Pontiac tried again in 1964. The first generation Pontiac Tempest was compact. For the second generation Tempest, Pontiac made it a senior compact or what we would consider as a intermediate. For the new model, the Tempest was moved from the former Y-body platform to the intermediate A-body shared by the Chevrolet Chevelle, Oldsmobile F-85/Cutlass and the Buick Special/Skylark. GM had ordered the standardization of the intermediate models as the General moved towards its era of badge engineering.
1964 Pontiac Tempest
In becoming a more-conventional redesigned vehicle, the wheelbase was increased to 115 inches and overall length was increased to 203 inches. Also gone were the previous models unibody construction and curved driveshaft and transaxle. They were replaced by a traditional front engine, front transmission, frame and solid rear axle design used by all of GM’s other cars. The previous four-cylinder engine was replaced by a new 215 cubic inch inline six-cylinder engine with one-barrel carburetor and 140 hp. This six was a bored out version of the Chevrolet-built 194 cubic inch six, which was offered as Pontiac exclusive. Optional engines included two versions of the 326 cubic inch Pontiac V8, a two-barrel 250 hp regular fuel option; or the 280 326 High Output engine with four-barrel carburetor and 10.5:1 compression ratio. Transmissions included a standard three-speed manual with column shift, four-speed manual with floor-mounted Hurst shifter or a two-speed automatic. The popularity of the high-performance V8 package the year before prompted Pontiac to make it available again, but this time calling it the Pontiac GTO.
The success of the GTO prompted both Oldsmobile and Buick to create their own high-performance option packages to market. Oldsmobile would introduce the Cutlass 442 in 1964 and Buick would introduce the Skylark Gran Sport, or GS in 1965.
1965 Pontiac Tempest
For 1965, the Tempest would receive minor styling changes that included a new split grille with vertical headlights similar to the larger Pontiacs, revised taillights and a more slanted rear deck. A two-door hardtop coupe was added to the Tempest Custom line, while the Le Mans got a four-door sedan. Engine choices for 1965 would carry over unchanged, except the 326 High Output engine was uprated to 285 hp.
1966 Pontiac Tempest
The 1966 Tempest received a exterior refresh that included more rounded bodylines with a Coke-bottle effect which mimicked the full-sized Pontiacs. A four-door pillarless hardtop sedans was added to the Tempest Custom line. The Chevrolet derived 215 six cylinder engine was replaced by a new Pontiac-built 230 cubic inch overhead cam six engine, a first for an American car at that time. This engine was also the first American engine to use a belt to time the camshaft to the crankshaft rather than a chain. The base OHC had a one-barrel carburetor and was rated at 165 hp. As part of the Sprint option package on two door models was a four-barrel, high-compression 207 hp version of the OHC six. Other engine choices included the 326 V8 and 326 High Output options with horsepower ratings of 250 and 285 hp.
1967 Pontiac Tempest
The Tempest continued for 1967 with minimal changes for the Custom and Le Mans models. Engines and transmission offerings were the same as 1966, except the four-barrel OHC six was uprated to 215 h. New options included front disc brakes, an 8-track stereo tape player and hood-mounted tachometer.
A restyled Tempest would appear for 1968.
For more on other Pontiacs, see our post on the Pontiac Grand Prix.