We will cover this more in-depth at a later time, but I seem to be on a mission to own at least one of every car my parents ever had – at least as long as I’ve been around. I’ve had the Fiat 850 Spider, the Mercedes W123 and W126, and the Alfa Spider (although there remains some debate over just whose car it was), but one car I have long lusted after yet never built up the courage to ask my wife if I can buy is a Pontiac LeMans like this example
on eBay in Columbia, South Carolina with a Buy it Now price of $16,000. Understand, she hates 1970s-vintage American cars – for personal reasons involving a Dodge Monaco named “Big Rosie”….
Now the LeMans my folks had was a 1969 and was a hardtop. It was also painted 1969 metallic brown and had white vinyl interior and a vinyl roof. It also – like this car – had bucket seats and a console shift. It also had the big chrome Pontiac beak like this car has, which I very much prefer to the later (1970 and later) style more generic-looking nose treatment. The painted beak on contemporary GTOs is nice too, especially when combined with the hideaway headlights, but I am a fan of chrome and this car has it to the nines.
1968 was the first year for the “coke bottle” style GM A-Body cars, which also included the Chevy Chevelle, Olds Cutlass, and Buick Century. They were available in 2-door hardtop, 2-door convertible, 4-door, and station wagon bodies with varying motor options. This car has the most common: 350 small block with the Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmission. The seller does not indicate if it is numbers-matching and original to this car, but at this price point and for a casual driver, does it really matter? The 350 is common and cheap to service. That said, the ambitious owner has numerous choices of crate motors which could easily be swapped into this car to transform it into something else altogether.
I love the black bucket/console interior in this car, and although red may not have been my first choice for the exterior it is nicely complemented by the black interior and the black convertible top. Later cars had head restraints – to the extent they were actually able to restrain anything being short, wide, and not terribly well-placed. I prefer the clean look of these buckets without them. For those of us in the hot, humid part of the U.S. air conditioning would be nice, but it can probably be ordered along with just about every other single part for these cars from the big GM restoration companies like Year One who sell not only restoration bits but also upgrades to build yourself that resto-mod you’ve been wanting… Perhaps they sell a factory-style steering wheel to replace the one on this car that looks like it was stolen off a vintage Pole Position video game.
Sixteen grand is a little spendy for a toy for a guy like me, but I have to think that there is some appreciation potential for these cars as time goes by – especially considering that there will be no new Pontiacs. That’s a rant for a different day, but as American cars go I was always a Pontiac guy. In the meantime, someone with the means would do well to snatch up a car like this, tweak it as needed or wanted along the way (replace the small rally wheels with the larger replicas, please!) and just enjoy it. I’d buy it myself, but…..