The original Super Duty 421 Lemans Tempests were Pontiac factory-built drag race-only coupes and station wagons, designed to combat other factory lightweights that had a weight advantage over the big Super Duty Catalinas. One "mule" car was built as a Tempest coupe in Silvermist Metallic and Blue interior, which was the testbed for the series. Eventually six Lemans-badged coupes were built, along with six Tempest station wagons in Cameo White with blue interiors. All sported deceiving 326 V-8 emblems, cleverly hiding the 421 cubic inch monster lurking under the hood.
In addition to the 421 engines, the Super Duty Lemans Tempests featured aluminum front sheetmetal, aluminum bumpers and a unique clutch-operated 4-speed transaxle. This transaxle arrangement placed more weight over the rear tires and allowed clutchless shifting, much like modern drag racing transmissions. Special parts on the 421 SD's included dual 4-barrel carbs mounted on the massive "bath tub" intake manifold, sealed aluminum cross-flow radiator with special overflow tank, and factory exhaust dumps. Other features included heater delete plates on the firewall, trunk mounted battery, special "black box" access door to the transaxle and clutch assembly, and hood scoop lifted from a competitor's medium duty truck line and given a Pontiac part number for the SD project.
The Super Duty Tempests were built over the Christmas holiday of 1962 and delivered just prior to the GM corporate racing ban of Jan 23, 1963. Pontiac abandoned factory-sponsored racing shortly thereafter, but not before making legends out of the drivers such as Arnie "Farmer" Beswick, Jess Tyree, and Arlen Vanke.
Highway 61 Diecast Model No. 50148