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1966 Pontiac Tempest Sprint - The New Kid

GTO clues and brand new OHC six power captured the automotive press and the public's interest.
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While others were just getting on the muscle car bandwagon, Pontiac unleashed the ultimate insurance fighter, years ahead of the curve. They saw that there was a performance market below the muscle car, and built an engine that could give spirited performance in the ever so popular GM A-Body - without the gas-guzzling, tire shredding activities of the V8 crowd.

The option was available on every LeMans, Tempest Custom and Tempest, with the exception of the station wagon body style. Aside from the unique engine package, the only other standard features were heavy duty suspension and a vinyl stripe kit on the two door body styles.  All else was a pay as you go proposition.

The heart of the Sprint's option package was the OverHead Camshaft 6-cylinder engine. Pontiac's newest version of the venerable inline-6 featured a cam that was mounted in a multi-bearing cradle on top of the head, directly actuating the valve rockers, thus eliminating twelve push rods from the valve train. With 207 HP and a Quadrajet 4 bbl carb (surprisingly, this carburetor's first appearance on a Pontiac engine) and split dual exhaust - the Sprint could scoot.

It was good idea, somewhat overshadowed by the GTO, which sold nearly 100,000 units in 1966. Also, with no serious outcry for improved fuel economy for a performance car in this age of 20-cent a gallon, regular-grade fuel prices, this engine was for the most part an exercise in advanced engineering. Top cat at Pontiac, John DeLorean, was a talented engineer at heart, so this piece of fancy innovation was just what the boss ordered. For a new idea, even a small amount of sales would be considered a success, and at just under 20,000 units, the car accomplished its goal.

To see the Sprint in 1966 Pontiac Ads, click here.

To see the info on the Sprint in the Pontiac Performance Brochure, click here.

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Pontiac anticipated the insurance-fighter well before anyone else.

The engine was styled to look the part of a high performance piece - inside the engine bay it was not as impressive.




















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