FEBRUARY 2024: THIS BEAUTIFUL 1962 PONTIAC TEMPEST SPORT COUPE IS A PRICELESS FAMILY HEIRLOOM

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Tony House was only 22 years old when he walked into a Pontiac dealership and bought a brand-new Tempest Sport Coupe in 1962.

Tony used the car as his daily driver when he was a young family man and gathered many memories along the way, including a few summer road trips with his wife Joan and son Bruce. The summer car adventures in the family Tempest helped shape Bruce’s childhood, and he can recall a time when he was small enough to sleep on the rear package sill instead of the back seat while on a road trip.

One unfortunate incident occurred during the mid-1970s during a time when Tony still used the ’62 Tempest on a regular basis and the car’s carb started on fire. The incident prompted Tony to pull the car off the road and retire the Tempest from regular use, but he vowed to “one day restore it and go to car shows”, a promise that Bruce vividly recalled from his younger years.

Tony wanted to coincide the restoration with his retirement, so Tony told his restoration guy to take his time, subsequently it became a lengthy process and took seven years before it was completed roughly around his retirement. The most important part of the equation is the Tempest was back to showroom condition under Tony’s watch. Unfortunately, Tony and his wife Joan both passed away in 2020 within a few months of each other–but not before Tony picked up a trophy at a summer car show that year.

The car with so many fond family memories ended up with Bruce after the passing of his parents and has remained with him to this very day.

Bruce recalled his first time driving a car because he was behind the wheel of the Tempest after his father Tony allowed him to drive the car up and down a gravel road in front of their property when he was only 11 years old.

Bruce also recalled another more controversial driving incident when he was 13 and “borrowed” his dad’s Tempest so he could drive the car to the town swimming facility because it was too far and too hot to ride his bike.

Things went OK until Bruce blew a stop sign and was stopped by a local police officer. Bruce had a buddy (whose father was also a local policeman) with him in the Tempest at the time. The father/son family connection helped Bruce avoid serious driving violations on the spot and he heeded the cop’s advice to head straight home with the car.

Bruce felt he had won the lottery with the happy outcome until he saw a police car arriving at his parents’ house and knew the police officer was there to let his dad know about the underage driving incident.

Bruce admitted to his dad that he took the car, and, to his surprise, his father did not blow his top about the situation. Instead, his father remained calm and told Bruce he was very lucky to avoid serious consequences from the joy ride.

It is obvious that Bruce’s roots with the Tempest also run very deep and he is the right person to own it in 2024. The car retains its original 4-banger engine (essentially half a 389 Poncho V-8) connected to its factory “rope drive” with a rear transaxle drive system.

The car is well-documented and even has its original sales order sheet with a short list of features and options, including factory AC, 2-speed automatic transmission and an AM radio.

The net result is a car that can take Bruce right down memory lane whenever he gets behind the wheel of his dad’s 1962 Pontiac Tempest Sport Coupe.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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