Last revised: 26-1-2009

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1966 Pontiac model range: the Tempest

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The mid-size model line of Pontiac was called Tempest. It was one of the prettiest 1960s mid-size designs and had an youthful and modern appeal in the U.S.A. In Europe it was impossible to market the car as such because it would compare as large and expensive to competing European cars. So in advertising style and luxury were stressed and a older segment of buyers were addressed, as you can see in the Mediterranean picture above (note the obsolete CitroŽn Traction Avant as a contrast in the background; if it had been the contemporary DS model instead this picture would have made a totally different statement...).
Mid-size according to American standards meant very large in Europe. A contemporary European large and luxurious car like the Mercedes 300 SEL for instance measured 490 x 181 x 144 cm. (length x width x height) where the same measurements for the Tempest 4-door versions (all hardtops) were 524 x 189 x 137 cm. Considering that the Mercedes was one of the largest (and costliest) European cars within the segment the Tempest was competing in you probably can imagine that it was hard to sell it as an entry-level offer.
The car in the picture above is the Le Mans hardtop sedan. The Le Mans range was a more luxurious edition of the Tempest range. At 13,897 units produced the Le Mans hardtop sedan wasn't the most successful version, but it was one of the more popular models in Europe

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