The Demonstrator

The demonstrator was built using the cheapest Tempest available, a two-door sedan. Adams kept its bench seat, chrome bumper with exposed headlights, and standard un-scooped hood, but added GTO suspension to make it handle well, and Rally II wheels sans trim rings to save cost and maintain a sporty appearance. It was powered by the new-for-1969 Ram Air III 400, which offered the best bang-for-the-buck performance.

"The R/A IV was more powerful, but more costly too. We figured buyers could order it if they wanted it. Along the way, someone suggested we use an empty hood tach shell as a cold-air scoop, so I tried it on the demo car. I installed an open scoop on the right side that matched the hood tach on the left. Flexible tubing connected the scoop to the air cleaner. We found...that it just couldn't provide a sufficient volume of air to improve performance, so the idea was ultimately scrapped."

To improve the low-cost GTO's appearance, Adams incorporated a unique exterior treatment. "I always liked stripes on a performance car, so I designed a white and black stripe for it. It started near the nose and extended back onto the door. I was proud of the stripe because it was like my signature. We never officially gave the car a name though, so there weren't ever any other emblems or decals," he adds.

According to Adams, the low-cost demonstrator performed better than a standard GTO by a slight margin, but was considerably cheaper. It seems Collins and Schreitmueller were interested in moving forward with the concept and brought the demonstrator to DeLorean, who happened to be looking for a way to re-elevate the market status of his GTO.

With his approval, DeLorean asked that the concept be taken to his Ad-Hoc committee, which Adams was a part of. There, each department could review it and add ideas to ensure the concept would be successful if it reached production...and successful it was. Many of Adams original performance-oriented cues are present in the package that went on to become The Judge, which propelled the GTO to supercar status upon its introduction in midyear 1969.

"One other good thing that came out of the committee I credit to Jim Wangers," Adams says. "He suggested the first 5,000 Judges all be painted Carousel Red."

Internal Competition

Many auto journalists speculated that the Pontiac-issued press photos of a modified 1968 Tempest two-door sedan with an orange exterior finish and an accenting side stripe that appeared in a number of publications are of a small-cube, low-buck concept. Adams cannot confirm nor deny that the bright orange A-body in the photos was the demonstrator his team created for its proposal. "There were so many cars we dealt with back then, that I can't recall its exact color, but it certainly could have been orange, which was a special color for 1969." Based on his sharp recollection of equipment, few will argue that the car in the photograph certainly fits his concept description.

What seemingly confuses the matter is an October 31, 1968, press release that outlines a new low-buck performance model contented like a GTO but priced below it. When asked about the possibility of equipping his concept with a 350 H.O., Adams replies, "There's no way. We wanted the most performance possible for the cost in our proposal. I'm not sure where the 350-powered concept came from, but it looks like it stole some of my ideas from the low-cost GTO demo, which eventually carried over into The Judge package."

When considering how closely the unnamed model from the press release resembles Adams' demonstrator, it's certain that someone within Pontiac, but likely outside Delorean's Ad-Hoc committee, recognized the significance of its many details and incorporated a number of them into his own proposal with less cubes. Who was that person? The hobby many never know. And was the orange A-body Herb's original demonstrator or someone's unnamed small-cube interpretation of it? You be the judge!