A Treed Goat: 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge

Treed Goat - Pontiac Judge

We absolutely love hearing about the finds you guys come across, it motivates us to get out there and hunt more ourselves. It’s also great to follow the process of bringing a find back to life and I have to say, I’m quite excited about following Alan F’s most recent find! While debating what his next project should be, he recalled an acquaintance from high school that had a Pontiac Judge and decided to give him a call to see if it was for sale. Well I’ll just let Alan tell you the story himself! From Alan – I was itching for a project….I finally narrowed it down to a black 1968 Yenko Chevelle clone….Yep, I was contemplating buying a Yenko clone….to which my conscience replied: “yeah, but it will still be a clone, call that guy with the Judge, what do you have to lose?” That “guy with a Judge” I have known about since high school. Don’t ask how long ago that was…..I’ve met him a few times since high school and had spoken about the car, but it was never for sale.

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge

So, one afternoon when I was leaving work, I searched for his name, found his number, and rang him up. We spoke for a bit, and started working out a deal. Several calls and texts later (that, and he is a farmer and it was spring time, so he certainly had other things going on) we had a mutually agreeable deal. A deal 30 years in the making! He bought the car in the late ’70s, spun a rod, took the engine out, and the car has sat since then. Don’t tell my wife, but I haven’t seen the car (in person, he sent me several photos) since 1986ish…..ahh, the male brain….We came to a deal, before I had the PHS documents, and a couple of days later and I broke out in a cold sweat…”what if someone did a clone Judge in the ’70s???? “AAAAGGGHHH!!  PHS documents and window sticker came back good; a real Judge and an early one (so no GTO on the deck lid and no “THE JUDGE” emblem on the glove box! Next Sunday, I fly 2000 miles (did I mention it is 2000+ miles from where I now live?) to recover it…will it be a Fred Flintstone car? A mouse Hilton? Who knows……Next report July 5th! The engine, trans, and hood are in the “barn”, so….technically it is a “barn find”, right?

It sounds like this deal has been a hard one that has been in the works for a very long time! I want to wish Alan the best of luck and I can’t wait to see more photos! I am a bit curious though about how he plans to get the car separated from the tree that is growing out of the engine bay. Hopefully, he will document the whole process and share it with us! So who else here would love to have an early GTO Judge?


WANTED 1968-1977 Ford Bronco Have all their parts. Running engine or rust free not necessary. Prefer southern US Contact

WANTED 1983-1986 Pontiac Grand Prix Looking for (White) preferably Grand Prix – Bucket Seats – Console – Maroon interior – Original Contact

WANTED 1970 or 1071 Ford Torino squire wagon Looking for nice car ready to drive. Might consider rust free car to build. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. moosie Craig

    Good Luck, with the wheels that sunk into the ground it’d be a miracle if the floor pans are not swiss cheese, but ya never know. Removing the tree shouldnt be too big of a problem, hopefully all the missing from the photo parts are available, Keep us informed if you can ,,,,,,,,, Good Luck.

    Like 1
    • Trent Member

      Naw, those aren’t trees, they’re Crate Myrtle. Take a chair saw wack it down to the hood area then lift out tops. Now hand prune to one foot off ground. Roll car away. Then prune, chain saw, the rest left and right of car. Nobody would ever guess what was there in three years. Burn branches over campfire with sores.
      Build the Pontiac.

  2. roger

    Glad you got the GTO.
    I have been hunting for a regular 307 68 chevelle to make a SS 572 out of.
    Would settle for 69,but like the grill and tail lights on 68 better.

  3. don

    sad, another car left to rot into the ground till someone saves it, hopefully the floors/frame are not to far gone. Good luck!

  4. David Frank david Member

    At least it’s better off than this Oakland sitting over by Virginia City!

    • Alanjnc

      David, which Virginia City is that Oakland near? Montana? Or Nevada? Oaklands are interesting cars!

  5. Bobsmyuncle

    Wow, Alan must have testicles transplanted from a Black Rhino to make a deal, site unseen based on that photo!

    Look forward to part ii!

  6. JW

    Since it is a real Judge and if it’s not too badly rusted, floorpans / frame and if he gets all needed parts to put back together this could be a real treasure to own or flip. The is more like a over sized bush IMO, it’s not like a 3′ in diameter elm tree so it shouldn’t be much of an issue to cut them small trunks away and put aired up tires on it with blocks or ramps underneath to clear what’s left to remove the car.

  7. jim s

    great story. a video of the removal would be nice. also detailed photos of car after recovery. thanks

  8. Denis

    A buddy of mine bought the twin to this near Denver and hauled it back to Minnesota….this one couldn’t be any rougher but the frame n floor was decent…I’m bettin’ he bought this for less $$..

  9. Blindmarc

    Glad to it saved!

  10. ninja3000

    Getting it freed up is easy. I’m pretty good with a Stihl…

  11. 67rebelsst

    good luck. Please post more pics and updates. thanks for sharing

  12. Barzini

    I made a resolution earlier this year to be less judgmental but I need to regress. This is so wrong to treat a GTO this way. Thank goodness someone will try to rescue it.

    • Alanjnc

      Life just got in the way for him I believe.
      Ironically, my personalized plates are ordered…. : RESCUED

  13. Mark 'cuda man

    The body looks very solid for sitting outside all these years. I would tackle this project without hesitation. Can’t wait to hear the progress. This is exactly how I love to find Detroit steel………..

  14. Mark 'cuda man

    A Javlin I’ve been after…….parked in front of the shed……then the pecan grew from a seed behind it. The tree is pressing up against the rear bumper bending it. I have begged and pleaded with the owner for years to let me rescue it. He says he’s gonna restore one day…………

    • Jason

      “He says he’s gonna restore one day…………”

      Riiiiight. In reality, he will die and his family will have it crushed. Too bad the “loser mentality” prevents these guys from letting someone else take over the planned restoration.

    • Bruce

      I feel your pain,there’s a guy near me with a 69 pontiac lemans convertible sittiing with the hood up in the wood and he won’t sell it ,going to restore it he says. Well it’s been three years now and still sitting there, there ought to be a law

    • Jason M

      This car wouldn’t happen to be in Pennsylvania would it?? I remember seeing a Javelin parked in a very similar position and in the same color in Pa. back in I want to say the early 90’s.

  15. Tom Member

    Great story but I am sick to my stomach! I turned down buying a Judge just like that in 1985 that was literally show ready, beautiful car, perfect condition inside and out, get in it and go for 5K! Instead I bought a 67 Firebird 400 convertible (just as nice and much more rare) for 4,600 bucks and just sold it for 35K, instead of the 50K it was really worth, to keep my company afloat during the stinking recession. Sad in Chicago. Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.

    Like 1
  16. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    good luck with it….and yes there is a Judge just like it down to the rims on a dirt drive way near me I’ve know about her and it since the seventies….one of those that will crack the door to talk….years back $2500….no my sons coming to get it….years later…$5000….no my sons coming to get it….years later after selling 3 cars $10,000 offer…..well know I’ve turn down $25,000….to which I said – but you paid less that $5000 new in 1969….had a peak under the hood once….still has the ram air foam duct to the scoops….

  17. Woodie Man

    He must have REALLY wanted it. Yikes.

  18. Justin

    This brings back memories…
    I was an a/c repairman in 1986. I was returning from a service call west of Austin, TX, when I just so happen to see an image through the cracks in a wooden privacy fence. Curious, I turned around and went back to see what it was…thinking that it was just another ’61 Chevy hardtop but optimistic that I may have found what others talk about finding.
    Sure enough! It was a 1962 Bel Air 2 door Sports Coupe “Bubble Top” sitting in a guys backyard!
    I went around to the front of the house and knocked on the door. The guy must have been in his late 80s. I asked if the car in the backyard was for sale. He said that if I could get it out of his backyard without damaging his shop that he built in front of it and not cut down the tree that was behind it, then that I could have the car. I went out back, looked at the car…saw that it needed rear axles, a front spindle and 4 tires wheels just to get it to move. The plates showed that the last time that the car was on the road was in 1974.The car did not have any rust but the passenger rear quarter panel had a slight bush with something low. The 283 engine could be turned over by hand and was complete with the original air cleaner. The interior wasn’t that bad, just the top of the rear seat was deteriorated from the sun’s beam being magnified through the huge rear glass, but all of that needed to be restored anyway. I also found a glob in the back floor board that once were poker chips. The trunk was clean and even had the original spare tire and jack.
    The distance between the front of the car was about 10 feet. The 6″ diameter Oak Tree behind the car was actually about a foot under the car, that wrapped around the rear bumper. After thinking of a plan, I told the gentleman that I would be back tomorrow, Saturday, to get the car.
    I called around to my buddies to find the missing parts that evening. Of course, they were all too busy to help and I knew not to ask my girlfriend to come along.
    The next morning, I loaded up my baby blue w/ white top, restored, everyday driver 1972 Chevy pickup with some old tires and wheels, jacks, jack stands, hand tools, straps, chains, Come-Alongs (hand cranked cable winches) and my car hauler. Stopped at a lumber yard to get a 1/2″ 4×8 sheet of plywood and headed out.
    I installed the 2 rear axles and front spindle. Installed the wheels and tires then pushed the car forward to about a foot from the back of the building. I jacked up the rear tires. Cut about a 2″ hole in one end of the plywood for a 1/2″ chain to fit through. Slid the plywood under the rear tires and let the car down onto the plywood. I then took a strap and wrapped it around a trunk of another tree that was about 50 feet away at about a 60 degree angle from the rear of the car. Attached my come-along to the strap and chain and pulled the car sideways to miss the tree that had been behind the car. I backed the trailer to the gate and winched the car onto the trailer. This took me about 4 hours from the time I got to the house where the car was located and to the time that I loaded it onto the trailer.
    The gentleman had been sitting in a lawn chair drinking iced tea, watching me “orchestrate”, as he called it, from the time that I arrived until the time I departed with the car in tow. He said that he would not have believed that anyone, especially with no other help, could have done that task that he had just witnessed. He said that it was just “Magical and Amazing”. He said that others wanted the car but seeing what it would take to get it out, they all walked away.
    I never made the 30 plus odd mile trip back home to my shop with the car. I stopped a gas station when a guy offered to buy the car $5,000.00. I sold it and delivered it to his house that was about a mile away, collected the cash, handed him the title and went on my merry way.
    Not a bad days work.
    Sometimes the hunt is greater than a car itself.
    I was 23 years old then but still kept an eye out and peeking through fences finding more cars and trucks to save…and have!
    There was this other time that I…that will be for another time…
    The picture that is attached is only for visual purposes only. The car that I had had good “Patina” that was not very desirable back then as they are today.

    Like 3
    • Jason

      Super story!

    • Josh Staff

      Hi Justin,
      Please send some of your stories in! We would love to hear about more of them! And if you happen to have any photos of your finds, we would love to see those too!

    • joe

      great story…i would do the same thing to get that car…in my earlier years my uncle and i bought a tow truck mainly for junking cars…at that time in the early 70’s people would give us cars for free as long we wouldn’t charge them to take it away, and plus the price for scrap metal was very high…anyway we did some McGiver jobs to get cars out of there yards, garages, and driveways…

  19. Justin

    I had to share this with all of Ya’ll.
    I am sure that this was a 409 engine though.

    Like 1
  20. Justin

    Would this be considered as a “Tail Dragger”? Or a “Quarter Cruncher”?

    Like 1
  21. Fred

    Justin, you officially get my award for “best story posted by a reader” on Barn Finds- it made my morning!

  22. Chris A.

    With a built 409 that’s a great picture of “TORK”.

  23. Paul

    Justin, what a great read that has made my day!
    Paul (Uk)

  24. Tom Henderson

    Take out the grill and radiator supports and winch it back. I would love to have it myself.

  25. William H

    Nice goat and good story Justin. Seeing the story about the Goat got me to thinking about cars with trees growing through them. As I think back, I can remember at least 6 or 7 cars that I’ve purchased where tress had grown through the engine bay or some other part of the car that had to be cut away before the car could be taken away. One in particular the frame of the car was actually engulfed by the trunk of tree. Once I cut the tree away I had about a two foot piece of trunk still attached to the car. It took longer to cut and chisel away at the piece left over than it did to cut the original tree down.

  26. mtshootist1

    I once visited a guy’s shop outside Sturgis South Dakota, he was heavily into motorcycles and hot rods. He had lines of motorcycles, If I remember correctly his dad was the BSA Triumph dealer in Sturgis, or Rapid City. Anyway, looking down the row of bikes, here is this tree sticking up. The tree was grown in and around an Indian four-in-line. Wasn’t a big tree, maybe 3 to 4 inches in diameter. The guy had sawn it off below the bike and wheeled the whole thing into his shop. It was pretty neat..

  27. Ric Parrish

    When I got back from the Vietnam War, I went to work in a little British car repair place, outside Iowa City, where I was in Engineering school. The guy I worked for gathered every imaginable ‘farm find’ from all over Iowa. One was about a 1936 Auburn hearse. It had a soft top and a fairly large tree had grown up through it. This guy planned to build an Auburn Speedster out of it. It too was in the back yard of a guy in his 80’s. I’m pretty sure he never did it, he had collected enough abandoned Jag 120’s 140’s and 150’s to make him a millionaire today. We cut and hacked at that tree for a long time, then loaded it on a trailer.

  28. Steve hagebusch

    A 69 judge has always been my number 1 dream car since i was bout 8 and saw my first 69 judge starlight black 4 speed ram air hidden headlights…thag was around 89-90…..growing up in a very strict chevy family it was blasphemy to want something that wasnt a chevelle impala belair ect…today i have nothing but pontiacs still no GTOs or birds but i do have 2 50 silver streak 2 dr fast backs 2 62 catalinas one a 4 dr hardtop the other a tripower 4 speed 2 dr hard top a 62 grandprix a 64 bonneville 2 dr hard top a 66 tripower 8 lug grand prix…..and still lookin for my GTO though

    Like 1

Leave a Reply to Mark 'cuda man Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.