Pontiac Tempest

The Pontiac Tempest was a small entry-level compact automobile produced by the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors, and launched in September 1960 for the 1961 model year. Further, it also appeared under the LeMans badge beginning with the 1962 model year. For 1964, the platform was restyled with a frame, and was thus renamed A or A body. The Tempest name was dropped after the 1970 model year in favor of LeMans, which was a nameplate that was used for the higher end versions of that series. The Tempest's drivetrain had a torque tube that spanned the length of the car and housed a flexible steel propeller shaft. This connected the engine in the front to a unified differential and transmission in the rear. The weight distribution was near an ideal 50/50 between the forward and rear wheels, thus enabling the four-wheel independent suspension. It also had the added benefit of eliminating the floor hump commonly found in the front seats that was needed to accommodate the transmission in conventional cars. The designer of this car, John Z. DeLorean, was the division's chief engineer and a Packard veteran. He later became the division's head and still after that became famous for building cars bearing his own name. Since its Buick and Oldsmobile cars used a conventional front engine and front transmission drivetrain setup, the Tempest was very unique from the other models on the market. Given this, the Tempest was Motor Trend magazine's 1961 Car of the Year. Further, Road & Track praised the Tempest as spacious and having a good utility component. In 1964, the Tempest was redesigned as a much more conventional vehicle which took the flame out of its fire. The unibody, torque tube and transaxle were removed in favor of the traditional front engine, front transmission, frame and solid rear axle design used by all of GM's other cars.