Featured is a fine looking 1965 Pontiac Tempest.The Tempest was introduced as an entry-level compact in October 1960 at the Paris Auto Show. The car came out for the 1961 model year. The Pontiac Tempest is an automobile that was built by the Pontiac Division of GM from 1960 to 1970. The model came back to production from 1987 to 1991. The 1965 Pontiac Tempest was a second generation model.

1965 tempest specsWhen the Pontiac Tempest came on the scene in 1960 it represented Pontiac’s entry into the new and very popular category of compact cars. This decision by General Motors was influenced by the success of their Chevy Corvair.  The 1961 Tempest Coupe had a  factory base price of $2,115 which was over $600 less than the Catalina Coupe of that year.

From Compact to Intermediate

Beginning in 1964 with the second generation the Tempest moved from being a compact car to an intermediate built on the new GM  A body. The A body was also shared with some Chevrolet, Buick and Oldsmobile models. The new wheelbase for the enlarged Tempest was 115.0 inches.

Many Models to Choose From

Pontiac Tempest models for 1965 included the two door Convertible, two door Sport Coupe, four door Station Wagon and of course the Tempest Lemans GTO. These models featured split grilles, wrap around rear lights and stacked headlights. Standard equipment included a heater, defroster, seat belts, turn signals, electric windshield wipers.

The Pontiac Tempest / LeMans GTO

The GTO was the brainchild of Pontiac engineer Russell Gee, an engine specialist, and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean, later an automaker himself. It’s said that DeLorean came up with the GTO designation based on the Ferrari 250 GTO, a very successful race car, which didn’t sit too well at the time with GT Class followers.

The LeMans was a fancier Tempest. This is similar to how the Chevy Impala was a fancier Chevy Belair.The 1964 Pontiac Tempest LeMans, had a GTO option package which many would say started the 1960’s muscle car era. This option package provided a  325 horsepower V-8.  Pontiac sold 32,455 Tempests with the GTO package during the 1964 model year. The GTO  option was available on the Tempest LeMans in 1964 and  1965. This turned out to be a very profitable model for General Motors. For 1966 the GTO became it’s own distinct model.

1965 Pontiac Tempest Specifications

 The 1965 Pontiac Tempest had as a base engine a 215 cubic inch inline six. An available option for the Tempest was a 326 cubic inch V-8 delivering from 250 to 285 HP , depending on carburetor configuration. These were essentially the same engine offerings from 1964 with the exception of the 326 being upgraded to 285 HP.

1965 pontiac tempest photosTransmissions included both a three and four speed manual and a two speed automatic.

Dimensions include a 115.0 inch wheelbase, overall outside length 206.1 inches, width 73.1 inches, height 53.1 inches. Curb weight 3,370 lbs.

1965 Pontiac Tempest production was 124,170 vehicles which includes the Tempest Wagon. 1965 Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO production was 75,350 vehicles.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below…

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible

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Reference material for this article includes…Pontiac’s Greatest Decade 1959-1969: The Wide Track Era by author Paul Zazarine…Muscle Cars: A Legacy of American Performance by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide…Muscle Cars: Kings of the Street From the Golden Era by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide.

The 1965 Pontiac Tempest Collector Car

65 pontiac tempest specifications The 1964 Pontiac Tempest LeMans equipped with the GTO option package, was the car that started the “muscle car” era. With this in mind the Pontiac Tempest was a milestone car both for both the 1964 and 1965 model years prior to the GTO becoming it’s own model in 1966.

Current auction and sale prices for the 1965 Pontiac Tempest are of course dependent on condition, mileage, restoration, specific engine and originality. Excellent examples are generally seen in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. Convertibles and GTO optioned Tempests will generally be priced higher.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)