their infancy. Back then all the big races were still run on either the ovals, old airfields (which were slowly becoming actual courses), or closed public roads. Nowadays it's what, 90%? road courses used in all the GT racing? I think Sebring and Daytona are the only old-schoolish ones left in the US. Anyway, the point was is downright common back then to run the sports cars on an oval.

Your claims of historical knowledge are exceeded by your lack of actual knowledge.

In 1963 what "big races" (other than oval centric series like Nascar and USAC) were run on ovals, airfields or public roads? Answer: very few with the exceptions of Sebring, Pomona and maybe a couple of other airport events. The point REALLY is that sports cars had a lot more permanent road course venues available to them than you know. A race on a pure oval was an aberration, not a commonality.

Yeah, the story is cool but it doesn't peg the meter on the David vs Goliath scale. Unless, of course Goliath had the nickname of Tempest.

An experienced Nascar race engineer modifies a car specifically for an oval race, inserts an accomplished Nascar driver and puts a whooping on cars never intended to be competitively run in an oval environment.

Why am I not surprised?

Oh no, another master's level dissertation on road racing! TL;DR!

Also, according to das wiki, that year Tempest was considered a compact car, which I would argue would exclude it from being a muscle car. A pony car before the Mustang invented pony cars, perhaps.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
6/6/13 8:28 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: someone also said something about the car in the OP being a LeMans with a transaxle- not true... the early Tempest was built on a kind of a bastard chassis that was pretty much a Corvair with a front mounted liquid cooled engine that was also used by Olds and Buick..

1961 - 1963 Tempests and Lemans did have a transaxle, along with an unusual driveshaft that was a solid bar less than 1" thick.

petegossett
petegossett UberDork
6/6/13 8:40 p.m.

Yup, had a '62 for a while. The transaxle was a different unit, but based on the Corvair internals, with a torque-tube to the front mounted clutch and engine.

Mine had the 195ci "Indy" 4-cylinder - which was 1/2 of a V8(as seen in the pic above) and 3-speed trans. I had fun messing around with it, and learned a few things along the way, but it just wasn't a project I really wanted to commit to long-term.

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar SuperDork
6/6/13 10:24 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: Hemi Tempest?

Mickey Thompson did some experiments for Pontiac in the '60's. He did make a hand full of Hemi heads and intakes for a Pontiac.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic Dork
6/6/13 10:25 p.m.

I always thought the drive shaft in those was neat. All in the name of a flatter floor.

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