Tim Allen's '71 features a rare hue as Judges go-Castillian Bronze.
When Tim Allen was only 18 years old, his knowledge of Pontiacs was minimal at best. He knew what counted, though-he wanted a GTO. That January, just before his 19th birthday, Tim bought his very first, a '71 455 D-Port Goat. It was in the fall of that same year that everything changed because of a chance meeting. This now 42-year-old firefighter never could have foreseen how his involvement in the Pontiac hobby would affect his life or the friendships that would come along with it.
A Chance Encounter
Back in the '80s, there was much less access to information on specific vintage cars, especially Pontiacs. You could probably take a trip to the newsstand and pick up a copy of HPP or a few muscle car magazines to feed your needs, but stories on your favorite year or model would not be in every issue.
Young Tim attended a World of Wheels car show in Des Moines, Iowa, to look around. He was surprised by the large amount of books, shirts, posters, and other hoopla that the vendors were selling. "I quickly found every book I could about Pontiacs and looked through them," he says. "I soon noticed there was a man who was picking up most of the same books that I was, so naturally we started a conversation." As it turned out, both of them had GTOs. The man said he had a '71 Judge and Tim didn't even know Pontiac made one in '71. "Less than 10 minutes later, our conversation was over and we went our separate ways. I didn't even get his name," Tim says.
Nine years went by, and Tim took a job as a mechanic in his family's garage, mostly doing exhaust work. "One morning a glass guy came to the shop to put a windshield into a car," he recalls. "I'm bad with names, but I always remember a face, and I realized that I knew this guy from somewhere." Tim went to speak to him and learned that he was the owner of the '71 Judge and his name was Martin Clark.
Tim asked if he still had the Judge and if it was for sale. "He said he still had it, but he wasn't interested in selling it. He'd owned it since '78 and planned to restore it someday." Tim wasn't in a position to buy it anyway. He still had his '71 that he had been piecing together over the years, so he didn't need to take on another project-especially with a wife, three kids, and a mortgage.
One week after their second chance encounter, Martin returned to the shop and asked Tim if he would be interested in buying the Judge. "He had changed his mind and wanted to sell it to fund the purchase of a motorcycle. He was straight up about the sale, too. He said, 'I've had many offers on the car over the years so if you try to go down on the price even $100, I will go up $100.'" This guy wasn't messing around, but even at the fair asking price, Tim knew he couldn't afford the car at the moment.
Tim's good friend, Lonnie Urich, worked out a deal with him to do the bodywork and paintwo
A Friend Helps Out
Tim called his good friend, Al Palmgren, to see if he would be interested in buying the car. Al was well known in the area for owning several rare Pontiacs, so he would probably be interested in adding another to his collection. "I also knew that I would be the first person he would sell the car to if it didn't work out for him," he says.
His convincing skills paid off, and Al was on board if he could see the car in person. The three men arranged a meeting to take a look at the Judge shortly after. Upon their arrival, it was clear that the years hadn't been very kind to the A-body. But, after checking the numbers, everything was original and it was all there, including the original transmission in a box in the trunk. It was also a seldom seen color for a Judge, Castillian Bronze. In addition to the Judge package (WT1), the GTO had Safe-T-Track (G80), a four-speed (M22), AM radio (U63), Soft Ray windshield (A02), ride and handling package (Y96), and (N98) 15x7 wheels with G60-15 tires (PJ4). The original Ram Air 455 H.O. (code-WC) was in need of a rebuild.
Al and Tim rebuilt the tired 455 H.O., but he can't remember too many of the internal deta
Al bought the Judge and immediately started on the restoration with Tim's help in the fall of 1995. "The project was started and stopped several times over the next few years, due to Al's health problems," Tim says. "One morning I received a phone call from Al telling me he wasn't going to be able to finish the Judge, but he wanted me to have it so I could."
In May of 2004, Tim and a few friends picked up the pedigreed Poncho and he made a promise to Al that he would finish the car for him. "The rolling chassis was done and the body was back on the frame with its underside finished. That's where the bodywork stopped, though, and the rest of the car looked like a rolling basket case," Tim recalls.
Over the next few months, he worked on it four or five nights a week with his friend Lonnie Urich. It was ready for paint by October 2004, and Tim took pictures for Al through the whole process. "He was in the hospital by this point, and seeing his reaction to the photos made the entire summer's work worth it. Sadly, Al passed away in December before getting to see the Judge completed," he remembers.
Tim's motivation to finish the Pontiac fell off after the loss of Al. "It was hard to get going since it lost a lot of its fun, so things slowed down for a few years." he says. In total, it took him five years to finish what the two men started. But for Tim, completing this project has been a dream come true. "It's not just for me, it's also for a good friend who didn't get to see it happen."
It has been 23 years since Tim had his first conversation with the previous owner, which led to Al acquiring the Judge and the car being restored. Tim feels the chance encounter happened for a reason-and it only brought him closer to Al. It was fate.
Tim dedicates the car to Al and thanks everyone who helped him in the restoration, especially Lonnie.
The rare KR-code 15x7-inch Rally II wheels were a mandatory option when code-PJ4 G60x15 wh
The '71 GTOs were known for their cornering prowess, thanks to the 1.125-inch-front and 0.
Inside, the Sienna (261) Morrokide interior was meticulously restored. Dr. Vinyl in Johnst