1967 Pontiacs: Greg Gives Us The History Behind This Iconic Car

Greg Zyla
Q: Hi Greg and I enjoy your columns in our area newspaper. My very first car was a 1967 Pontiac Lemans and it was a light green two-door hardtop with a black vinyl top and chrome trim wheels. Is there any chance you can do an article of the 1967 Pontiacs and also where can I find a model kit of the ’67 Lemans? Thanks very much, Rich Hernandez., Catawissa, Pa.
A: Rich, I’m happy to oblige. The 1967 Lemans was an important car for the overall financial success of Pontiac, especially the models from 1964 through 1967. In its enhanced Lemans trim from the base Tempest offerings, be it two door or four door, Lemans delivered both the youth market and then added the older consumer in all demographic ages thanks to its beautiful styling and midsize trim. All versions rode on the Tempest/Lemans/GTO wheelbase of 115-inches and I always felt the 1966 and 1967 Lemans/GTO models were the best looking thanks to those stacked headlights and inward pointing twin front grilles.
As for history, the very first ever Lemans options appeared on the 1961 to 1963 compact Tempest, and these early models rode on a three-inch shorter wheelbase of 112 inches. Power was either a 4-cylinder or a 215-inch aluminum V8 for power.
By 1964, the newly styled Lemans that receives credit for initiating the entire midsize muscle car era with its 389-V8 GTO option, which today is one of the most respected cars in the history of high performance. By 1967 the GTO was one of the kings of the boulevard, especially in V8 Ram Air dress.
Many a youngster that didn’t have a GTO relied on exactly what you had, a Lemans that looked as close to a GTO as the manufacturer would allow. As for sales, over 104,902 Lemans models were sold in 1967 compared to the GTO, which did well at 81,722 units. The Lemans engines included a unique 230-inch single overhead cam (SOHC) inline-6, with either a two-barrel or a four-barrel in the Sprint model. The six wasn’t that popular, as the trusty 326-V8 that topped out at 285 horses with a four-barrel was the option of choice. The GTO, now a standalone trim since 1966, found its engine growing from 389 to 400 in 1967 with a 360 horse version the hot ticket.
Another notable in 1967 was the introduction of the Pontiac Firebird, as GM finally went head-to-head with the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda for Pony Car sales. The Ford and Plymouth pony cars had been out since 1964, and although a bit late to the party the 108.1-inch wheelbase Firebird was popular to the tune of 82,560 sold that first year. The initial Firebirds relied on the same powertrains as your Lemans although in March, a 400-inch Ram Air V8 was added to the list at an advertised 325 horses.
Personally, one of my high school buddies had a baby blue 1967 Pontiac Lemans convertible with the 326 V8 and it was a beautiful car. Most popular of the individual Lemans trims was the hardtop coupe, where more than 75,000 were sold in ’67 and yours was one of them. The price without any options was $2,648 for the hardtop and the curb weight came in at 3,155 pounds.
Currently, and because the Lemans and the GTO are so similar in looks, there are many fine collector cars for sale out there. Both interiors are similar with wood grain dashboards and center consoles.
Other Pontiacs in 1967 that deserve note are the full size models Catalina and Grand Prix that rode on 121-inch wheelbases while the Pontiac Executive and Bonneville were the biggest Pontiacs that year, with a stretched 124-inch wheelbase. The full size Pontiacs also offered either a 400-inch V8 or a 428 V8, the latter up to 376 horsepower.
The best seller of the bunch? The 1967 Pontiac Catalina sold 240,750 cars including sedans, coupes and station wagons while the Grand Prix sold the least at 37,125 units in one trim only, a two-door hardtop.
As for that model car you seek, AMT and MPC both make a nice looking 1967 GTO kit, but I’ll keep my eye open for a 1967 Lemans model if I can track one down.
Thanks for your letter Rich and look me up at this year’s Bloomsburg Nationals Car Show in Bloomsburg, Pa., in August. The organizers are having a special Pontiac display with lots of “Ponchos” expected all over the grounds. 
Facebook Twitter
View Count 970