Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Project Car: 1966 Pontiac Tempest finds new home at Junkyard Life

Jody, Keith and Ron in front of their latest purchase, a 1966 Pontiac Tempest in yellow.
Jody, Keith, and Ron find another Pontiac.  

What is a Tempest?

  • A violent windy storm
  • Story about a storm that turns into a blessing
  • Violent commotion or turmoil 
  • A beautiful girl we went to school with
  • The closest thing a guy could get to a GTO in 1966
  • The newest (and oldest) occupant in Junkyard Life/Keith Lively’s stable

Ten points if you guessed one of the above!

Yellow 1966 Pontiac Tempest has been parked a few years in this garage.
As found in the garage.

Letting go

At times, a car can be more than an old hunk of metal taking up residence in your basement. It can mean something to your family. When life dictates a change and demands hard decisions, your options can be difficult. In those times a good understanding of the character and the intentions of the new owner are paramount. Enter Keith Lively of Junkyard Life and lifelong Pontiac enthusiast. Sometimes the stars align and the right people come along when they are needed. 

Candlelight Cream paint with black interior.


Actually Junkyard Life has a lifelong Pontiac passion. We couldn’t hide that if we wanted to. So we were honored when we were trusted to become a candidate to be the next caretakers of this prized 1966 Pontiac Tempest. Keith drew the winning card. The reality is that had Jody or I called dibs, Keith would have beaten us up and stolen our claims to Pontiac fame. He heard violins and angels singing when the car was uncovered.

Mike, the previous owner, unfortunately passed away. This Pontiac was almost his dream car. Mike searched hither and yon for a GTO but he just could not find one. This Tempest Coupe was as close as he could come to a GTO. Mike's wife, Valerie, knew this was the right crew for the car. Valerie explained that once this Tempest was in his garage, Mike treated it as a prized possession. He cared for the preservation and enjoyed the car as much as time would allow. Including ice cream runs and even a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Stacked headlamps and 326 fender emblem.

Hub caps and a post
You didn’t have to be an expert to feel the love we all shared for this post sedan. We could feel it from the time the cover came off to show the Candlelight Cream (code Y) paint over the accents of a black interior. A classy combination indeed. The combination of class and color only continued with the choice of rolling stock. All stock and rolling on all of the original 14-inch Tempest hubcaps. One of us here at Junkyard Life is a hub cap nerd. That guy is really happy…just saying. I will enjoy the hubcaps while I can, for a set of 1973 Pontiac Rally IIs are on the way. I really can’t argue with that.  

Four flat tires were filled with air but the old rubber was in bad shape.

Power train choices aplenty in 1966
This Tempest was fortunate enough to have an upgrade or two under the hood. As much as we love the Sprint 6 as the surprise performer that it was , we are not in the least bit disappointed in this 326 C.I.D V8 we found between the fenders on this Pontiac. This motor had been out of the car, seemingly rebuilt and detailed. The 250 hp power plant has a slightly bigger two barrel carb than it originally did. We detect a cam upgrade and appreciate a very well done exhaust system. It may not take you out to the woodshed and give you a spanking, but it offers decent performance and reliability. Sum it up…it’s a V8 made by Pontiac. We are happy.

Engine bay holds a 326-V8 Pontiac.

No meatball surgery
Inside the car, we were met with nothing but pleasant surprises. The black bench seats are a perfect match to that light exterior. The headliner is in fabulous shape. My favorite part was the next to perfect example of the Tempest steering wheel. We are even happy the 2-speed automatic is present and accounted for. Mike and Valerie took great pride in this car and it shows. He added a tachometer, full gauges and a stereo all while not hacking up the original dash at all. Excellent foresight and much appreciated. You would not believe the meatball surgery we have seen on original dashes. Not in this case! Thank you, Mike!

Aftermarket gauges were added without cutting up the stock dash.

Happy is an understatement
We are ecstatic about Keith becoming the new caretaker for this prized Pontiac. He fully understands the sentimental meaning of this car from Valerie’s family. Mike and Valerie’s daughters Ashley and Bethany are excited to see their Dad’s car go to someone who will feel the same way. In this case, they will actually be able to ride in this car whenever they want or need to with an open invitation from Keith and all of us here at Junkyard Life. We know how much those things can mean to someone. Sometimes the base model Tempest means as much as a GTO ever could.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life:The Story Beneath the Rust 

Dream cars are what you make them.

Tempest Fun Facts: 

  • 326-V8. Or IS it? The V8 found under the bandanna of our feature car is a 326. The 326 was not to be confused with the 327 Chevrolet power plant. GM was serious about this. So much in fact that rumor has it that the 326 Pontiac actually displaced 336 cubic inches. GM had Pontiac advertise it as less motor to protect Chevrolet from any confusion. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023

1970 Chevrolet Impala scrapyard edition


Welcome to my Nightmare. I can only liken my drive by the Birmingham, Alabama scrap metal place to those people who continue to go to horror movies despite their inevitable nightmares. I can’t say I enjoy that road, but yet…I continue to travel it even though I know with absolute certainty that I HATE IT!!! No wonder my Grandmother didn’t let me watch gory films. I should have listened.

Meet The Implanter
Tonight’s featured nightmare stars the remains of a 1970 Chevrolet Impala. I did a quick run around before The Scrap Metal Boogie man ran me off. The ghost of this Chevy haunted me for the rest of the week. I have a super power that mentally paints a picture of how these cars looked new before beginning their new life as a Pepsi can. This one was a looker in its day. Behold!

1970 Chevy Impala as it should look in a vintage magazine ad.

Okay, that isn’t it. That one is a figment of my J.L.I. condition (Junkyard Life Imagination)*–but it sure was at one time!!! Our Implanter was moderately optioned as a full-size Chevy before it retired to a life of botany and yard d├ęcor. It was not the cheapest of the upscale Impala line. Adorned in Gobi Beige (Code 50) and what I surmise would have been Rally Wheels due to the remains of one still being on the car. Also, when it had a roof…a tastefully placed black vinyl top must have looked dapper indeed. Power wise, under where the hood used to be was a 350 c.i.d. small block Chevy with an automatic transmission. It also had air conditioning, power brakes and power steering. Someone must have cared about those things (or some of them anyway) because they were gone.  Our arch nemesis The Scrap Metal Boogie Man didn’t have a lot of our victim left.

Power brake booster hides under the weeds in this engine-less engine bay on the 1970 Chevy Impala.

Option wise, this crime scene was middle of the road with creature comforts, which we don’t mind. Such as the bench seat, manual windows and locks are pretty much standard issue. Also absent was the extra cost tilt steering column. The Scrap Metal Boogie Man would not have cared. He could have listened to ominous foreboding music on the optional radio, fortunately-Planter Man got to it before it could be crushed. 

No til column on this luxury-ish 1970 Impala?

Roll-your-own windows too?

Rear of 1970 Chevy Impala with roof cut off sitting in fron t of Birmingham Alabama scrap yard.

The moral of this story is do not watch such movies. Prevent this from happening to 1970 Impalas and anything related or not related to them. And by all means…donate to your local Junkyard Life Imagination (JYI) Foundations! Buy a kid a derelict car and save it from fates such as this together. 

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust

Editor’s Note: “J.L.I” is a fictional disease Ron made up. We usually scold him and edit such things out, but this time it seems he is on to something. This could be a real thing. 

Impala emblem for all to see on the remaining sides of the roof.

1970 Impala Fun Facts:

  • “Gobi” (The name of the paint on our feature car) means “cabbage”. However in this case it probably refers to the desert regions of Northern China and Southern Mongolia. 

  • 1970 was the last of the fourth generation Chevrolet Impala.

  • The 427 engine was no longer optional and was replaced by the 454. 

  • Right hand drive Impalas were actually manufactured in Canada. Hello? Canada? Steering wheel in the wrong place! They were actually sent to New Zealand and The United Kingdom. 

  • The new vertical taillights in the 1970 models were a big hit.

  • In 1970, a savvy buyer could order a big block, four door with a 4-speed, though debatable among collectors if such a car exist. 

  • Not only did the 454 engine make its debut in 1970, but also a weird new torque motor came on the option list….the small block 400. 

  • 1970 was the first model in two years that did not offer a “Hide-Away Headlight” option as in 1968 and 1969. Buyers were a little disappointed. We think it would have looked awesome. 

350 emblem on fender of 1970 Impala.

Scrap metal boogie man has been waiting on this Impala for some time.

Mangled Chevrolet script emblem in the grill of the 1970 Impala.

Data plate has codes for the 1970 Impala including paint code for Gobi.

Sadder sights than a 53-year-old heirloom facedown in a plate at the buffet? No!

Bad things happen to good cars.

Do you have a junkyard or a junky yard?
Send us details and we’re on the way!  
Send emails to Jody Potter at
and Ron Kidd at

Thursday, April 6, 2023

BMW E36 Pull-A-Part spending spree on 318ti

Pulling a bunch of parts! We loaded up on $365 worth of BMW 3-series parts, including an M bumper at the Pull-A-Part in Birmingham, Alabama. As I stood back and admired the prize emerald green Compact Beemer, it wasn't long before parts vultures circled the green 1997 BMW 318ti with the Contour wheels. I had just pulled the front bumper and started yanking seats. A crew of BMW drifting competitors from Atlanta shadowed my footsteps. "You want those wheels?" Yes, I thought, but my wheelbarrow was already loaded and my wallet overwhelmed by my enthusiasm to spend parts on my $845 wrecker auction find in
Hellrot Red.

"You can have them, I guess. I don't need to spend more money," I laughed. As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted them. The wheels were off the car in a matter of minutes and rolled away. Time flies I continued to work for about four hours. Koni shocks, struts, and rear springs joined the bumper and white leather seats in my overflowing wheel barrow. I made my exit. Forced to carry the seats about 25 steps, sit them down, then retrieve the wheelbarrow full of parts and tools. The see-saw approach to moving the big load would not have been needed had I rented a golf cart. Lesson learned. The PAP $5 rental fee would have been a good investment. And...I shoulda grabbed those wheels! Stay tuned! Jody Potter – Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust