Brand loyalty used to be the sort of thing that just happened-a consumer phenomenon spawned by purchasing satisfaction, leading to repeat purchases of the same products. When the automakers realized the value of this mindset, they fueled it by pitting their wares against the competition in venues more brutal than showrooms: racetracks.
None of this was lost on young Jon and Nick Anderson. Their pop was a Pontiac man, and the brothers remember well the journey from Kansas to Southern California in the back of the family '55. Some years later, elder Jon got his first car, a '57 two-door, and outfitted it with a 389 punched out to 401 along with a four-speed and a Hurst shifter from a wrecked late-model Pontiac. "That was the first car I really took pride in; I raced it a lot, though rarely on the track," he says, adding that the street scene in Orange County in the mid '60s seems nearly unbelievable today. "There were hot cars everywhere. If you wanted a race, you didn't have to look far." Later the '57 was replaced by a '61 Catalina, which was then treated to a 421 with another four-speed and a set of 4.30:1 gears.
Nick is three years behind Jon, but he got an early start by obtaining his first car at 15-another '57, but this time a four-door hand-me-down. "I couldn't drive yet, so I took it apart to figure out how it worked. I put it back together with a four-barrel and homemade exhaust cutouts, but it never made it to the street." Later he bought Jon's '57 and outfitted it with a 347 and a C&O hydro. After that he raced a '64 Cat with a 389 Tri-power and a four-speed, followed by a '68 GTO.
Jon and Nick eventually backed out of the hobby to start families, but always kept an eye on hot rods and drag racing. By the '90s, nostalgia for the '60s scene weighed heavily on the brothers. Having been born into the Pontiac tribe and being full-fledged gearheads in the '60s, the Andersons were big Mickey Thompson fans and fondly recalled the Super Duty Tempest he ran starting in 1962. As teenagers, the two had befriended Pontiac racer Jess Tyree by hanging around his shop, a relationship they maintained over the years.
So when Jon found a solid 40,000-mile '63 Tempest around 1990, he knew what to do, even if he couldn't do it right away. He justified the purchase by making the "compact" Pontiac his wife's daily driver for several years (and they're actually still married). A '62 Tempest came later and became transportation for Jon's daughter, but when its half-a-V-8 four-banger took a dirt nap, uncle Nick traded her for a '62 Pontiac wagon, and shortly thereafter, Anderson Brothers Racing was spawned.
Now the team is enjoying the hell out of the pair of mini Ponchos, maintaining the look of yesterday while exploring the go-fast know-how of right now. Stock-class cars didn't run 11s back then, and with the upgrades under contemplation, the Andersons may break 10s soon. And it'll happen with pure Pontiac power.
Owner: Jon Anderson
Hometown: Riverside, California, former home of a world-renowned road course and a stone's throw from Route 66.
Car: '63 Pontiac Tempest
Crew: Anderson Brothers Racing includes wives Mary (Jon's) and Renee (Nick's), who contribute significantly to car prep.
Engine: There was never any doubt the Tempest would be pure Pontiac, but Jon wasn't so dedicated to period perfection to not take advantage of later developments. His '63 runs a 455 with iron Ram Air III heads (casting no. 12) ported by SMS in Riverside along with an Edelbrock Torker intake. Inside is a set of Speed-Pro pistons making 12.75:1 and an Engle S15 hydraulic cam. A set of vintage 171/48-inch Jardine headers run open as God intended. Dougan's Racing Engines, also in Riverside, made sure everything was right.
Driveline: Anyone who's ever seen My Cousin Vinny knows that '63 Tempests came with transaxles in the rear along with independent rear suspension. Though interesting, that stuff is no good for the drags, so it was ditched in favor of a conventional axle, in this case from a '64 fullsize Pontiac to keep it pure. It hangs from ladder bars with stock shocks and spins a set of 3.90s. Back in the day, SoCal drag racers running Olds or Pontiac rear axles went to Cook's in Santa Fe Springs for housing mods and Henry's Machine (then in Anaheim, now in Running Springs) for axle alterations, and Jon managed to get both to blow the dust off of their fixtures for the Tempest. Replacing the trans portion of the transaxle is a Turbo 400 from a '69 GTO built by Lowell's Automotive in Rialto, California. A Munsinger 10-inch 3,200-stall converter and Cheetah valve body accessorize the 'box, and a '67 GTO His/Hers shifter controls it.
Suspension: The Tempest is basically stock up front including the drum brakes, though surprisingly, Jon has Aerospace Components discs in the rear. "Works perfectly," he tells us. The '64 Pontiac "big car" axle hangs from its stock trailing arms and a pair of ladder bars. It's sprung with stock '64 Catalina coils and shocks.
Wheels/Tires: In keeping with the theme, the '63 runs a set of chrome reverse wheels that appear to be vintage aftermarket pieces but are in fact currently available from Mooneyes and measure a more contemporary 15x7 inches. Jon used to run tall, skinny front tires with narrow whitewalls for maximum early '60s effect, but now shorter blackwall, VW-sized radials roll there. Out back are M&H Racemasters in 28x10.5.
Body: With only 40,000 garaged miles, the stock sheetmetal was in great shape to begin with. Jon added a fiberglass hood and had Alex Idzardi straighten the flanks before applying the white lacquer. Harpoon of Covina, California, applied the hand lettering in the vintage '60s vibe. No modifications have been made to the steel.
Performance: The 455 has been dyno'd at 450 hp at 4,800 rpm at the flywheel and has thus far pushed the Tempest to a best of 11.85 at 112 mph.
Owner: Nick Anderson,
Hometown: Riverside, California. The 909. Or maybe the 951 these days.
Car: '62 Pontiac Tempest
Crew: The same group that helps with Jon's car.
Engine: Nick's Tempest is a touch hotter than his brother's car, though it runs fewer cubes. A '69 428 has been taken out to produce 440 inches using a stock crank, Scat H-beam rods, and Ross custom pistons that make 11.5:1 with the '69 Pontiac No. 62 D-port heads, which have been completely ported. A Comp Cams solid roller with 0.660/0.660-inch lift and 272/276 deg. duration @ 0.050 throws the valves. Initially, an Edelbrock low-rise dual-quad intake mounting a pair of Edelbrock carbs fed the beast, but a recent change to a Super Victor intake with a 1,050-cfm Dominator carb shaved the e.t. by several tenths. Jess Tyree made a set of headers for the nostalgic ride, just like he used to for his own.
Driveline: The '62 also had a transaxle to begin with, and it also runs a fullsize Pontiac housing ('62) now, though this one swings from a pair of '69 Firebird leaf springs. The housing is located with a four-link and inside is a set of Pontiac 3.42:1 gears turning Moser axles. Another Lowell's Turbo 400 was used, this one running an SMI 4,500-stall converter and a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter.
Suspension: Other than the conversion to a solid axle with leafs, the suspension is stock and even retains the original drum brakes and manual steering.
Wheels/tires: All wheels measure 15x7; the black steelies out back mount Mickey Thompson slicks while the American Racing Torq-Thrust Ds in front roll modern radials.
Body: The Body on the '62 is largely stock, though the original hood now sports a Super-Duty-style steel hoodscoop, given to Nick by Jess Tyree. Again, Alex "Axle" Idzardi was enlisted to straighten and spray, and Harpoon handled the vintage lettering.
Performance: The 440-inch Poncho makes about 600 hp at 6,200 rpm, enough to turn 11.36 at 118 mph.