First, the car would never be numbers-matching because the original engine was destroyed during the '70 race season. Second, Dennis knew where one of the car's two Ram Air V engines was-still with the same guy Eddie Faro sold it to decades ago. At first he wasn't interested in selling the engine, but when he found out that Chuck had the car, he relented. Can this guy's luck get any better? Actually, yes, it can. He managed to get every piece he needed for this ultra-rare engine build.
As it turned out, the engine that Chuck purchased was actually the second engine, the pieced-together Ram Air V top end on the Ram Air IV SR block. He took that engine apart and used it as the basis for his R/A-V buildup.
Chuck located a '70 WY-coded 400 Ram Air V block in Connecticut, just like the one the crate motor used. Barry Martin of Sonic Motors sold him an original #4486 780-cfm Ram Air V Holley carb, while West Coast Ram Air V guru Tom Schlauch supplied the specific R/A-V harmonic balancer and correct 1111972 distributor.
Radio delete was part of the...
Radio delete was part of the Special Memo instructions. Also deleted were the seam sealer and sound deadener. Interestingly enough, power steering was retained.
Chuck then took his stash of rare Pontiac componentry to Don Johnston at DCI Motorsports in Mogodore, Ohio, for the buildup of a correct-appearing-but-larger tunnel-port Pontiac. Boring the block 0.010-inch over, Johnston added 4.13-inch Ross custom racing flat-top pistons with pocket reliefs for an 11.3:1 compression ratio. File-fit Speed-Pro rings seal the cylinders. The pistons swing on 6.800-inch Eagle H-beam rods that are connected to a nodular-iron 455 Pontiac crankshaft, which was cut down to 3-inch mains. Likewise, the rod journals were cut down to a 2.200-inch journal size. A Melling high-volume, high-pressure oil pump was also added.
The Ram Air V heads were prepped for the buildup as well. Their ports were left stock, and SI stainless steel valves were pressed into service. They measure the stock 2.19 inches for the intake and a slightly larger than stock 1.75 inches for the exhaust. Comp Cams dual valvesprings were also used, as were Comp Cams 5/16-inch heavy-wall pushrods.
The camshaft is one area of mystery. DCI Motorsports hasn't divulged the specifications, and Chuck isn't sure of its grind either. We do know that it's a Comp Cams solid-lifter roller cam that operates Harland Sharp 1.73:1 rockers. "Don wouldn't tell me what the grind was, but he said it will idle where other engines won't," Chuck says. "I'm not sure what it is, but it runs really hard."
Ignition chores are handled by an ACCEL digital ignition system. Timing is 36 degrees total, which is all in at 2,500 rpm. The exhaust is expelled through a set of JR headers with 2.125-inch primaries and 3.5-inch collectors. They exit into a full 3.5-inch Flowmaster exhaust system.
The interior remains factory-fresh...
The interior remains factory-fresh and largely original, owing to the ultra-low mileage and decades of indoor storage. The only items needing replacement were the carpet and the headliner, both of which came from Ames Performance Engineering.
The Rest Of The Resto
The Judge itself was in excellent original condition, but 30-plus years of storage had taken their toll. While the car was still solid, the finishes had taken a serious beating. The Judge was taken to Z&Z Restorations in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania, where proprietors Jack and Dan Zikoski tore it down to the bare frame and built it up, piece by refurbished piece.
"The restoration of the Judge was actually pretty easy," Chuck says. "The frame and body were rust-free, and there was no optional equipment to track down and buy. They took it apart, cleaned and painted everything, and then put it back together."
Suspension pieces, such as the control arms, were powdercoated, while the body was dipped and subsequently painted with a PPG basecoat/clearcoat system in the original Cameo White. Dell Metal Polishing restored the original trim pieces, while Tri-City Plating rechromed the bumper and other plated items.
The original dash, upholstery, and door panels were in perfect condition, so they were simply cleaned and reinstalled. In fact, everything that came from the factory was retained, save the carpet and headliner. Both of those items were replaced with reproductions from Ames Performance Engineering.