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Blown 1963 Pontiac Tempest

Blown 1963 Pontiac Tempest

Supercar Science in a Not So Plain Brown Wrapper

It's hard to tell if the wing on Phil Riley's awesome '63 Tempest Pro Street car disguises or reinforces the fact that this is an altered wheebase street car with the 9-nch Ford rearend moved forward four inches. Can you spot it? Phil Riley had that vision when he crafted a Pro Street version of a 1963 Pontiac Tempest with a blown 421 cubic inch Pontiac V8. Phil's version leans a bit to the high end side as he is the owner of Riley Customs in Martinsville, Indiana and he is used to a high level of detail inthe cars he builds. you would never guess that this car was built from the discarded hulk of a parts car that he used to build his wife's '63 Tempest that was purchased from the folks.
Phil kept it real with an all Pontiac powertrain. The 421ci Pontiac V8 sports a 8-71 BDS supercharger equipped with dual 650 cfm Holley four barrels.
Stance is an important factor in a Pro Street car. Phil made sure this Poncho had the right attitude with a complete tube chassis fitted within the removable body. The drag racing look is reinforced with a drag inspired altered wheelbase. The 9-inch Ford rear axle is located four inches forward of the stock location and hung with a custom 4-link system. Mickey Thompson front runners and Sportsman SR rear tires roll on Weld Racing 15 x 3 front wheels and super-sized 15 x 15 wheels in the back to obtain the desirable "Wall of Rubber" rear view and establish the proper forward rake to achieve the correct drag strip stance. It gives the car a bit of a sixties Gasser look.
The all iron 421 cubic inch Pontiac V8 was a team effort with Dan Quinlin performing the long block assembly while Phil took are of porting the iron heads. The polished Blower Drive Service supercharge is set up at 10% underdriven and delivers moderate boost for operation on pump gas. A pair of C&S Specialties 650 cfm Holley cabs feed the beast to the estimated tune of approximately 600 horsepower which is more than suitable for this application. They are topped with a polished shotgun scoop.

The powerplant is backed up by a custom-built Turbo 400 transmission with a Coan 3500 rpm stall speed torque converter.

To make it reliable for street duty a custom March front dress and pulley system is teamed with a massive BeCool aluminum radiator to disperse engine heat. And a full Vintage Air air conditioning system keeps the interior icy cool.

The firewall was moved back three inches to accommodate the heavy duty cooling system. Bill Carter fabricated the trick vented inner fender panels and Riley added the custom louvers to the front fenders to further exhaust engine heat. Although it is built to a drag racing spec, it is fully equipped for reliable street operation
Awesome details abound in this finely crafted street machine. From the custom exhaust ports ahead of the rear tires to a luxurious and fully functional all-leather interior with an incredible level of trim for a hot rod, this car is a masterpiece of hot rodding execution. Here at Alternate Supercars we like to stress the the little guy, homebuilt approach wherever possible but there is no way you can't appreciate the craftsmanship in this car.

It took Phil eight long years to build this car because he was so busy building cars for other people. We think it deserve a definite, "hell yeah" and two thumbs up for execution. Well done Phil.



Owner Phil Riley
Riley Customs
3325 Indiana 44, Martinsville, IN 46151
(765) 349-1511

Photos by
John Baechtel and Christopher Kay