Roger did his best to preserve the Quezal Gold Judge until he could begin its full and complete restoration. He and Sandy then relocated from Omaha, Nebraska, to Las Vegas, Nevada, in the late-'80s, and the three Judges were stored in Fort Collins, Colorado. However, Roger unexpectedly passed away in 1992 at the young age of 48, and the trio of iron sat for the next several years, until 2002 when Sandy began sharing them with their children.
The '69 hardtop and '71 convertible went to Kim's sister, Kris, while Monte and Kim were asked if they had any interest in owning the Quezal Gold hardtop. "It didn't take me long to respond with a strong 'yes,' says Monte. "We had a local 'expert' look at it to get an idea of its value. He gave us a low-ball amount and then offered to buy it for exactly that. It sounded way too low to me so I drove out to Fort Collins, rented a U-haul trailer, and made the journey back to Lincoln."
When Monte got it home, he gave the Quezal Gold Judge a thorough inspection and found it was in good condition overall. "There wasn't any visible rust anywhere on the body, and the doorjambs were perfect. It seemed to be a very solid car and was complete. It ran great too," he adds. It did, however, need paint, and it sat in this condition for a few more years before Monte conferred with fellow hobbyists to determine exactly how to proceed with the restoration.
"The Judge was very special to the family, and Kim and I thought it would be exciting to have the car professionally restored and surprise Sandy with the end result," Monte said. He inquired about area restoration shops and Chalek's Auto Body in Bellevue, Nebraska, was highly recommended. After checking the shop's credentials, he ultimately employed Chalek's to return the Judge to a factory-fresh appearance.
The No. 197 cylinder heads...
The No. 197 cylinder heads are limited to the '71 455 H.O. and feature 2.11/1.77-inch valves, intake ports that are 10-percent larger than a typical D-port casting, and round exhaust ports. A combustion chamber volume of 111cc produces a compression ratio of 8.4:1 on the 455.
The engine-turned aluminum...
The engine-turned aluminum trim and optional NK3 Formula Steering Wheel ($42) give the GTO's interior a sporty touch-the latter requires N41 Variable-ratio Power Steering ($116) for added assist. U30 Rally Gauges with an Instrument-Panel Tachometer adds $84 to the price tag, and gives the driver the ability to monitor the 455 H.O.'s vitals.
Behind the code-JT 14x6-inch...
Behind the code-JT 14x6-inch Rally II wheels are front and rear manual-drums brakes, which were standard equipment for the GTO in '71. Though this particular Judge was originally equipped with blackwall tires, the owner opted for reproduction G70-14 Firestone Wide Oval white-letter tires for added flare.
Chalek's began with complete disassembly and chemically stripping the Judge's body to bare metal. Though no major rust was found, shop owner Dave Chalek says that a spot of rust on a quarter-panel just behind the rear wheel was repaired using a small patch. The entire body was then coated in Dupont urethane primer and sanded smooth. It was treated to four basecoats of Dupont Chroma Premier in Quezal Gold and three coats of clear. The finish was wet-sanded using papers with grit ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 before being polished with 3M products.
While the body was being refinished, the Judge's frame was powdercoated black, and its suspension and brake systems were completely rebuilt using stock-replacement components. The 455 H.O. was stripped of all its accessories, and the No. 197 round-port cylinder heads were sent off for a valve job. The reassembled long-block was then treated to a fresh coat of Pontiac Engine Blue in its correct-for-'71 shade. Most everything else that resides underhood was refinished in its correct color or chemical plating.
When the body and frame were reunited, new stainless-steel fuel lines, a freshly rechromed rear bumper, and a reproduction exhaust system from Gardner Exhaust Systems in Red Hook, New York, were added. The original interior was so clean, it was simply washed with soap and water during reinstallation. It otherwise remains completely untouched.