The 1968, Pontiac LeMans was a trim upgrade of the Pontiac Tempest; the latter got lost in the shuffle when the similarly-looking cousin Pontiac GTO emerged as one of the leading muscle cars of the late 1960s. In fact, the GTO was a performance package for the LeMans before it got its own nameplate in 1966. As a consequence, the LeMans never enjoyed having the performance engines found in the GTO.
Under the Hood
The base engine for the 1968 Pontiac LeMans and its sibling, the Tempest, was a 175-horsepower, 250-cubic-inch in-line six-cylinder engine with a single-barrel carburetor and a 9.0-to-1 compression ratio; it developed 240 foot-pounds of torque. An optional V-8 displacing 350 cubic inches and wielding 265 horsepower and 355 foot-pounds of torque was also available. It featured a two-barrel carburetor and a 9.2-to-1 compression ratio. The third option was the High Output 320-horsepower, 350 V-8 featuring a four-barrel carburetor, a 10.5-to-1 compression ratio and dual exhausts, being able to develop 380 foot-pounds of torque. A three-speed manual or automatic matched the straight-six engine, while the four-speed manual or automatic was mated with the V-8s. The final gear ratio was 3.23-to-1 on the sixes and 350 V-8s with standard transmissions. The final gear ratio on the V-8s with an automatic was 2.56-to-1. The 350 HO V-8 with the four-speed manual transmission came with a 3.36-to-1 final gear ratio.
The 1968 LeMans came in two-door convertible, hardtop coupe and sports coupe, as well as four-door hardtop trims. Pontiac placed the LeMans on a 112-inch wheelbase. The body was 211 inches long, 74.8 inches wide and 52.3 inches tall. Its front and rear track width was 60 inches. The curbside weight rating was 3,287 pounds. Inside, the Lemans coupes had 41.3 inches of legroom while the four-door hardtop had 41.5 inches of legroom. Front headroom on the coupe was 37.5 inches, while the four-door version featured 38 inches of front headroom. Rear legroom on the two-door models was 32.4 inches, while the four-door models had 33.8 inches of legroom. Rear headroom on the two-door coupes was 36.2 inches, and the four-door models had 36.9 inches of rear headroom. The fuel tank held 21.5 gallons.
The Lemans featured independent front suspension with ball joints, and upper/lower control arms, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. The rear featured a spring-over axle, upper/lower control arms, coil springs and shocks. The brakes were all drums, measuring 9.5 inches in diameter. Front disc brakes were optional. The wheels were 14-inch steel rims.
Options and Production
Optional equipment for the Lemans included air conditioning, power brakes and steering, console with bucket seats, exhaust extensions, luggage carrier, remote-control exterior mirrors, vinyl roof, power seats, custom wheel covers, power windows and Rally II wheels. Pontiac, for the 1968 model year, produced 9,002 four-door hardtops, 8,439 two-door coupes, 110,036 two-door hardtops and 8,820 convertibles.
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