Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible
From its debut on December 19, 1968 as a $332 option above the cost of a 1969 GTO convertible or hardtop, The Judge distinguished itself as the top rung of Pontiac’s mid-size muscle car ladder. Far from being the stripped-down version of the GTO it was conceived to be, that first-year Judge package included the 366-hp 400-cu. in. Ram Air III V-8, a five-foot-wide stand-alone rear spoiler, 14x6-inch Rally II wheels (minus trim rings), three-color side body stripes, and “The Judge” decals ahead of the front wheels. For only $389.68, buyers could upgrade to the 370 hp Ram Air IV, creating one of the fastest cars on the road.
For 1970, the GTO received a new body that deleted the hidden headlamp option so popular with the 1968-69 models. Its four round headlights were situated outside a narrow grille/snout that featured a vertical divider, a style in keeping with that year’s new Firebird. The entire front fascia was made of the same dent-resistant Endura material introduced on the 1968 model.
Standard power for the 1970 GTO was the carried-over 350-hp, 400-cu. in. V-8. The 400-cu. in. Ram Air III with 365 horsepower was still available as an option. Mimicking its GM sister divisions, all of whom were offering big-block V-8s of 400-plus cubic inches that year, Pontiac created a 360-hp, 455-cu. in. option that put out 500 lb-ft of torque in the GTO. Strangely, the highest rated GTO powerplant (for horsepower) that year was the smaller special-order-only 400-cu. in. Ram Air IV, which continued to crank out 370 horsepower in its second year on the roster. Only two engines were initially available in 1970 Judges: the standard Ram Air III and extra-cost Ram Air IV.
GTOs and Judges were fitted with rear anti-roll bars for the first time in 1970, and the front bar was enlarged. Judges could be had in any of the available GTO colors, but the default hue was Orbit Orange. The Judge’s distinctive three-color body side stripe was broken into two segments, each one stretching above a wheel well.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in November of 2010 at the Robson Estate, Gainesville, Georgia.
335 hp, 455 cu. in. V-8 engine with 8.4:1 compression and 480 lb-ft of torque, four-barrel carburetor, close ratio four-speed manual transmission, power front disc brakes with rear drums. Wheelbase: 112"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel