If the 1960’s are remembered for one thing, it is the insane horsepower wars undertaken by the Detroit 3 against each other. This was an era of big-block engines, no-holds-barred street-legal race cars, and some of the best-looking vehicles to ever hit the streets. But as fondly as we remember those big V8 engines, there were other less-known, engines out there that are only now being rediscovered by enthusiasts.
Bangshift was tipped off to this trio of awesome videos starring a 1964 Pontiac Tempest powered by a 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine cranking out a crazy amount of horsepower. But what is really impressive is that this turbo engine is period correct.
Yup, you read that right. Back in “the day”, when big-block V8’s were all the rage, GM was still playing around with smaller engines. Most famously there was the Corvair turbo. Among them was the 194 cubic-inch I4, which was literally half of the Pontiac 389 V8 engine. The engine was designed with help from Yunick, though it wasn’t with performance in mind.
As we can see from this trio of videos though, this little four-banger can be quite potent, when properly equipped. In this case, the proper equipment includes an aluminum cylinder head and a huge turbocharger that helps this half-a-V8 produce an incredible 600 horsepower. Say what you will about the missing four cylinders, but this ‘64 Tempest has no problem producing lots of tire smoke.
These days, going big doesn’t necessarily mean “going big”. It’s about doing something different enough and cool enough to stand out from the crowd…and this turbocharged Tempest certainly fits the bill.