During the 1970 Super Bowl TV broadcast Pontiac Motor Company ran a commercial in which a young man drove his 1970 Pontiac GTO up to a local drive-in stand. They showed him reach under the dash and pull out the VOE “Exhaust” knob as the exhaust rumbled ominously. Then they showed him drive off with the implication being that he could find no one to race at the drive-in that day because everyone was afraid of the GTO’s Pontiac power. Pontiac pulled the ad after one showing, but the suggestion of Pontiac power could not be overlooked.
Then the car guy cult movie “Two Lane Blacktop” came out and did much to solidify the GTO as a hot muscle car of legendary proportions.
If 1970 was the peak of the muscle car era, it could not be denied that the Pontiac GTO Judge was also at the peak of its popularity. Today Arizona Classics in Scottsdale, Arizona is offering a very rare and desirable 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible for sale. Although 3629 GTO Judge Hardtops were produced, Pontiac only built 168 convertible Judges in 1970! The special code 60 Orbit Orange was the most popular color, but all 22 GTO colors were available to order on the Judge. This one is the beautiful Code 48-M Pepper Green. Arizona Classics tells us it has been rotisserie restored, and remains a full numbers matching example with 400 ci 366 hp Ram Air III motor, close ratio 4-speed transmission with Hurst T-handle shifter, and Heavy Duty Safe-T-Track differential with Special Order (XM) 4.33 gearing. This would be the final year of Pontiac’s better compression and gross horsepower ratings on the big block 400 RA III.
Additional factory options include the Variable Power Steering feature. Traditionally a ratio of 17.5:1 would requirea drive to complete four complete turns of the steering wheel. But the new Variable Power Steering feature you only needed 3.5 turns lock to lock to turn the car radially. This was accomplished by var.9:1ying the ratio from 14.6:1 to 18.9:1. It also came with power front disc brakes, Performance Ride & Handling Package (with heavy duty springs, shocks and stabilizer bar), Heavy Duty radiator, and a rear Airfoil.
Bucket seat interior features a Rally Gauge cluster with tachometer, center console, power top, remote outside mirror, upgraded Lighting Package, and a pushbutton radio with stereo 8-Track player. Rally Wheels ride on Firestone Wide-Oval White Letter ‘Bias Ply’ tires. The GTO retained the Endura urethane cover around the headlamps and grille.
The Judges were $300-$400 more than the regular GTOs, but they were still a relative bargain in the muscle car world. The 366-hp engine package added $337.02 to the price of the cars that it was ordered for, regardless of whether the car was a hardtop or a ragtop. That put the base price of a hardtop with “The Judge” equipment at about $3,600. Prices on the convertible version started at about $3,800. Unfortunately for the higher priced models, the insurance premiums were almost more than your car payment every month putting a damper on sales. This, more than anything else, caused the end of the muscle car era.