1963 Pontiac LeMans

If Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick had been an autocrosser and road racer instead of a drag racer, this would've been his ride. Actually, Damion Campbell's 1963 LeMans does share a little bit of Beswick DNA; the VFN fiberglass front clip is the same style used on Beswick's Tameless Tiger drag car. We're sure this radical Pontiac would get his blessing.

When Campbell first started getting interested in autocross, something like the LeMans wasn't even on his radar. He initially set out looking at Z06 Corvettes since they require very little work to be effective on big and little tracks. But Campbell has been building street hot rods for many years and the idea of making a late-model his track toy just didn't sit as well with him. While on the search for what would be the foundation of his build, this 1963 LeMans popped up in Indiana. (If the car looks familiar, it's because we saw it at the Goodguys Autocross when it was previously owned by Mike King.) Campbell loved the stock car racer look, so he bought it with the intent of making it more of a streetable car. After some changes to chassis and suspension, Campbell dropped in a new engine and trans more suited to his intentions for the LeMans, then set about handling the bodywork, which included changing the paint from matte black to a light metallic green. We know that was no small task either; while the VFN front clip may be available, not much else is, so four different quarter-panels were required to repair the rot and damage.

The chassis seems to have been worked, since the LeMans was a strong contender in all events at MCOTY, ending up with a Fourth Place finish overall. Actually, with a Third Place finish in the autocross against cars built from the get-go with handling in mind, we'd say Campbell's chassis tweaks were extremely effective. Still look like it's too much of a race car to you? Looks can be deceiving. Campbell actually drives the LeMans daily and has even taken a few road trips in it.

1963 Pontiac LeMans
Damion Campbell
Mukwonago, WI

Type: 550 hp, 383ci AMC Racing small-block Chevy
Rotating assembly: Eagle crank and rods with Mahle pistons
Cylinder heads: CNC-ported Air Flow Research 220cc
Camshaft: COMP Cams; .377-/.381-inch lift, 236/242 degrees at .050
Valvetrain: Ferrea valves with AFR springs, Scorpion rockers and TrickFlow pushrods
Induction: Edelbrock Victor Jr. with 750-cfm Holley
Exhaust: Dynatech headers with custom exhaust
Ignition: MSD digital 6AL with Blaster 2 coil

Transmission: Tremec TKO 600 five-speed with Hurst shifter and McCleod twin-disc clutch
Rearend: Moser 9-inch floater with 4.10 gears and Eaton Truetrac

Front suspension: Mustang II control arms and spindles with RideTech triple-adjustable coilovers and springs, Hotchkis sway bar
Rear suspension: custom four-link with RideTech triple-adjustable coilovers and springs
Steering: Mustang II rack-and-pinion
Brakes: 13-inch Wilwood, front and rear
Chassis: full tube frame
Wheels & tires: 17x8 and 17x10 Rushforth with 275/40 and 315/35 Nitto NT05

¼-mile Drag (best): 12.583 at 116.35 mph
⅛-mile Speed-Stop (avg.): 9.5197 seconds
Autocross (avg.): 48.599 seconds
Overall score: 96.141