On February 11, 1971, Pontiac issued Car Distribution Bulletin No. 71-71 canceling the GTO Judge. What was intended as a successful one-season promotion beat the odds and made it to its third model year, but sales were down from highs of 6,833 in 1969 and 3,797 in 1970, and Pontiac could no longer make a case to continue the low-volume, limited edition model.

One of the lucky few to order a '71 Judge before its cancellation was Leroy Judge (yes, he and the GTO Judge share the same name), who served in the U.S. Air Force. As part of the GM "Serviceman" program, Leroy ordered his Judge in late 1970 from his military Base Exchange (BX). According to Jim Mattison of PHS Automotive Services, this program allowed overseas active-duty military men and women to purchase a Pontiac at a 32-35 percent discount off retail, and have it delivered to the Pontiac dealer of their choice stateside (or transported to his or her duty location.)

All Rise For The Round-Port
For '71, Pontiac produced 374 Judges (RPO 332). All were equipped with the LS5 455 H.O. round-port engine featuring four-bolt main caps, a 4.15x4.210 bore/stroke, and a 335hp rating. Internals included a nodular-iron crank, Arma-steel cast connecting rods, and cast-aluminum pistons.

Likewise, all '71 Judges received Pontiac's round-port heads (No. 197) featuring 111cc chambers, polished and tuliped 2.11/1.77 valves, 1.50:1 stamped-steel rockers, and a (lowered for '71) 8.4:1 compression ratio. The "068" cam, first used in Tri-Power engines, directed the valvetrain with 288/302-degrees duration and 0.414/0.413-inch lift.

Other engine components include a No. 1112073 distributor, sending spark down 7mm Delco wires to AC 44S plugs, and a Rochester Q-jet carburetor (code 7041273) sitting on top of a Pontiac aluminum, dual-plane intake (casting No. 483674) with a separate cast-iron heat crossover (No. 9796395).

To make judicious use of the horsepower, a Hurst three-speed shifter, 11-inch clutch, and Muncie three-speed trans transfers the power through a steel driveshaft to a Pontiac 12-bolt, open rearend (code XU) housing 3.31 gears.

The Judge shared the same suspension as the GTO, featuring 310-/122-pound coil springs and 1.125-/0.875-inch sway bars front and rear respectively. Braking is handled by a GM dual-reservoir master cylinder and (when optioned) a power brake booster, directing single-piston Delco-Moraine front calipers and stock rear shoes to contact 10.94-inch rotors and 9.5-inch, finned rear drums, respectively, to reign in those ponies. A set of 14x6 Rally II wheels wrapped in Firestone Polyglas G70-14 bias-ply rubber put the power to the pavement.

The Order
PHS Automotive Services confirms that this Judge was invoiced on January 16, 1971. Its options include: an AM radio-pushbutton (code 401), console-front (code 431), power steering (code 501), Soft Ray glass-all (code 531), air conditioning (code 582), Rally Gauge cluster (code 718), eight-track stereo tape player (code 412), wheel-opening moldings (code 491), power disc brakes (code 502), electric rear-window defroster (code 534), ride and handling springs and shocks (code 621), hood-mounted tachometer (code 721), and Cordova top (code SVT). Its MSRP (with military discount) was $3,511.89.

Curiously, one of the rarest components on the Judge is its standard three-speed Muncie M-13 transmission (code RM). Only 11 three-speed Judges were made for '71.

From One Judge To Another
In 1993, GTOAA Judging Staff Coordinator (now Concours Chair) Jon Wacholtz, a tile-company owner from Austin, Minnesota, found the one-owner Judge advertised in the Apache Junction, Arizona, Tradin' Times. "Within a month of seeing the ad, the Judge was sitting in my driveway," Jon recalls. His GTOAA qualifications make him the perfect candidate to perform a concours-restoration, and he spent two years on the Judge project.