What's It Worth? 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air III. Here Comes "Da Judge"
In the early 1960's if you wanted to do Burnouts or Drag Race you visited the local Chevy Dealer and plunked down a few paychecks to buy the 'Plastic Fantastic" Corvette or if you wanted to be Odd maybe a Turbo Corvair.
Sure maybe you could visit the local Mopar Man and get a 300 Series with a Hemi V8 but those were fast, expensive and blubbery.
Even the Blue Oval people offered some Hot Engine's in the Falcon but that was just an Econo Car with a tepid 260 V8 and even the Mustang wouldn't be a heavy hitter till 1965.
By the early 1960's despite GM's internal ban on racing Pontiac's Chief Engineer John DeLorean and his band of Maverick Auto Engineers wanted to go fast. Johnny D also understood that Pontiac's core group of customers were under 30 year olds who were into performance.
Using the new for 1963 Tempest they shoehorned the tried and true 389 V8 under it's bonnet. At the time GM had a ban on any midsize vehicle limiting engine size to 330 cibic inches.
Since the GTO was an option package for the Pontiac Tempest and not standard equipment, it could be considered to fall into a loophole in the policy. Pontiac general manager Elliot "Pete" Estes approved the new model, although sales manager Frank Bridge, who did not believe it would find a market, insisted on limiting initial production to 5,000 cars. Demand would quickly out do supply.
Johnny D came up with the name GTO. Penned after the great racing Ferrari 250 GTO. GTO for sure was a much better name then the other almost choice of "Grand Tempest" One ponders if history would of been writen different with the Grand Tempest name instead of GTO.
From the start the GTO would re-write what was considered a "Muscle Car' From that point on all other automakers scurried to cram biggers engines in midsize and smallers cars to reap the rewards and uber bucks of Leadfooted people across the USA.
The first Gen GTO was produced model years 1964-1967. 1964-1965 the GTO was just an option code for the Tempest line. You could get your GTO optioned Tempest in 2 door hardtop, sedan and convertible. By 1966 GM figured out that you could make Bucks selling muscle cars so the GTO became its own model.
Car and Driver did a compo test between the Ferrari 250 GTO and the Pontiac GTO in 1965. They loved the GTO's speed and lusty engine but gave thumbs down to its "Poor brakes and truck like handling"
Despite this GTO's sold like Hot Cakes. American's wanted to go fast in a drag race not on a curve.
The second Gen GTO debuted for model year 1968 and would benefit from GM's re-style of its mid-size offerings. Called by many the "Coke Bottle" GTO it's lines were rounded with a semi fastback roof. The GTO also got the Uber Cool Hidden Front Headlights and Endura "Crush-O-Matic" front composite bumpers.
The same people who lauded the prior Gen GTO Car and Driver Magazine applauded the new one. "Better handling, brakes and even more robust engines make it a winner" In fact Car Of The Year for 1968. This body style would remain till 1972. In some people opinion one of the best looking muscle car series of all time.
Engine's for the 1968-1972 GTO's ranged from 400-455 Cube's. Different carb set ups and the NW Ram Air systems would ehance horsepower and performance. The Top Gun being the Ram Air IV. Rated at a very conservative 370 HP in the 455 V8. The real key with this set up was Torque. These monsters could pull like a Bull Dozer reaching 1/4 miles in less the 14 seconds. Fast for the day.
New for the 1969 was "The Judge" Rumor has it the name came about from Rowan and Martin's Laugh In bit featuring Sammy Davis Jr howling "Here Comes Da Judge" Perhaps true. Either way very cool..
As originally conceived, the Judge was to be a low-cost GTO, stripped of features to make it competitive with the Plymouth Road Runner. The package was US$332.00 more expensive than a standard GTO, and included the Ram Air III engine, Rally II wheels without trim rings, Hurst shifter (with a unique T-shaped handle), wider tires, various decals, and a rear spoiler.
Pontiac claimed that the spoiler had some functional effect at higher speeds, producing a small but measurable downforce, but it was of little value at legal speeds. The Judge was initially offered only in Carousel Red, but midway into the model year a variety of other colors became available.
Model year 1970 would see facelifted front ends and rear bumpers. More options ere offered and the Judge continued. The Ram Air III would be standard equipment if you check off the Judge on your build sheet. Many purist think 1970 was the last good year for GTO Judge's.
By 1971 the darkening clouds of increased emissions regulations and pressure from insurance companies the Glory Days of Muscle Cars were coming to a close. 1972 would see the last year for the Coke Bottle GTO's and a drop in performance.
Our feature 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air III Two Door Hardtop is a low miles (38,674 at time of appraisal)numbers matching original car. Its has a 4 speed and is nicely optioned. Owned by a Port Jefferson Long Island Pontiac Guru it has always been pampered and well taken care of.
The big question is WHAT'S IT WORTH? SEE BELOW >>>>