Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Are you already missing Pontiac? Like weird drivetrains? How about tops that are soft? Well, batten down the hatches, because today Nice Price or Crack Pipe has a Tempest in a teapot. . . er Oakland.

Yesterday's E30 Touring was told to keep moving by a wagon-load of you, with 75% pulling the crack pipe lever. Today, we've got an example of American ingenuity to contemplate, and it has fewer cylinders, but more headroom than that beemer.


Pontiac introduced the new Y-body Tempest in 1961, as its entrant into the burgeoning compact car segment. Despite sharing a platform with the Buick Special and Oldsmobile F85, the Pontiac variant used a drivetrain arrangement that made it unique.

Envisioned by John Delorean, and dubbed Rope Drive, the front-engine/rear transaxle setup allowed for a flat floor, and served to quell the inherent vibration of the huge 4 cylinder engine, which also debuted in the Tempest that year. In order to achieve this, the Rope Drive worked like a speedometer cable. A curved torque tube mated the engine with the transaxle, and into that was mounted a one-piece flexible shaft, which followed the arc, and was centered by a mid-tube bearing. The torque tube negated the need for universal joints at either end, and the 3/4" driveshaft spun freely despite the 3" arc.

Rope drive, and the big-ass four-banger only lasted three years, but that was long enough for today's candidate – a 1962 Tempest Convertible Automatic – to be built. It sports the 115bhp 194.5cid slant-four engine (half the 389 V8) under its furrowed-brow hood, and back between the rear tires is a corvair-based TempesTorque 2-speed automatic. This is a car for cruising the boulevard, not stoplight hoonage. That's not to say it's lacking in the fun department. Its top, much like Pamela Anderson, will go down. And there's something special about 1960's American ragtops that makes them as appealing as the image of Pambo. . . well, you know.

The original price for the series 21 tempest drop-top was a two chickens in every pot-friendly $2,564, plus options. As the seller of this white over red convertible is a man of few words, we'll just have to speculate whether it has Wondertouch power brakes, or the ashtray illumination option. The ad does say that the car runs and shifts, but needs a new top. It also appears to be sporting a single whitewall tire there, so its got that going for it.


Those meager tidbits don't give you much to go on, and there aren't any interior shots for you to tell if it's full of rabid raccoons or douche-bag hipsters, but you've been confronted with harder tasks in the past than whether $3,500 is a fair asking for this odd-duck.

So what'll it be today, Nice Price for this petite Pontiac? Or does $3,500 make your hope dive despite the rope drive?


You decide!


San Francisco Craigslist, or go here, if the ad gets roped into something else.

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