Not surprisingly, it's the big-power V8 cars that have evolved into highly desirable collectibles today. However, a few very rare Ponchos from the 1960s don't come with V8 mills under their hoods. The 1967 LeMans Sprint is one of them.
Introduced as a compact in 1962, the LeMans became a midsize model in 1964. That's when it spawned the GTO as a performance package. When the latter became a separate model in 1966, the LeMans gained a 230-cubic-inch (3.8-liter) inline-six as a base engine. But Pontiac also introduced a higher-performance Sprint package that added a four-barrel carburetor to the six-cylinder, enabling it to deliver 207 horsepower. The bundle was offered through 1969.
Needless to say, the LeMans Sprint isn't the most desirable Pontiac from the era, but it's quite rare. In 1967, for instance, only about 5,500 LeMans models of all body styles were equipped as Sprints. That's only 5% of all LeMans production for the year, which came in at nearly 105,000 units.
If we also factor in body styles and transmission options, we can get some pretty low numbers. For instance, only 1,500 Sprints were convertibles and just 1,100 left the factory as hardtops with automatic transmissions. The car you see here is one of them.
This fine-looking 1967 LeMans Sprint is owned by Mike Atlas and it comes with a really cool story. Because Mike didn't buy it because he couldn't afford a V8-powered LeMans. He actually wanted a Sprint with an inline-six under the hood. Why? Well, he had one when he was a young man and he simply wanted to find another one to use as a daily driver.
But because these 1967 Sprints are so rare, it took Mike quite a find years to find one. He finally did in 2021, and now, he is the happy owner of a perfect-looking Poncho. Not only this thing looks absolutely gorgeous inside and out, but the overhead cam inline-six shines like it just left the assembly line.
And before you argue that a six-cylinder Pontiac is underpowered compared to its V8 siblings, a quick look at the 1967 LeMans will prove you wrong. Because while the four-barrel OHC-6 came with 215 horsepower, the 326-cubic-inch (5.3-liter) V8 that was also available in the LeMans in 1967 was rated at 250 horsepower. Yes, it's an extra 35 horses for the V8, but the Sprint was about 176 pounds (80 kg) lighter.
According to many Pontiac historians, this six-cylinder proved that you didn't need to bring a V8 to the muscle car party. At least to a party of small-block engines. And it sounds quite good when the pedal hits the floor. Check it out in the video below.