The Truth About Cars » porsche 968 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:45:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » porsche 968 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Unloved by Porsche & Purists, This 1993 Porsche 968 is Well Loved Nonetheless http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/unloved-porsche-purists-1993-porsche-968-well-loved-nonetheless/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/unloved-porsche-purists-1993-porsche-968-well-loved-nonetheless/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:15:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884793 If you could afford just about any sports car short of the exotics, why would you restore a more than 20 year old front engined four cylinder Porsche? That was the question that I asked orthopaedic surgeon Miles Singer, who completely rebuilt his Porsche 968. Miles is good at rebuilding things. I first got to […]

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Full gallery here

If you could afford just about any sports car short of the exotics, why would you restore a more than 20 year old front engined four cylinder Porsche? That was the question that I asked orthopaedic surgeon Miles Singer, who completely rebuilt his Porsche 968. Miles is good at rebuilding things. I first got to know him through his wife, Debbie, a razor sharp PhD chemical engineer with whom I worked at DuPont. One day in 2001, while commuting to work on my bicycle, I entered a crosswalk on a very stale signal. The guy in the Infiniti SUV sitting next to the Airborne delivery truck in the curb lane didn’t see me till I popped out in front of him just after his light turned green. I actually saw the bumper hit my left knee. The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the ground and my lower left leg was at a funny angle to my thigh.

At the hospital they told me that I had a broken knee. The technical name is a tibial plateau fracture. The human knee is kind of a Rube Goldberg contraption. Most of our joints have something close to a ball and socket but the knee is really just two surfaces sliding against each other with some cartilage in between and all sorts of ligaments and muscles at odd angles strapping it all together. As long as it’s used as designed, things are okay, but it’s really not designed to bend in from the side. If that happens one of two things can happen.

As the joint bends inward, the inside edge of the joint between the tib/fib in your lower leg, and your femur, your thigh bone, starts to separate. If you’re lucky, you just blow out your medial collateral ligament. That’s the strap that holds the joint together on the proximal, inside side of your knee. As I said, if you’re lucky, you tear a ligament, if you’re not lucky, as the joint bends inwards, the outside of the bottom edge of the femur is being levered downward into the top of the lower knee, the tibial plateau. The femur is the largest, strongest bone in your body, when it moves, other parts will just have to get out of the way and in my case, it broke away a big chunk of the bone below it.

I needed surgery to insert a metal plate to hold the pieces together while they mended and bone grafts taken from my pelvis to fill in the empty space left by crushed bone. Since they were going to wait at least a day for surgery, I decided to give my friend Debbie a call and see if her husband worked on knees. I’d seen him about my chronic low back pain and was impressed with how complete the workup I got was. I was also impressed by the fact that he drove a Porsche 968, with BX N NX vanity plates. I may have been his only patient who could identify it as a 968.

Why not have a knee specialist put my knee back together? Like I said, I was impressed with how Miles worked and reasoned that if he could work around spinal cords without crippling folks, he could probably put my knee back together just fine.

Which is what he did. By the end of that summer I was back on the bike again. Fortunately the cartilage was just displaced, not torn, so the geometry and lubrication of the joint is back close to what it was before the accident. It’s not perfect, the knee sometimes hurts from the pounding when I run real hard on pavement, but then there’s a reason why I took up cycling in the first place, I don’t particularly like to run.

My day gig is doing machine embroidery and recently I got a call from Debbie about embroidering some surgical scrubs with the logo of Miles’ practice, Specialists in Spine Surgery. I happened to ask her if he still had the 968 and she said not only does he still have it, he completely rebuilt it and still drives it. “He’ll never get rid of it, he loves that car,” she said.

Now I don’t want to be indelicate discussing other people’s finances but Dr. Singer does okay. Outside of six figure exotics, he can probably afford to buy new just about any sports car on the market today, certainly a new Boxster or Cayman if Debbie won’t let him pop for a 911. So why restore a 20 year old car that plenty of Porsche Cayenne & Macan owners couldn’t identify? It’s not quite vintage and while the 944 and its variants are respected by enthusiasts, the front engine Porsches have never really caught on with Porsche purists because the engine’s in the wrong place as far as they’re concerned. An air-cooled 911 it’s not. Restoring a Porsche that not even all Porsche fans like doesn’t make a lot of sense.

To answer that conundrum I spent an hour or so talking with Miles about his car and taking the accompanying photographs (when I wasn’t trying to shoot the red tailed hawk that swooped over our heads and onto a tree branch across the street).

He bought the 1993 model car when it was three years old and said the he just fell in love with how balanced it is. The 968 has the same “front mid engine”, rear transaxle setup that the 928 has and it’s the same layout that the Corvette has been using since the fifth generation car. With that layout you can achieve very close to 50/50 weight distribution front to back. If I’m not mistaken the Nissan GT-R has a similar layout, as does the Lexus LFA. While that layout may not provide the ultimate 10/10ths cornering grip of a car with the engine mounted midships behind the driver, many consider it to be ideal for handling and feel.

Singer used the Porsche as a daily driver for years and when it came time to think about maybe replacing it, Miles decided instead to rebuild it. That’s the word he kept using. I don’t know if it was intentional, though it makes sense, because Miles’ car (that’s what Debbie calls it, she’s never really driven it because it’s got a manual transmission and a clutch that’s rather heavy) isn’t a restoration. It’s not a 100 point show car. It’s not quite as it was when it left the factory because Miles has built it the way that he wants it, though he’s done it in a manner that has some integrity to it. Though not stock, all the bits except for the roll bar (the car is tracked a couple of times a year) are Porsche factory bits. The 944 was an expensive car to build and while the 968 was being developed, Porsche profits were declining. To save money, the 968 came naturally aspirated. When he rebuilt his 968, Dr. Singer added the turbo that came on the sixteen 968 Turbo S cars that were made for the European market, which explains the NACA ducts on the hood. Those turbo motors are rated at 305 hp and 368 ft-lb, good for sub-five second 0-60 mph times and a top speed of 180 mph. Singer’s 968 is likely rated higher than that because the factory 968 Turbo S used the 944 Turbo’s 8 valve SOHC head, while Singer used the 16 valve DOHC head that came with the car. Turbo versions of those engines can make 400+ horsepower.

The front fascia is Euro spec and the air inlet / fog lamp inserts are also from another model 968. Singer has also mounted a pretty aggressive splitter up front. In back is the 968 Turbo S’ wing with an adjustable mid section. The car is painted Grand Prix White.

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For comparison, a 944 Turbo. Full gallery here

Stock from the factory, the 968 had a 3 liter four putting out 235 SAE horsepower which featured then new variable valve timing. To keep the big four running smoothly, there were two counter-rotating balance shafts. The 924/944 transaxle borrowed from the Audi FWD parts bin was replaced with a Porsche designed six speed manual, with a four speed Tiptronic developed by Porsche, ZF and Bosch collaboratively as a new option. As with the 944 and 924 before it, the 968 featured a semi-trailing arm rear suspension with transverse torsion bar springs,  a source of complaints about ride quality in the earlier cars, so attention was made to tuning the 968 for a better ride while retaining the car’s notable handling agility.

The 968 was supposed to be the entry level Porsche that no longer had the stigma of being a hand me down VW with an Audi truck engine, barbs that had slighted the 924 (which actually started out as a VW project) and, less fairly, the 944. The 968s were built in a Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen, not Audi or VW plants like the 924 and 944. Eighty percent of the car was said to be new (though to save money the interior was pretty much carried over from the 944), with new exterior styling by Harm Legaay along with Dick Soderberg and Tony Hatter that incorporated 928 style exposed popup headlamps, and a squarer, bulkier rear end. Though critics then said and now say that the 968 delivered on the earlier four cylinder front engined Porsches’ promise, with significantly better performance,  0-60 in less than six seconds and a top speed over 150 mph, it didn’t sell well. Fewer than 13,000 were built between 1992 and 1995. A bit of an orphan in the company, with few advocates, the 968 came out as the midengine Boxster was being developed. By the time the Boxster was shown as a concept at the Detroit auto show in 1993, the 968 and 928 programs were dead, though those cars stayed in production for a while. They’d be the last front engine Porsches built until the company got into the SUV business with the Cayenne.

The front engined four cylinder Porsches were a bit unloved. Porschephiles dismissed them as lacking sang pur, and even the company itself seems to have regarded them a bit as the step-child with the wrong colored hair. None of that matters to Miles Singer. He loves his car.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

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Lo, How the Mighty are Fallen. Porsche For Sale, Will Trade for Golf Cart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lo-how-the-mighty-are-fallen-porsche-for-sale-will-trade-for-golf-cart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/lo-how-the-mighty-are-fallen-porsche-for-sale-will-trade-for-golf-cart/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:25:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=868834 I was doing some legwork on a Reader’s Ride sort of thing that I’m hoping I’ll get to do with a Porsche 968. Time hasn’t treated the four cylinder front engined Porsches quite as well as it has the 928, and that, too, is kind of dismissed by Dr. P’s acolytes of the rear engined […]

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I was doing some legwork on a Reader’s Ride sort of thing that I’m hoping I’ll get to do with a Porsche 968. Time hasn’t treated the four cylinder front engined Porsches quite as well as it has the 928, and that, too, is kind of dismissed by Dr. P’s acolytes of the rear engined faith. You can buy a 968, the ultimate development of the 944 and a very nicely performing, exceptionally handling car, for less than a new Yaris or Versa will cost you and you can get a decent runner 944 for just a few thousand dollars. As for the 924, like the 914, it’s considered eine halbe Porsche.

porsche924

The faithful reject it as a “true Porsche” not just because the engine’s in the wrong end of the car, but also because it was a joint VW/Porsche project intended originally to be a high end coupe for the VW brand in Europe and sold as an Audi in North America. It wasn’t originally even going to be a Porsche, though Porsche did much of the initial development work. However, when Volkswagen decided that the Scirocco met their coupe needs and backed out of the project, Porsche bought the rights, deciding to use the car as a replacement for the discontinued four cylinder 914 and 912 models.

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When it arrived in showrooms, the front engine, rear transaxle layout and Porsche’s suspension prowess made it a great handling car. The smog control enfeebled Audi engine, shared with some AMC models including Jeep postal trucks, though, was a dog. The chassis didn’t find its promise until the Turbo, 924S, and 944 models. As a result, the 924 cars that have survived are cheap enough to be considered for 24 Hrs of LeMons use without having to sell off many parts to get under the $500 limit. Heck, some are already at or below the $500 limit as you can buy them. Well, people would consider using them as LeMons entries if they were reliable enough to last in a crapcan enduro, which they aren’t. You can get a running 924 for less than it will cost to put a used engine in a 10 year old Saturn. If that’s too rich for your blood, and you happen to have a spare golf cart laying about and are still jonesing for an affordable front engined Porsche, well, you’re in luck as someone in Hart, Michigan with a 924 is willing to make a trade:

Posted: 

 1977 Porsche 924 – $500 (Hart, MI )

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1977 porsche 924

1977 924 Porschegreat for parts
no title/not running
will trade for golf cart
call or text 616-xxx- three to six three
  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Curbside Classic: 1963 Tempest LeMans- Pontiac Tries To Build A BMW Before BMW Built Theirs And Almost Succeeds http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/curbside-classic-1963-tempest-lemans-pontiac-tries-to-build-a-bmw-before-bmw-built-theirs-and-almost-succeeds/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/curbside-classic-1963-tempest-lemans-pontiac-tries-to-build-a-bmw-before-bmw-built-theirs-and-almost-succeeds/#comments Tue, 14 Dec 2010 17:25:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=376863 In the thirties and forties, GM pioneered and brought to market some of the most innovative, successful and lasting new technologies: diesel-electric locomotives, the modern diesel bus, automatic transmissions, refrigeration and air conditioning systems, high compression engines, independent front suspension, and many more. But GM’s technology prowess was just one facet of its endlessly warring […]

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In the thirties and forties, GM pioneered and brought to market some of the most innovative, successful and lasting new technologies: diesel-electric locomotives, the modern diesel bus, automatic transmissions, refrigeration and air conditioning systems, high compression engines, independent front suspension, and many more. But GM’s technology prowess was just one facet of its endlessly warring multiple personalities. Planned obsolescence, chrome, fins and financial rationalization were the real moneymakers, especially during the technically conservative fifties. But in the period from 1960 to 1966, GM built three production cars that tried to upend the traditional format: the rear engined 1960 Corvair, the front-wheel drive 1966 Toronado, and the 1961 Tempest. And although the Corvair and Toronado tend to get the bulk of the attention, the Tempest’s format was by far the most enduring one: it was a BMW before BMW built theirs. If only they had stuck with it.

A high performance four cylinder engine with four-venturi carburetion, four-wheel independent suspension; four speed stick shift; perfect 50-50 weight distribution; a light, compact yet fairly roomy body; decent manual steering; and neutral to over-steering handling qualities: sounds just like the specs for the all-new 1962 BMW 1500/1800. Or a Mercedes, or a Rover 2000 perhaps? But none of them had this: a rear transaxle and a totally revolutionary flexible drive shaft.  When GM gave its engineering talent the freedom to innovate, the results were often extraordinary. But in true GM fashion, penny-pinching resulted in the 1961 Tempest arriving flawed, like the Corvair. But unlike the Corvair, The Tempest never got a second chance to sort out its readily fixable blemishes. If so, the result would have been even more remarkable than the 1965 Corvair.

John DeLorean may be more famous for the ’59 Wide-Tracks, the GTO, the Pontiac OHC six, and the ’69 Grand Prix during his tenure at Pontiac, but in my opinion, the 1961 Tempest is his most ambitious and creative engineering effort. He was aware as anyone of the limitations of the Detroit big car formula: too big, thirsty, front-heavy and dull-handling. With the 1960 Corvair in the wings, DeLorean’s lingering plans to build a truly advanced and practical car finally came to (not quite ripe) fruition.

DeLorean was particularly interested in the benefits of independent rear suspension that so many European cars like the VW, Porsche and Mercedes had been using since the thirties. In the mid fifties, his engineering team developed an even more radical evolution of the Mercedes approach for the 1959 full-sized Pontiacs: a rear transaxle to balance weight distribution, and connected to the engine with a flexible shaft drive inside a rigid torque tube. That innovation was his alone, and he received a patent on it. And please don’t call it “rope drive;” good luck trying to send power through anything resembling a rope. It was a single flexible piece of steel, more akin to a torsion bar or a speedometer drive shaft.

The big 1959 Pontiacs arrived with their ad-friendly wide tracks, but were otherwise utterly conventional. But GM wanted to foist the new rear-engine Corvair on Pontiac, in order to spread its high development and production costs. The prototype Pontiac Polaris (above) was classic badge-engineering: a ’59 Pontiac-ish front end grafted on an otherwise unaltered Corvair. But the Pontiac brass Bill Knudsen, Pete Estes and DeLorean weren’t buying it, in part because DeLorean was already familiar with the Corvair’s tricky handling and nasty habit of spinning or even flipping when it got pushed too far.

DeLorean’s initial plan was to use the Corvair body, but turn it into a front-engined car while leaving the whole Corvair rear suspension and its transaxle in place, not even turning it around to face the motor. By using a hollow shaft, the Corvair transmission would actually be “driven” from the rear of the car, resulting in the torque converter hanging off the back of the differential, where it would normally have mated up to the Corvair’s rear engine.

Very creative indeed, and rather bizarre to see the torque converter just sitting there in the open like an appendage (above).  The drive shaft had three inches of deflection (curvature), and that curvature was strictly induced by applying the appropriate stresses on each end; there were no intermediate bearings necessary to locate it within the torque tube.

The rigid torque tube’s benefits went well beyond resulting in an almost-flat floor. It was a key component to adapt the four cylinder engine and help tame its vibrations. A four cylinder theoretically has perfect primary balance. But because it has only two power impulses per crankshaft rotation, second order and torsional vibrations can be quite significant, especially in a larger displacement motor. Traditionally, Europeans kept fours to two liters or less for that reason. Mitsubishi reintroduced the balance shaft with its 2.6 liter four in 1975, and it is highly effective and now very common in smoothing large fours.

This is why Detroit shunned fours like the plague; in order to provide American-style torque and power, American fours had almost always been large. At low engine speeds, like in the Ford Model T and A, this was not too bothersome. A suitable six might have been perfect, but Pontiac had little choice but create a compact and low-cost four by building it the quick and dirty way: eliminating one of the banks of its 389 CID V8. This was very cost effective, because it used a high percentage of the V8′s parts, and could be machined on the same lines as the V8.

Rigidly mounting the four to the front end of the torque tube eliminated the need for the engine mounts to control its front-to-back movements, so it was possible to isolate it and its vibrations from the body to a much greater degree than if had been mounted in the usual fashion. The mounts on the four only had to control its vertical movements, so they could be very soft. That does result in an impressive display of vertical “jumping” when the throttle is opened from idle.

That’s not to say that the 195 cubic inch (3.2 L) four’s noise, vibration and harshness issues were all miraculously solved by DeLorean’s innovative mounting solutions. It’s a very big four, for better or for worse. It does have a fatter torque curve than a comparable six or eight for its displacement, and therefore is very responsive. And thanks to Pontiac’s high performance experience, it could be quite powerful; output started at 110 hp, and went up to 165 hp with the optional four barrel carburetor. That overshadows the 1961 Corvair’s 98 hp optional engine.

As it turned out, Pontiac didn’t have to use the actual 108″ wheelbase Corvair body after all; GM relented and let them share the Corvair-based but slightly larger 112″ wheelbase Y Body that Buick and Oldsmobile were preparing for their 1961 compacts. But Pontiac was given a very tiny budget to adapt it, so the 1961 Tempest (above) used most of the Olds F85 sheetmetal with a ’59 Pontiac-derived front end and a new rear end grafted on. But the four cylinder, flex-drive and Corvair transaxle and its rear suspension were retained, for better or for worse.

The worst was that it was a simple swing axle: rigid half-axles jointed only at each side of the rigidly mounted differential. This was the hot new thing in Europe back in the thirties, but its tendency to jack up in fast corners and create snap oversteer and flipping had become all-too well known.

That’s why Mercedes developed its innovative single low-pivot rear axle (above) with an anti-jacking compensating spring in the early fifties, a temporary step before it adopted a double-jointed irs in 1968. BMW’s “Neue Klasse” 1500/1800/2000 sedans first arrived in 1962 with a double-jointed rear suspension. As did the Jaguar S sedan. Europe was moving on, and GM would quickly learn this painful lesson in penny-pinching. The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray had a new double-jointed rear axle, which the 1965 Corvair also adopted to great effect.

I showed you the odd Tempest automatic transaxle earlier, but here’s the (leaky) four speed in the featured convertible. That round bolted cover on the end is where the Corvair bellhousing would have attached.

And here’s the front of the same unit, showing the shift linkage which the Tempest conveniently shared with Corvair too. It wasn’t a model of precision and quickness, but Porsche had to have something left to improve when it adopted a highly similar torque tube rear transaxle for their 928 and 924/944/968. The 968′s three liter four was only slightly smaller than the Tempest 3.2, and its ferocious torque showed to best advantage the benefits of a large displacement four with balance shafts. If John Z. had remembered about the 1904 Lanchester’s patented balance shafts and adapted them, the Tempest would really have been a milestone car.

Speaking of Porsche’s claims about their pioneering:

a minor error in the text

The ’61 and ’62 Tempests did also offer a version of the aluminum Buick 215 CID V8 optionally, but only 1-2% of them were built with it, and only a tiny handful with a stick. Theoretically, the combination of the light and smooth V8 with a four speed and the Tempest’s independent suspension and perfect weight balance would have potentially made a very appealing package. But the V8 was troublesome from the beginning, and Pontiac had to “buy” it from Buick, so the four was pushed heavily. And the hi-po four did make almost as much horsepower as the V8.

The Tempest was widely (and rightfully) hailed when it arrived. It won Motor Trend’s COTY, and accolades from the press: “a breakthrough for Detroit”…”a wonderfully refreshing automobile”…”a significant coup of major import”…”may be the forerunner of a new generation”…”unquestionably a prototype American car for the sixties”. Testers praised its 50-50 front-rear balance, which resulted in lighter steering, less understeer, better traction and braking, and a good ride. But its ability to create the dreaded snap oversteer in the wet or on quickly driven curves was not left behind with the Corvair’s rear engine. The Tempest’s handling could also be tricky, and its agricultural sounding four could not be fully tamed, even if some of its shaking was mitigated. Consumer Reports was not so enthralled.

1962 Tempest LeMans

The Tempest met its sales expectations, selling 100k in 1961, 140k in ’62, and 130k in ’63. That helped Pontiac clinch third place in the sales stats. But it suffered the same problem as the Corvair: profitability was not up to snuff. The extra costs in converting the Olds body and the drive shaft and rear transaxle bit into the already slim margins on compact cars. The whole ambitious Corvair/Tempest/Olds F85/Buick Special Y-body experiments left GM with a bad aftertaste, especially since Ford was doing so well with its utterly conventional Falcon and Comet. The dull 1962 Chevy II was the effective replacement for the Corvair, and the B-O-P compacts became highly conventional mid-sized cars in 1964.

Our next door neighbor in Iowa City, a Russian professor, drove a white ’62 LeMans convertible like the one above. I vividly remember the throb of the big four as I rode with her to Sears to get her lawnmower fixed. But the open top was even more effective than DeLorean’s other efforts to drown out its agricultural sounds, at least above thirty or so. And I once briefly drove a co-worker’s base ’61 sedan in LA: despite being elderly, its intrinsic balance (which could be all-too easily upset for amusing purposes) and decent steering for an American car was downright un-American. If only its engine ran sweetly like my Peugeot 404′s. But the trade-off was the torque: very American indeed.

Our featured car is a 1963 LeMans, which was the sporty/upscale variant analogous to the Corvair’s Monza with the same bucket seats and higher trim. The ’63s were restyled to make them appear bigger, wider and longer. This convertible has all the right options, at least for those that have a soft spot for the four. I found it in front of this shop where it had just been converted to the factory 165 hp four barrel setup. And it also has the four-speed stick. Not surprisingly, its owner turns out to be a ’63 Tempest junkie; it was the car he always wanted in high school.

Norman has over half a dozen ’63s in and a round his shop and back yard, including this sedan still on the trailer that he just picked up. And he has another convertible (below) with the optional 326 V8 that replaced the aluminum V8 for 1963. This was a prescient move by DeLorean, and foreshadowed the 1964 GTO.

The 326 is a 389 with smaller bores (and actually displaced 336 cubic inches), and although no lightweight, it still results in a quite decent 54/46 weight distribution because of the rear transaxle. With a two barrel carb, the 326 made a fairly modest 260 hp, but the Tempest was light (2800-3000lbs) so with the V8 it scoots right along.  Because of limited funds, the four speed was not upgraded to handle the V8′s torque, so as far as is known, all the 326s came with the three speed stick or the two-speed Powerglide/aka: TempesTorque automatic. Norman says his fours get 18 – 20 mpg, and the 326 around 16 – 18 mpg.

To mitigate its handling rep, the 1963 Tempest’s rear suspension was revised with a modified control arm geometry and other tricks. But it was still a swing axle, and the Tempest’s end was already in sight, to be replaced by live-axle conformity.

But in my imagination, I see a 1965 Tempest coupe based on the stunningly beautiful ’65 Corvair body, with the 230 hp Sprint OHC six under a lengthened front end and sharing that Corvair’s new Corvette-based rear suspension. What a genuine American BMW that would have been, right down to the dash (the BMW’s Tempest look-alike dash appeared on the ’66 1602). In my oft-repeated GM coulda-shoulda dreams.

A scan of an in-depth SIA article on the Tempest is here

Over two hundred other Curbside Classics are here

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