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.
Engine 194.5-cubic-inch four-cylinder
Horsepower 110 at 3,800 rpm
Wheelbase 112 inches
Weight 2,995 pounds
Seating capacity 6
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