The Tempest, first introduced in the 1961 model year, looked like its sister cars, the Oldsmobile F-85 and the Buick Special. Under the skin, however, its engineering was radical for a Detroit car of its day. The engine was in the front, but the car had a rear-mounted "rope drive" transmission much the same as in the rear-engine Chevrolet Corvair. The design eliminated the need for universal joints, which allowed Pontiac to cut engine noise by using softer engine mounts. The Tempest also came with GM's first four-cylinder engine since the end of World War II. Car buyers who wanted more horsepower under the hood had the option of an aluminum-block V-8 engine. The new engineering didn't sell well compared with sales of the Specials and F-85s, so Pontiac made the car bigger and more conventional for the 1964 model year.

THE SPECS

Price $2,511

Engine 194.5-cubic-inch four-cylinder

Horsepower 110 at 3,800 rpm

Wheelbase 112 inches

Weight 2,995 pounds

Seating capacity 6

HISTORICAL FACTS

Year 1962

President John F. Kennedy

Median family income $5,956

Dow Jones industrial average (year-end) 652.10

Academy Award movie "Lawrence of Arabia"

Milestone Tab-opening aluminum cans introduced