This Quezal Gold '71 Judge was produced at the Pontiac, Michigan, assembly plant on Februa
If you're thumbing through the pages of this particular publication, you've undoubtedly had a past encounter with a Pontiac that's left an indelible impression upon your high-performance psyche. Whether it was a vintage example drawing wind through a carburetor or a late-model fire-breather fed by fuel injection, there's an exact point in every hobbyist's life where the rush of acceleration has left him screaming "I want more!"
Lincoln, Nebraska-resident Monte Town's addiction began in the mid-'70s at the impressionable age of 13. "My father was used-car shopping for my sister and took me along as he test drove a '69 GTO he'd found on a dealership lot. To this day I remember how it felt when he stomped on the accelerator and the 400 roared to life," the 47-year-old bank president recollects. "I was tossed against the seatback and 'cool' was the only thought in my mind. Needless to say, it was too much car for my sister, but it was one of those, 'When I grow up...' moments for me."
Monte drove a '69 Olds Cutlass through high school and college, and while it was a GM A-body, it wasn't the GTO he dreamed of. Over the next few years, he began dating Kim Norris, and the two would later marry. But the story of how Monte and Kim acquired this beautiful Quezal Gold '71 Judge begins well before Monte ever became acquainted with the Norris family, and you may be as amazed to hear, as we were, how fate brought everything together.
This code-YE 455 H.O. consists of a No. 485428 block with 4.15-inch bore and four-bolt mai
A Pontiac Family
Kim's parents, Roger and Sandy, were longtime Pontiac hobbyists and owned a number of them over the years. "We bought Pontiacs because we liked the performance, styling, and ride," says Sandy. "Our first GTO was a '69 that Roger ordered new. It was our family car and I drove it to work daily. I can still recall how beautiful and powerful it was. We both loved it. When it came time to trade it in, the GTO wasn't available any longer, so we bought a LeMans instead. We always wished we'd never gotten rid of the GTO, however."
A Pontiac man at heart, Roger knew the significance of the GTO's optional "Judge" package, and he purchased a few distinct examples over the years. "The first Judge was a Cameo White '71 convertible he bought in March 1979 from a gentleman in Levittown, Pennsylvania," Sandy recollects. "It was all original and very clean, and Roger was very particular about it. He drove it only on nice days, and always avoided wet pavement and gravel roads. Today it has just 15,500 miles on it and still remains in the family."
Roger's second Judge was this Quezal Gold '71 hardtop, which he bought in the summer of 1981. Though it had just 44,000 miles on it and was completely original, the '71 hardtop wasn't quite as nice as the convertible. "The interior was spotless, but the exterior finish was original and he planned to repaint it someday," says Monte.
The last Judge he purchased came a year later, when he found a Verdoro Green '69 hardtop for sale locally.
The '71 Judge Hardtop
Sandy tells HPP that Roger was a longtime member of P.O.C.I., and the couple regularly attended its regional car shows and national conventions. "He planned to perform any necessary repairs and then show all three Judges," she adds. For the Quezal Gold '71 hardtop, that process began by covering any areas where its original paint was worn thin, using gray primer to prevent the exposed metal from rusting while it awaited a complete restoration.
Monte recalls seeing the Quezal Gold Judge in this condition when he and Kim started dating. "Seeing his Judges took me back to my childhood and that test drive with my dad," he adds. "On more than one occasion after Kim and I were married, I asked Roger about his plans on restoring the Quezal Gold '71, but he never gave a definitive answer. I believe he felt cars like this were worth more financially if they were touched less."
Housed in the rear axle is a 3.55 gear set with an 8.875-inch ring-gear diameter and an op
Pontiac's top engine offering for the '71 model year was the 455 H.O., rated at 335 hp at
For $395, buyers could add WT1 "The Judge" package to both hardtop and convertible GTOs in