THE CAR AND ITS OWNERS: 1967 Pontiac Tempest Custom owned by Joan and Bill Diercks

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: By 1967, Pontiac was dazzling buyers with the brand new Firebird and a GTO with up to 360 horsepower. Both eclipsed the more sedate, mid-sized Tempest Custom, despite its fluid design and a peppy engine unique to American autodom: an overhead cam six. “They were only used from 1966 to 1969 for the Tempest and Firebird models,” says Bill Diercks. “Although they were getting 20-plus miles per gallon, very few OHC6 cars are still around. Many were converted into GTO clones with big V-8 engines, due to cheap gas and the muscle car rage.”

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HOW LONG THEY’VE OWNED IT: Joan Diercks bought it in November 1966 as her first new car. “Not many people will have the same car that is basically a 'Plain Jane' for almost 50 years,” says Bill. “It’s amazing how many people, young and old, give you a ‘thumbs-up.' "

WHERE THEY FOUND IT: Nardy Pontiac in Smithtown sold it for $2,677.50

CONDITION: “The car is mostly original and unrestored, except for a repaint in the ‘80s,” Bill says. “It is garage-kept, rust-free and had no accidents. The 230-cubic-inch engine was completely rebuilt, plus a new starter. I added the GTO Rally wheels and a Rally clock.”

TIPS FOR OWNERS: “Buy something that you will use, that doesn't need much fixing up,” he advises. “Drive responsibly and keep it garaged.”

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VALUE: The Pontiac is insured for $10,000.

THE BOTTOM LINE: “When the Tempest started having problems in the ‘80s,” says Joan, “my Mom wanted us to keep the car in her empty garage. I felt then that she would look at the car and think of us. When we visited, she would say, ‘Your car is getting dirty. Maybe it needs a wash.’ You always listen to a German mother. When she passed on at 98, we sold her house and kept the Tempest in our garage. Maybe now we are thinking of her when we look at it.”