Tom Cheatwood switched to Pontiacs in 1987 when he purchased and began restoring his 1968 GTO. Later on he acquired a real project car, a 1962 Pontiac Tempest from his brother-in-law. The old Tempest had seen life as a passenger car and later as a race car powered by a 421 mill. Tom planned on returning the car to drag racing form, this time with a larger displacement 455 Pontiac engine.

The photo to the left was the condition of the engine bay and old mill.

Here's a photo showing the poor condition of the Tempest's interior after sitting for 15 years. Clearly, Tom had work ahead. Well...time, money, inclination and tender loving care paid off.
As you can see, the Formula steering wheel, new upholstery, carpeting, 5- point roll cage, Hurst line lock makes the interior sparkle.

Technical Data

Block 455 bored .030" over
Crank stock cast assembly
Rods stock cast, polished side beams
Piston/rings TRW
Heads 6x-4 heads milled .30, home ported by owner; SS 2.11 and 1.77 valves; Comp Cams #995 springs, stock keepers
Cam Competition Cams 286AH-8; 236/244 duration @ .050" lift, intake/exhaust;.489" lift intake, .500" on the exhaust side, 108 LSA. UPDATE 2004: Engine equipped with Crane's 041 Blueprint camshaft
Timing set true roller
Intake/carb Performer RPM with .500" removed on divider on secondary; Speed Demon 750 vacuum secondary with 76 jets on primary and 80 on secondary. UPDATE 2004:
Now running Holley DP wih 78 and 84 jets.
Fuel Pump Carter electrical (6 psi)
Lubrication stock
Ignition HEI unit with MSD 6a box set at 32 total mechanical advance
Exhaust Dynomax headers; muffler shop bent pipes; 3" into Dynomax mufflers with 2.5" tail pipes (no crossover)
Drivetrain TH 400 with Turbo Action valve body; Yank (set up tight) 3000 stall converter
Suspension front and rear disc brakes, Mustang II spindles, Ford Granada rotors and TA calipers; tubular A frames, rack and pinion steering, 1" sway bar; rear: Southside Machine lift bars; 8.5" Trans Am posi unit (3.42 or 3.23 gearing)
Tires rear wheel well radiused in early '70s, flares added by owner; Cragar Ultralites with 205/75 radials and 28" ET drag tires on the rear
Gasoline 93 octane pump gas
Weight 3250 pound curb weight; 3445 with driver
Performance Best pass: 11.51 @ 116.42 mph at Hallsville Raceway with 3.23 gears; Usually runs 11.60 to 11.80s during summer months UPDATE 2004: On 2-8-2004 at Hallsville Raceway, car turned 11.45 @ 115.94 mph with 60' of 1.59. It was followed with another 11.45 ET with a 1.61 second 60'
The 455 awaits installation (above); 455 installed in its new home (below).
Exterior color is Torch Red--painted by the owner.