455 cid V-8 engine, single Rochester Quadra-Jet four-barrel carburetor, 335 HP (SAE net rating), GM Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil-springs, four-link rear suspension with coil springs, front disc and rear drum hydraulic brakes; wheelbase: 112”
As one of the most celebrated cars from the 1960s Supercar era, Pontiac’s Tempest-based GTO quickly evolved from a comprehensive high-performance and appearance option package launched for 1964 to unique series status in the Pontiac model hierarchy. Through the early 1970s, when it returned to optional status, the GTO defined the muscle car concept as the first truly and fully integrated combination of a high-performance V-8 engine and drivetrain into a lighter-weight midsize body/chassis, and a specific identity tying everything together. Cunningly slipped past GM bureaucrats as an option package and thereby not requiring corporate approval, the GTO name was a cheeky swipe at Ferrari's megabuck GT racer of the time and a startling value, aimed straight at the hungry youth market. Advertising led by Jim Wangers made the GTO a household name.
Sales were overwhelming for 1964 and refinements over the following years made the classy yet performance-oriented GTO the standard for all others to follow. The startling success of the taxicab-plain Plymouth Road Runner of 1968 forced a rethink at Pontiac, with the GM division’s head John De Lorean nixing a planned cut-price GTO. Instead, the new image-leading GTO would not be watered-down model, but rather one with hip street-racer persona while retaining the GTO’s renowned content, image, and quality. Launched on December 19, 1968, the WT1 GTO Judge package combined outrageous paint – primarily eye-popping Carousel Red – and stripe graphics, a standard Ram Air III 366-HP engine, and a bold 60-inch rear wing, with its provocative “Judge” name taken from a hilarious recurring skit on TV’s counterculture-infused Laugh-In show.
From launch, the Judge marked the top rung of Pontiac’s mid-size muscle car ladder, with the performance and substance to back up its provocative image. However, fast-declining sales for all factory supercars, the result of emissions, safety, and insurance concerns, ended the reign of The Judge, with January 31, 1971, being the final production date. Just 357 Judge hardtops and 17 convertibles were produced for that final 1971 model year, making these serious performers highly sought-after by today’s collectors.
Offered by a 19-year Pontiac-Oakland Club International (POCI) Technical Advisor and Club Chaplain, this 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge hardtop very nicely represents the end of an era as quite possibly the last Judge ever built, given the fact that no later 1971 Judges are known to have been found at the time of writing. Extremely rare as one of only an approximate six 1971 GTO Judges factory-finished in Aztec Gold paint, this example has been repainted once and remains very attractive, with age-appropriate patina, while the black bucket-seat interior and trunk compartment remain quite visually outstanding. In addition to the famed ‘YE’ Code 455 H.O. “round-port” engine, Turbo 400 automatic transmission, and 3.07:1 Safe-T-Track limited-slip rear end, this Judge is highly equipped with air conditioning , AM/FM stereo, deluxe lamp group and trim package, handling package, rear-window defogger, and tinted glass – essentially all factory-available options except for cruise, power door locks, and power windows.
Complete with Pontiac Historical Services (PHS) documentation and now offered from the care of a known Pontiac GTO expert, this incredibly rare 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge hardtop is a true American muscle car icon and the latest-production example of The Judge known to exist today.