Real Wheels: Tempest is their ‘pleasure car’

LANDECK – There’s very little Dennis Beam can do that surprises his wife, Diane. Not after 46 years of marriage.

However, her antenna shot up when he started talking about buying a friend’s 1967 Pontiac Tempest custom convertible.

Dennis recalled, “I once said when the time came that we weren’t riding our motorcycle as much, I wanted to get a classic car. When we went to look at the Tempest, Diane wasn’t convinced that I would be happy with it. However, I saw its potential.”

That was seven years ago. Today, the 2003 Kawasaki Nomad motorcycle is parked in the garage and both husband and wife refer to the Tempest as “our pleasure car.”

“We enjoy taking it out on weekends with the top down, “Dennis said. “We’ll take it to car shows or cruise-ins with the top down.”

He likes to point out the Tempest has a similar body style to the Pontiac GTO and LeMans, both of which were the pride of Pontiac in 1967.

“The interiors are different, but that’s about it,” he said. “Our car has a bench seat with a pull down center, giving it the look of bucket seats.”

Dennis has done several things to return his Tempest to glory.

One of the first things was getting rid of its white convertible top.

“When I took Diane to see it, she took one look at the car and said it needs a black top. I got to thinking, ‘You know, she’s right.’”

Over the years he’s done some touch-up painting, had dents removed, seats reupholstered, disc brakes and new chrome added, and wheel rims replaced.

“The car has the same paint job on it from when I purchased it, but having it buffed out made the paint look so much different,” he noted.

His Tempest has a 400 engine with 370 horsepower and a four-speed Hurst factory floor shifter with a 355 limited slip 10 bolt rear end.

The 67-year-old Landeck resident’s love for cars comes from his dad, Leroy Beam.

“The first car I owned was a 1966 two-door Ford LTD. Dad was trying to sell it, but couldn’t find a buyer. He parked it in a barn and later he gave it to me. I’ll never forget that.”

NEXT WEEK: Restoring classic cars is a hobby that runs in the Beam family. Dennis’ twin brother, Kenny, owns a 1969 Cutlass Convertible that will be the Real Wheels feature next week on The Lima News Driver’s Seat page.


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