the car junkie daily magazine.


The Road Less Traveled: This 1975 Pontiac LeMans Needs An Alternative Build Plan!

The Road Less Traveled: This 1975 Pontiac LeMans Needs An Alternative Build Plan!

My normal reaction whenever I see a clean 1970s-era GM A-body: “Oh, cool, it’s kind of like the Chevelle I used to own. Make power, praise handling, decry gigantic bumpers.” It’s a simple train of thought, but it’s one that works for me. My 1973 Chevelle had terminal rot not unlike the Titanic but was a freaking riot to throw around by the scruff of the neck, so every time I see an approachable Colonnade body, I perk up. And looking at this 1975 Pontiac LeMans, the temptation to stay true to the formula of stout small block, automatic and mag wheels would be a good choice for a basic build…but this particular car needs something else different.

This particular car is a basic model LeMans, complete with a 250ci Chevrolet-sourced six cylinder and a three-speed manual on the tree, a setup that was quickly disappearing from American roads. Don’t be fooled by the air conditioning, that is an afterthought that was installed on the car in more recent times. This sucker would’ve been the basic, low buck volume mover, the kind of car that was used until death, then thrown out with the trash. Except this one wasn’t…it appears to have lived a mostly charmed life in Illinois. The paint is fresh, as are the wheels, and we’d still look over the body just to be safe, but what about a build?

Here, I don’t think a 455 swap would be right. Instead, this is one of the few times I’d advocate for a six-cylinder…in this case, a Pontiac OHC 250ci engine that has been worked up to Sprint levels of power. With a manual transmission Pontiac sent them out of the door with 23o horsepower, and that’s bone-stock. Who needs bone-stock when messing with the engine can be fun? We might know some people who could help you along…

Facebook Marketplace link: 1975 Pontiac LeMans

  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

6 thoughts on “The Road Less Traveled: This 1975 Pontiac LeMans Needs An Alternative Build Plan!

  1. Arild Guldbrandsen

    Not many made with manual transmisssion,so the clutch pedal is rare in these bodys..i would swap in a LS and a 6 speed,and do a complete disc swap front and rear..and all the goodies in the suspension…and find track days or autocrossing schedule for some years to come.

  2. Gavin

    What a cool survivor, and I’m onboard with Arild on the best formula for this car. I’ve owned two 73 Grand Am’s, (still have one), and a 77 Lemans wagon, and there is just something about these cars that make them a blast to drive. The idea of a modified overhead cam 6 is a definitely unique, but you really need some torque and horsepower to hustle these cars around. Even a 4.8 or 5.3 with a four or five speed would still deliver huge smiles. Price of admission is at the upper end, but then the body and interior present well, so all follow up funding can go to drivetrain. I bet with careful spending that this thing could be a confident performer for $10k. Hope it goes to a good home!

    1. Bryan McTaggart Post author

      The thing is that I wouldn’t want to get rid of the three-on-the-tree, and if you’re going to keep that, you might as well keep the six too. The Vortec 4.2 wouldn’t be a bad call!

  3. jerry z

    The Lemans always played 2nd fiddle to the Grand Am but I’m starting to warm up to these cars.

  4. Cary A Gay

    250ci SOHC would be the perfect engine and keep the three in the tree just for the hell of it. That would be great, and out of the norm.

Comments are closed.