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Rusty Muscle: 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge

“Hello, Maaco? Yeah, um…” It’s always sad to see such a legendary muscle car in such unbelievably deteriorated condition like this 1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” is in. Wow. This major project is listed here on eBay with bids already surpassing $5,000 and there are over four days left on the auction! Wow, again! Celina, Tennessee is where you’ll have to meet the shipping company that you use, you aren’t going to drive this one home. Thanks to Jacob M for submitting this find!

The Judge was a special edition named after a recurring skit on the tv show, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, where Sammy Davis Jr. played a judge and would say, “Here comes the judge, here comes the judge.” Everyone under 40 years old just fell asleep. “Who is Sammy Davis Jr? Laugh-In? What’s that?”

A restored version of this car can top $100,000 but, as you can see, it’ll take most of that to restore this one. This is most likely a parts car at this stage of its life. There is a vast sea of rust and former bodywork going on here to almost rival anything that I’ve ever seen. Oh yeah, the original Ram Air III engine and 4-speed manual transmission aren’t in the car and they aren’t included. So there’s that, too.

I can see where there could be thousands of dollars worth of usable parts on this one, but the thought of a car, any car, in this sort of condition being over $5,000 is.. something. Amazing? Depressing? Amazingly depressing? I grew up when a perfect version of this car would have probably been this price so maybe it’s just my own mortality rearing its ugly head. Hey, the back seat looks perfect!

This echo chamber is where the beautiful music-maker of a 400 cubic-inch V8 with 366 hp would have been. That’s painful that it’s missing and it affects the value like nobody’s business. It does have the famous hood tach and other things that will no doubt add up for anyone who is restoring a similar car. Original parts are king when you’re deep into a restoration and buying a whole parts car is often the way to go, if you can swing the storage and shipping. What is this car worth as it sits here? $7,500? $10,000?

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  1. fulltoy1

    How can anyone leave such an Iconic Car go to Rust and Bolts and the Topper No Engine or Trans, useable parts maybe if they are Rusted Out also..

  2. Bill

    Tragic this once a car of dreams has been turned into a nightmare.

  3. T-bone

    Sad to see this car in such horrible condition, and even more sad is the price someone will pay to get the old rust bucket.

  4. geomechs

    Ha! Sammy Davis Jr.; Laugh In; Here come the Judge; Remember it well. I also remember Burt Reynolds calling Sammy a ‘chocolate monk’ in Cannonball Run. Yeah, I’m dating myself. When this car was in its prime I was in high school. I had a ’69 Chevelle 300.

    I hate it when the engine and transmission disappear; that cuts the value in half. Any purist restoration guy would likely have to settle for a Pontiac look-alike (350/400/455) smogger to go under the hood until the proper unit could be sourced. Otherwise this actually doesn’t look all that bad. Going to be lots of rust repair so break out the media blaster and get ready….

    • Animal

      Let’s see what Fast and Loud can do this one

    • Adam T45

      The under 40’s don’t know what they missed with Laugh In. And Goldie was gorgeous!

    • Kris

      In before the “Pontiac Big Block” comments….

  5. 74 vette

    It is sad to see, but if you need those parts to complete a 100k concourse resto, 5k is a just drop in the bucket.

    Wish I had one on the rotisery that needed these parts😁

  6. jdjonesdr

    “Frame seems to be solid” WHAHAAHAHAHAHAHa

  7. Jeffro

    The back seat should clean up nicely.

  8. Tony S

    Time is a funny thing… I remember seeing a Judge in almost exactly the same condition in someone’s back yard… In 1985.

  9. Don

    It will never be original with out the engine and trans .I wonder what happened to all these engines ,did they blow up and no one put a new engine in the cars our what .This car is not a Judge anymore it is a victim.

    • mike d

      Many of the time would yank the engine and put it in something else ( even today) something must have gone wrong with it at the time that wasn’t worth fixing, yank the engine and put it in something else, and put the body out to pasture

  10. John M.

    Poor car. I think I’m going to cry.

  11. nessy

    This car will top 10k easy. You call it a parts car but at this point, very few people, if any, would part out a true GTO Judge even in this condition. The car will be saved. Here is another thought, just put a running drivetrain in the car, make the car safe for the road and pull up at the Pontiac meets and park it right next to the restored Judges. I am an Oldsmobile guy but I have nothing bad to say about this car. I like it even in this poor condition. More people will look at this car then anything else.

  12. sir mike

    Why do idiots do this to cars?? And $5000.+for a vin plate a few maybe useable parts….so sad

    • Trey

      The idiot would be the one taking the VIN plate.

  13. ACZ

    A new standard for patina. Just shoot it with clear.

  14. PaulG

    Sad to see…
    BTW, it was Flip Wilson not Sammy Davis Jr. that played the “Judge”

    • Steve Visek

      Actually is was Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham who started it, though Davis was the first to use it on Laugh In. Over time Davis, Wilson, and Markham all portrayed the judge on the show.

      • PaulG

        I stand corrected thanks or the info…

      • Woodie Man

        Pigmeat Markham was one of the best! I hate myself when I say this but people who didnt live through the Sixties and weren’t exposed even to our folks generation of comedians, not to mention our cars and our music of the Sixties really missed the boat. Can you imagine………..scratch that I can………a Fast and Furious Toyota? Snore……

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Staff

      PaulG, I included a YouTube link in the post showing Sammy Davis Jr. playing the judge.

      • PaulG

        Thanks, I was about 12 at the time…funny memories!

  15. Car Guy

    All Rise…….Here comes da Rust…….

  16. S Ryan

    Life Sentence

  17. Car Guy

    “This Judge can be bought.” Ok, ok, ok, I’m stopping now………

  18. JW

    It has to be worth more than that 23 window rust bucket VW van from the other day and much more restorable, maybe not original but still cool when done.

  19. Steve Visek

    I wouldn’t mind it missing the original engine and trans if the car was otherwise in good shape. It would be a way to get a genuine Judge and yet be able to equip it with upgraded mechanicals and not feel…ahem…guilty. 🙂

    If this car really has a decent foundation, I could see an injected Butler motor backed by a 6speed, upgraded steering, suspension, and brakes, with sound deadener under new carpet and headliner, and really have an original appearing but great driving street machine. Add some hideaways, a/c, and some comfort and convenience accessories and it would be much more pleasurable to drive than a restored-to-stock car.

    Just my $0.02, but then again my philosophy is that the glass isn’t half full or half empty, it’s completely full: half with water and half with air…and you really need both! I hope someone finds a way to bring this Judge back from the dead.

  20. James

    A HUGE scammer from Celina Tennessee has been plaguing the internet for YEARS. They used to specialize in Mustangs dragged out of the woods, but apparently are branching out. What they usually do is a quick bondo job and poorly done cheap repaint and give vague descriptions and carefully worded not very detailed descriptions. With this one I guess they ran out of bondo. Stay away from ANYTHING sold out of Celina Tennessee.

    • Trey

      James, do you have any evidence to suggest the “scammers” are selling this GTO?

      If not, maybe it’s wise to tone it down.

    • Stilgoin

      It is my car. I know the mustang people, and I am not them.

      We own Randell’s Garage in Celina, TN


    • Stilgoin

      I should add, it makes me sad you are blamin everyone in our little town for one person’s work. We have been in business for 25 years and we have an excellent reputation- please don’t blame us for other people’s work.

  21. Dave Wright

    My neighbor had this identical car…….the most interesting thing about it was the soft plastic front end. I was working on my Lotus 11 less than 30 yards from where he parked it………wasn’t that impressive in the years of 426 Hemis, Z28’s and other contemporary muscle cars. He wouldn’t race my Lotus with the MK 13 Cosworth engine.

    • Jacques

      I guess that he didn’t want to humiliate you ;P

      • Dave Wright

        No worry of that…….1000 lb car with close to 200 HP and a 12,000 RPM redline. The Judge was considered a heavy fat car comfortable for young families.

  22. TJP

    Buy it now, 20K.
    Will be at BJ Scottsdale 2018 as a low mileage, numbers matching car, with PHS doc’s. 100K +

  23. PJ

    I love Ponchos and I hate to see one in such horrible condition. Chances are is that the current owner of this car talks down on millennials (My generation) for ruining cars. Smh is all I can say.

    • Stilgoin

      We are the current owners. We don’t talk down to anyone. We love all kinds of cars, bikes, trucks- pretty much anything that has wheels. 🙂


    See Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach two weeks ago. 1970 Judge Ram Air III & 4 speed. Frame off and now “better than new.” Sold for $45,000 at hammer with buyer paying $49,500.

  25. Rolf Poncho 455

    So sad but it can be restored I dit my firebird wasn’t that rusty

  26. Howard A Member

    Comments are great. As I type, price is just shy of 10g’s. I’ve said it before, obviously, all the good ones have been found, and this is what’s left. People from this era, can’t relate as to why this car looks like this. NOBODY WANTED THEM!!! I realize, that’s hard for most to swallow, seeing what they bring today, but everybody I knew, that had cars like this, beat the crap out them, and when they died, it was pushed outside, and stripped, and this is what remains. Honestly, worse has come through here, but shows, what a demand there is for this. I bet some kid is looking at their old man and saying. “why did I save the Goat? Who’s stupid now”,,
    And it was Arte Johnson (who is 88) who stole the show,,,,”Veeeery Interestink”,,,,
    Lily Tomlin was great too. My mom liked that show, but my old man HATED it.

    • Mike H

      Lily Tomlin is STILL funny. I like the shtick she’s doing now with Hanoi Jane, but she was outstanding as Debbie Fiderer on “The West Wing”.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Mike, they had some great writers for that show. It was the “hippie era” and they had a ton of material to work with. My old man HATED that show.( and hippies) We couldn’t watch it when he was in the room. My mom loved it though. The “oldies” TV channel is replaying them, mostly with Sarah Kennedy in place of Goldie Hawn, who was great. It pushed the censors to the limit. Unlike the “Smothers Brothers”, who went too far. ( and got cancelled)

      • Mike H

        Tom and Dick did push it too far, and did so from the very start. That CBS allowed them to continue for three seasons (and approximately 70 episodes) is a interesting subject all on its own. Having been born in 1969 I missed out on all the hullabaloo, but I was around for the times when SNL was actually funny (it’s not anymore).

        A footnote:

        CNN has done (3) separate series of shows about the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s, and the first episode of the 1960’s decade is about how television changed from the wholesome family fare of the 1950’s to things like “Laugh-In” and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” of the later decade. That first CNN episode is very well worth watching for those interested and is available on Netflix for those who subscribe:


  27. Keith

    The “this is what’s left” is a dead on statement as to why younger guys like myself in the hobby are moving to 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s cars. Not necessarily because we want to, but because there’s no way in Hell we’re ponying up $10k plus for this, and THEN sinking the equivalent of a Master’s Degree into it. Oh and wait even better….the original engine and trans are gone? It’s not even a Judge now, it’s just a shell, and a rusted shell at that. I’m a huge Pontiac fan having owned everything from a 62 Bonneville to an 88 Fiero Formula, I can weld and do body work, but at the entry price on this, and missing the original drive train, this doesn’t seem like anything close to a good idea.

  28. AMCFAN

    Everyone seems to be missing the point. In the 1970’s when this car was boned out it wasn’t worth anything.

    Understandable Keith, My son goes to college and works fast food. He is into cars. Honda’s he can buy them cheap and with an ebay turbo and few tweaks can have one hell of a fun ride that gets 40 mpg. He has one Civic that was on the dyno and made over 400 hp to the front wheels. Why waste time on a rusted hulk when you can be driving?

    When we were young we had what we could afford. My first Javelin a 1970 390/4 Spd I traded a set of Pioneer speakers and $10. for it. I did have to tow it home however had it running in no time. I did buy a Rebel Machine for $250 in the 80’s and drove it home! If I had to pay $10K for a car guess what?

    When he graduates and gets into his profession he is going for not a vintage American muscle car he says he wants a Supra. @ $60K + I told him when he gets his job he can have what he wants. I’ll be there to enjoy it.

    • Keith

      I’m scared to ask but what happened to the Rebel Machine?
      It’s true though I’ve gone both routes one of the first cars I worked on as a restoration project was a 46 Hudson Commodore 8. Hell of an awesome car but in the year or so that I had it I drove it 1 time around the block. Parts almost unobtanium. Awesome car but not a lot of fun.
      Noting at all wrong with a Supra in my book, and their values are jumping up pretty fast.

      • AMCFAN

        Keith, It actually has a happy ending. Long story. I traded it for a 70 AMX that another AMC guy found chained through the doors and hanging off the back of a log truck. True story.

        My buddy was headed to work and saw the car on the truck. He followed the truck until the driver pulled over. Scrap price then may have been $35-$60 for a car. He had to pay more to get the guy to turn around. My buddy was so excited that he had to take the day off work. For good reason.The AMX was dropped off at his house in the yard.

        The car still had 4 Good Year Polyglass tires. It was a solid complete 360 Automatic car with 45K showing on the odo. I suspect it was parked due to blowing the trans. It was a clean car although the tops of both doors were buckled from the chain. (doors interchange from 68-74 no big deal. Luckily is was very straight and no real damage.

        Anyway I got the AMX and $500 for the Machine. I was really living high. I actually needed the AMX and even in the early 1980’s they were very hard to find. The Machine was kept by the guy and it was later found by the original owner who bought it back. He restored it and it is still around. Not so for the AMX though. I kept it and ended up using it for parts 🙁 Hey it was a $40. car then. Today = $7500 and up. Machine priceless!

  29. tbone

    I was looking at the build sheet and other doc provided by PHS or alike. It lists 1969 Carousel red as code 65. I always thought in 69, it was code 72?

    • Steve Visek

      I should clarify what I wrote below. 65 was the 1970 code for this color, called Carousel Red at Pontiac and Hugger Orange at Chevrolet.

      For 1969 Pontiacs, code 65 is for Antique Gold.

      The PHS reference page is incorrect.
      Tough to read the color code on the build sheet.

      • Steve Visek

        Looks like “TT” on the build sheet. “T” is correct for Carousel Red. Not sure why they doubled up and put “TT” though. Any Pontiac build sheet experts out there know?

      • Trey

        Steve, one code is for the bottom, the other is for the top.

  30. Mr Skiles

    I say restore or restomod. Looks like a fun project to me!

  31. Steve Visek

    tbone you are right. 65 is for Antique Gold.
    Carousel red was code 65 but only in 1970 and as Hugger Orange.

  32. Tom Member

    I passed on one of these in 1985, perfect condition, original, absolutely beautiful, low miles, for $5K. I bought a 67 Firebird 400 Convertible with power everything (steering, brakes, top, windows 4% of all production) Hood Tach, Safe-T-Track and AC & many more options (42K miles) for $4,650.00. The recession just sold it for me a few years back for $40K. The Firebird was with 7 GTO Convertibles from 68-71 (again 1985) take your pick at $4,995 OBO and a 67 Nova SS. All 8 of the Pontiacs were on an 8 place car hauler up from a Pontiac dealer owners personal collection in GA being sold off. Could have bought the whole lot of 9 for $40K. If I only had a crystal ball and $35K more in my pocket!!!! 19 years old and in college. Ouch…..those were the days.

  33. Philip

    I love those cars, it’s tragic to see it like that, people are willing to pay too much for this car, I wouldn’t give more than $1,000 for it.

  34. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Staff

    Auction update: believe it or not, this car sold for $9,950!


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