The Untamed Spirit of the 1963 Pontiac LeMans Awaits Tender Restoration


Introduced in 1961 as a top-of-the-line package for the Tempest, the Pontiac LeMans became a stand-alone model in 1963. When the Tempest line became a mid-size, so did the LeMans, sharing styling features and powertrains with the more iconic GTO.

The LeMans remained in production in the U.S. until 1981 (in Canada until 1983) and outlived the GTO by seven years, but it never became as famous as its higher-performance sibling. And that’s a shame because the LeMans is just as cool with the right options.

Come 2022 and the LeMans is a nice and affordable classic to own, especially if you’re into the early, lightweight pony cars instead of heavy muscle cars with big-block V8 power. The dark blue example you see here is one of those cars, but it needs a lot of TLC because it’s a Hurricane Ian survivor.

The deadliest hurricane to strike the state of Florida since 1935, hurricane Ian caused more than 150 fatalities and $60+ billion in damage. The latter figure includes a long list of classic cars that were flooded or wrecked beyond recognition. We could say that this 1963 LeMans was a bit luckier than others but it won’t shine again without a proper refresh.

A once-gorgeous example that roamed the streets of Orlando, Florida, the Poncho shows extensive damage to the bodywork and inside the cabin.

There are several dents in the body and scratches in the paint, while the driver’s door is a replacement unit in poor condition (the original one was detached and lost during the storm). Sadly enough, the hurricane also removed the convertible top and the windshield.

The interior appears to be in great shape overall but the rear seats are missing. The owner also power-washed everything inside to remove dirt and debris from the storm, so the upholstery and the carpet may require additional attention. But even so, the cabin looks amazing considering what it’s been through.

As you might have already guessed, the car no longer runs but the seller made sure the V8 doesn’t get stuck. He removed the debris, drained the water, changed the oil, and sprayed oil on all cylinders. The mill now turns by hand and comes with a rebuilt starter and clean carburetor.

Speaking of which, this LeMans left the factory with a two-barrel 326-cubic-inch (5.3-liter) V8 but the mill was later converted to range-topping HO spec with the addition of a Carter AFB four-barrel carb. It also got a factory manifold and a period-correct dual exhaust system.

The unit was originally rated at 260 horsepower and 352 pound-feet (477 Nm) of torque. Not bad for the pre-GTO era.

All told, this LeMans is definitely worth saving since it comes with the range-topping V8 and a cool blue-over-white color combo. But is anyone willing to pour enough cash into this drop-top until it becomes a pristine classic?

If so, the Poncho is offered by eBay seller “ramon_ojeda” for $9,750 or the best offer. For reference, the average price of a 1963 LeMans in excellent condition is around $20,000, while concours-ready examples can fetch more than $30,000.

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