Introduced in 1961 as a top-of-the-line version of the Tempest compact, the Pontiac LeMans became a stand-alone nameplate in 1963. In 1964, it was redesigned as an intermediate and began sharing styling cues with the GTO.
While the latter was discontinued in 1974, the LeMans soldiered on as a midsize until 1981. Come 2022, and the LeMans is nowhere near as desirable as the GTO, but it’s just as cool in terms of exterior design and drivetrains. At least in my book.
So seeing an old LeMans coming out of long-term storage is just as entertaining to me. Especially if the said Poncho is of the numbers-matching variety. Like the Springfield Green example you’re about to see below.
Yes, it’s a 1972 model, which means it’s not the most desirable LeMans out there, but it’s one of those cars that’s been in the same family since new. But because the original owner could no longer drive it as she got older, the Poncho was parked in a barn in 2002.
With the owner has since passed away and with no one to get the car running again, the LeMans ended up spending no fewer than 20 years in the barn. And with the wooden construction on the verge of collapsing, the son-in-law decided it was time to take it out, fix it, and put it back on the road.
He commissioned the folks over at YouTube’s “Restored” to handle the task, and they were kind enough to document the entire rescue operation. I just love it when that happens.
So is this LeMans still solid enough to become road-worthy again? Well, don’t let the fact that it was buried in trash fool you. This Poncho still has plenty of life left in it. Once freed from the barn, the LeMans revealed itself as a fantastic survivor with next to no visible rust issues and a sound exterior. Even the gorgeous green paint appears to be in good condition.
But by far, the best thing about it is that it’s a numbers-matching car that still rocks its original V8. The son-in-law says the coupe is fitted with the “smaller V8,” which means that it probably packs a 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) mill.
While not as potent as the 455-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) powerplant, which generated up to 300 horsepower in HO form, the 350 is plenty powerful at 175 horses net. At least for the 1972 model year. Will it still run? Well, that’s something we will find out when the folks over at “Restored” get a chance to meddle under the hood. Until then, watch it come out of the barn in the video below.
By the way, did you know that 1972 was the year when Pontiac stopped offering the GTO as a separate nameplate, turning it into an option package for the LeMans?