If you're a long-time Pontiac purist, you're likely to remember the original '70 GTO Judge two-page print advertisement featuring a passenger-side-view photograph of a Polar White R/A-IV Judge blocking off a downtown Detroit street. Featuring MacManus, John, and Adams creative team's ad line, "After a few moments of respectful silence, you may turn the page," the double-truck-as it's called in the magazine business-successfully conveyed Pontiac's marketing message that the GTO Judge had returned for its second model year-and its 370hp R/A-IV optional engine was exactly what musclecar owners needed to rule their local streets and dragstrips.
In all likelihood, this same '70 R/A-IV Judge (with its hood-tachometer color changed from body color to satin black) was photographed and appeared in the '70 Pontiac High Performance dealer brochure and was used as the subject of a dealer poster, which hung in Pontiac showrooms nationwide.
Like other Pontiac in-house special-ordered cars that started life on the regular production line, the Judge was loaded with the all the options the Division could squeeze onto the internal sales order. For this special GTO, that included 26 options-the aforementioned R/A-IV, a Muncie M21 four-speed manual transmission, Safe-T-Track 4.33-reared gear, Rally gauges, hood-mounted tachometer, a custom wood steering wheel, Powerflow ventilation, tinted glass, remote side mirror, AM/FM stereo radio with rear speakers, remote trunk release, electric heated rear-window defroster, rear taillamp monitor, and more.
This Judge retains its code-258 Comfortweave bucket-seat interior, code-462 Custom Sports
The photogenic Judge remained in Pontiac Motor Division ownership for eight months-from its build in October 1969 until June 1970-and it's believed it was the point-of-interest at Pontiac's public displays at several domestic car shows, after which it was re-invoiced and sold to Jim Causley Pontiac in Detroit as a used car. After sitting on the dealer lot for just over two weeks, the Judge was sold to its first retail customer, Jack Trusel, a local motor-city musclecar hobbyist.
Find And Restore
In 2001, Dave Boyle-owner of Desert Motors, a Phoenix, Arizona-based GTO restoration shop-saw the R/A-IV Judge offered at a local auction and placed the winning bid. Though the once-proud Pontiac had succumbed to the ravages of rust and neglect, a R/A-IV drivetrain was still with it. He collected restoration parts for five years, and then began to return the Judge to its original condition.
He removed the GTO's rust-damaged body from its frame, stripped the chassis of its components, and bead-blasted the frame and its bolt-ons to bare metal. He powdercoated the frame, A-arms, and control arms to match the color of GM's chassis paint, and then installed Moog ball joints and bushings, stock replacement springs, NOS spiral shocks, the rebuilt code-XM Safe-T-Track 4.33-rear-geared rearend, and the 1.125-/0.875-inch (front/rear) sway bars. He also installed new brake components, including NOS 10.94-inch rotors, single-piston calipers, and new reproduction brake lines and hoses.
If Pontiac fans expected the Judge's wild Carousel Red exterior color to continue for a se
Much of the Judge's sheetmetal was rusted, prompting Dave to replace the rear clip, doors, fenders, hood, and trunk lid with healthy donor parts. "I welded in the rear clip to the factory seams, fit the body panels, and adjusted the gaps to better-than-factory tolerances," says Dave. Then he sprayed the body with PPG DP40LF Epoxy Primer to seal the metal from future rust, followed by several coats of PPG K38 High Build Primer Surfacer and DP74LF Epoxy Primer. Blocking followed; then four basecoats of PPG Deltron Polar White, color-sanding, five coats of PPG DCU2042 clear, wet-sanding, and final polishing using 3M products.
His research led him to believe the Judge's first private owner had damaged the factory R/A-IV engine during its warranty period, and the block was replaced with a dealer-installed R/A-IV service-replacement (SR) block, which retained the original code-614 round-port heads. According to him, the SR bottom-end suffered a sinister fate, too, when it spun the No. 3 connecting-rod bearing at approximately 34,000 miles, accounting for the Judge's extremely low mileage today of 34,616 miles.
The '70 Judge came standard with a 366hp R/A-III 400, but for $389.68 more, buyers could o
According to restorer Dave Boyle, this is the Judge's original code-7040273 Rochester Quad
No. 614 heads were Pontiac's third-year production version of the round-port head design-t
To breathe new life into the R/A-IV, Dave bored the block 0.030-over and installed its cast crank (turned 0.010/0.010), along with new Eagle H-beam forged-steel rods and Keith Black forged, dished pistons. He freshened the factory round-port heads with Ferrea stainless steel 2.11/1.77 valves and Crane 1.65:1 rocker arms, and installed a Crane Ram Air IV blueprinted, hydraulic cam with 308/320-degree duration and 0.516/0.516-inch lift.
He restored the aluminum intake manifold, and reinstalled it with the R/A-IV-specific iron exhaust crossover and the Rochester Quadrajet carburetor. Dave retained and reused the Judge's code-1112011 points distributor, but added reproduction date-coded Packard 7mm wires and ACDelco 44S plugs to complete the ignition path. He bolted up the original, restored set of factory round-port exhaust manifolds (which were later mated to a Gardner 2 1/2-inch exhaust system and NOS exhaust splitters), the M21 four-speed, the Hurst shifter, and the driveshaft.
Finally, Dave installed the interior using the original dash (restored by Just Dashes), reproduction door panels from Legendary Auto Interiors, NOS headliner fabric, an 80/20 loop carpet sourced from Auto Custom Carpet (ACC), restored Custom seatbelts, and NOS Comfortweave seat covers, which he reinstalled over new foam padding and the original frames.
The '70 GTO's Ram Air option (standard on the Judge) allowed drivers to manually activate
For the rest of this Judge's amazing life story, we turn to its current owner, Rob Anderson, a 41-year-old general contractor in Keller, Texas, who recently began serving as a concours judge for the GTO Association of America (GTOAA) and the Pontiac-Oakland Club of America (POCI).
"I feel fortunate to own what I firmly believe is the exact '70 GTO Judge used by Pontiac Motor Division as a factory show car," Rob says. "After searching years for a Judge, I bought this one at auction in January 2007."
According to Jim Mattison of PHS-Online, Rob could very well be correct, but that he can't provide definitive proof. What he did verify is that this R/A-IV Judge was billed to Pontiac Motor Company as a factory company car, and he believes it was used as a company showcar based on the factory-invoiced hood-lock package, which was added by the Division to Pontiac autoshow cars only. Ad-man Jim Wangers, who was present at the marketing photoshoots for the two-page '70 GTO advertisement and the '70 Pontiac high-performance brochure, said its not inconceivable that Rob's Judge is the actual car used in these shoots.
The ultra-rare code-634 rear lamp monitor alerted the Judge's driver when a rear taillamp
Once Rob had his Judge home, he realized the restoration was good, but not to concours standards. He added reproduction date-coded Soft-Ray glass, a set of correct-colored Judge stripes (yellow, red, and black) sourced from Phoenix Graphix, correct code-JL 14x6 Rally II wheels, and reproduction Firestone Wide Oval G70-14 tires, among other items.
"In the Judge's first return to the show field, it took best of show at the Dallas Area Pontiac Association's (DAPA) Buick, Olds, and Pontiac show," he says. It also scored Gold-Concours at the POCI National Conventions in 2008 and 2009, and the GTOAA International Meet in 2010."
A total of 325 R/A-IV four-speed Judges were produced for '70; of these, Rob's car might be the only one that was built specifically for Pontiac's photography, marketing, and car-show purposes. That would make this Judge a 1-of-1, and it's no wonder Rob plans on keeping it close to his heart. He's fulfilled most people's secret dream. He spends his days and nights with a '70s supermodel that looks as good today as the day it presumedly posed for professional photography in 1969 (for the '70 model year).
According to research done by Rob Anderson, this Judge's current owner, "A few of the earl
Since the first retail owner added 15-inch mag wheels after taking delivery, Rob added a c
Notice the factory-optioned code-491 hood tachometer. Aged satin-black paint was on it whe