This was the hot setup in those days:
Carter AFB dual-quads and low-rise manifold that was considered "high" for the time period. Only concession to moderninity here is
the Accel coil lurking behind the Mickey/Thompson valve covers!
Donovan knows the car like he knows his girl friends, and he drives it with the sure touch that comes only from intimacy. Off the line, the car is perfection, the suspension and tires working perfectly. Donovan banged off each shift at precisely 6000 rpm and cleared the traps at about 5800 rpm. There's no point in revving higher through each gear. Pontiacs never were high revvers and power nosedives about 6000 rpm with the number 10 McKellar cam.
It slightly boggles the mind to think that such a heavy car can run so fast without extensive setup and engine blueprinting. Somehow, Pontiac's engineers squeezed unknown amounts of horsepower out of the Super Duty 421 despite the engine's apneic propensity to run out of breath. Although rated at 405 horsepower, the engine actually produces around 465 right from the factory. And with blueprinting, 500 was not out of the question.
That's the story of the Super Duty on the track. But what's it like driving such a car on the street? That's what we wanted to learn.
It was as we thought it would be—a super gas. The engine starts immediately with a roar. Literally. Donovan has substituted light glasspack mufflers for the stockers. The engine idles with a hard lope that can only mean lots of good stuff under the hood. The whole aluminum front ends quivers slightly with each engine revolution and the hood pins Donovan installed really earn their keep.
A few blips of the throttle and you're immediately surprised that you can get this kind of throttle response from an engine with dual 4-barrel AFBs that idles at only 1000 rpm. Zap-zap-zap. Your foot moves and the engine responds. What a difference from smog-laden, leaned out, retarded engines of the '70s. It's efficient vs. inefficient engine operation. We'll take the efficient every time.
The interior is nothing to brag about. Actually, it's the one part of our '62 test car that we'd just as soon leave back in 1962. The bench seats are well padded but not posh. The covering is a cloth-vinyl combination reminiscent of Chevrolet Biscayne upholstery.