No Reserve: 1970 Pontiac GTO “Judge”

Finding a classic muscle car like a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge that is complete and unmolested will usually seem like a good thing. However, when that car has spent years sitting exposed to everything Mother Nature has to throw at it, the reality can be pretty harsh. That is the case here, which means that if someone chooses to tackle the restoration of this classic, they will face a mountain of work. The Judge is located in Hockessin, Delaware, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. It seems that there are a few hardy souls who are willing to take a punt on the Pontiac because there have been 24 bids submitted to now. This has pushed the price along to $6,600 in this No Reserve auction.

The Pontiac is being sold to settle an estate, and the seller is pretty candid about the vehicle’s overall condition. He says that it has extensive rust issues and will represent a significant undertaking if it is to be returned to its former glory. It must have looked quite something in its original Sierra Yellow with a Cordova vinyl top when it was new. The weather-beaten paint is the least of this classic’s problems because there are more pressing issues for the buyer to consider. Rusty panels are no real surprise, and there doesn’t appear to be one that hasn’t been afflicted with the tin worm. More disheartening is that the seller admits that the frame is also very rusty, but we can’t see whether it has deteriorated to the point of no return. One of the biggest concerns is the fact that the seller says that the doors won’t open. He suggests that this could be because the locks are rusted, which is a possibility. However, you also have to wonder whether the body-shell has sagged to the point where the doors have jammed in their frames. On the plus side, the car does appear to be complete, so there could be parts that are fit for restoration. It is also fitted with tinted glass, and this all remains in good condition.

The Judge offered its potential buyers no shortage of performance potential. The 455ci V8 wasn’t available until late in the 1970 model year, so buyers had to make do with the 400ci unit instead. This was hardly an inconvenience because the Ram Air III version fitted to this car brought with it 366hp. Bolted to the back of this is a 4-speed manual transmission that sends the power to a Safe-T-Track rear end. The original owner also chose to tick the boxes beside power steering and power front disc brakes on the order sheet. In its prime, this GTO would have been capable of storming the ¼ mile in 14 seconds. Those days are a long way behind this classic, but a few positives are worth considering here. The Judge is claimed to be a numbers-matching classic. More importantly, the engine oil is said to be clean, and the radiator is full of anti-freeze. That suggests that someone did care about this Pontiac at some point. It isn’t clear whether the engine turns freely, so we have to hope for the best on that front.

There’s no denying that any potential owner will be starting from scratch if they are going to return this interior to its former glory. Apart from the missing radio, it does appear to be complete. It isn’t a total lost cause in there because the gauge cluster and its surround look good, while the Hurst shifter is still in place. The seat frames look fit to be reused, but all of the upholstery is only fit for the nearest dumpster. What this photo also graphically exposes is the extent of the rust in the floors. If you ever had any doubts about the mountain that will need to be climbed on this project, that should answer many questions.

Knowing how passionate our Barn Finds readers are, I can be pretty sure that we will have plenty of readers who have the same feelings as I do when they see a car like a 1970 GTO Judge in this sort of state. It makes my heart ache to think that this once mighty beast has been reduced to a rusty shadow of its former self. This feeling is only heightened because a mere 3,797 cars rolled off the production line during that model year. We now live in an era when a Judge tribute car can fetch close to $50,000, while a pristine numbers-matching example can easily top six-figures. This one is a long way from pristine, but it does fulfill the criteria of being numbers-matching. Does that make this a classic that is worth saving, or has it gone too far for that? If you do think that it is viable, would you be tempted to bid on it so that you are the one to return it to its former glory?

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Comments

  1. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    I can see this one getting a leMans body donor. It’s not right but it’s the right way to go, not much different than all those Mustangs and Camaros having every piece of sheet metal replaced except for the A pillars. And the color…YES!

    Like 17
  2. alphasud Member

    I will buy the guy who takes on this restoration a round of adult beverages! This GTO is like an onion. You will keep pulling the layers till all your left with is a bunch of tears!

    Like 46
    • Deano

      Well said! great car shame it sat and rotted out.

      Like 4
  3. Joseph

    Way too rusty.

    Like 16
  4. Steve Clinton

    I judge this to be a rusted-out hopeless cause.

    Like 26
  5. Goatsnvairs

    “Ran when parked”…..

    Like 5
  6. Moparman Member

    It’s ALWAYS saddening to see what was once someone’s pride and joy reduced to this condition! Kudos to anyone w/ the cojones to take on this as a project; hopefully out of love, rather than financial gain! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 6
    • Steve Clinton

      There would be no financial gain when restoring this rust bucket.

      Like 11
  7. karl

    I know this writer always mentions whether the radio is still in the dash or not, but in this case not having a radio is the least of a buyers concern .

    Like 14
    • stu

      Radio!
      Were is the car?

      Like 4
  8. rustyvet

    “Can’t open doors because latches are rusty” more like Can’t open doors because frame is sagging and doors are binding. yikes!

    Like 33
  9. DON

    This car will never see the road again, unless its on a trailer. The only parts will be used would be the spoiler, and the engine and transmission if they are useable – the most valuable thing on this car is the vin and body tag. Some LeMans is going to have a major transformation soon !

    Like 17
    • Steve Clinton

      Bring a trailer. (Can I say that?)

      Like 3
  10. bone

    In this case, GTO means “Gone To Oxidation”

    Like 24
    • Rick

      Or, it could men Gee, That’s Original. ;)

  11. Gus Fring

    Junk. Better off left as a conversation piece out behind the garage, by the fire pit.

    Like 7
  12. 1-MAC

    who was stupid enough to let this happen to a big block Pontiac? Some people have no brains.

    Like 12
    • Robert Davis

      all v-8 pontiacs were big blocks LOL

      Like 10
    • Steve S

      In states where they salt the roads, cars of this era looked like this in under 10 years.

      Like 4
    • Joeinthousandoaks

      I’m looking fir a small block Pontiac. Top dollar paid. Lol

      Like 1
  13. Sam Shive

    Keep The Gas Cap, Rear View Mirror, Radiator Cap, Engine, Transmission, Rear End, and Vin Plate……..and RESTO MOD Some LeMans .

    Like 4
  14. JW454

    Apparently it was strong enough to lift it to install 4 new tires. That’s something. I think this ones best use is a donor for a clone Lemans conversion project.

    I had a ’70 GTO around ‘73~74.It was a very nice car before I got a hold of it. It suffered from Stupid Teenager syndrome and that was its demise.

    Like 11
  15. PaulG

    Whenever I see something this sad I imagine someone making it somewhat safe (if possible) and bringing it to a car show ; entered in the survivor / original class.
    The looks & comments would be almost worth it!

    Like 6
  16. too late

    I went diving in Lake Michigan last year and could have sworn I had seen this down on the bottom of that lake. Perhaps it needs to be sunk next to the Titanic.

    Like 7
  17. 370zpp

    I am trying to picture this when it was new: A yellow Judge with a vinyl top?
    Can’t say as I recall ever seeing one of those back in the day. Special order perhaps?

    Like 9
  18. Macfly

    This is the result of some guy saying: no it’s not for sale, I’m gonna fix it up myself one day….happens all too often

    Like 9
  19. 433jeff

    Wow that’s rusty, what do you do if the vin is just as rusty?

  20. DeeBee

    From the pictures, I’d judge it ready for the crusher!

    Like 1
  21. GDTOKC

    Seems like the old saying, “You can put lipstick on a Pig & it’s still a Pig”;
    applies here.

    Like 2
  22. Kaydee D.

    This nightmare belongs on an “Auto Restoration” realty TV show.

    Like 1
  23. GDTOKC

    Does the saying, “You can put lipstick on a pig & it’s still a pig” apply here?
    Just asking

  24. GDTOKC

    Censorship reigns supreme with BF! No foul language but just an honest critique and you won’t post. WOW!

  25. James Duckett

    Great project for a high school shop class

    Like 1
  26. smokeymotors

    should have waited a few more year then you could have swept it up and taken it home in a garbage bag!

    Like 5
  27. Kenn

    Before writing this off as non-restorable I would want to take a look at the frame. Which brings up a question: Why not get a LeMans frame and put under it, rather than put parts from this car on a LeMans.

    Like 1
  28. Richard Isenberg

    Fire her up and take the mice for an ice cream cone.

    Like 3
  29. Clement

    It might not have a reserve, but I would have some heavy reservations about such a vehicle/project.
    I won’t reggaes him what others have said…
    It’s a goner…

    Like 1
  30. JC

    Figures… I live 40 minutes from where this car is located… and there’s no way I would even try… What a shame they left this car to rot.

    Like 2
  31. Tom

    The car is a rust bucket. The frame is likely in the same condition. I have never seen a car as rusty as this one, and I have restored cars since 1975.

    Like 1
  32. Steve

    Man, hard to believe that bidding is now over $8,000.

    Like 2
  33. Hot Rod Lincoln

    Court has adjourned and the Judge has retired.

  34. GTO MAN 455

    i mac all pontiacs blocks are the same, chevy is the one with a big block, and its a shame some just left it to rot away like this.

    Like 1
  35. Comet

    How’s the dash pad?

    Like 3
  36. Arthur

    If anybody has any ideas of putting this car back on the road, they’d be better off doing a restomod build instead of the standard restoration.

    In which case, such a project need to be handled by a professional hot rod shop with fabrication capabilities, access to replacement parts, and a big checkbook.

    Like 1
    • Chris M.

      Anyone who was planning on building a resto mod car would have the sense to start with the cleanest rust free body they could afford. This is a parts car only and very few viable parts remain.

  37. Mikey P

    Spray paint a big NFG on it and crush it!!

  38. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Great – a car that was enjoyed by their owner is what I see – the sad fact ws they lived in an area where they rust so bad. Pontiac people are bidding on the completeness I’m sure as well as the originality – good luck with it !

  39. JC

    Holy Crap… it sold for $14,600… wow.

  40. GTO MAN 455

    old timers know what a tag job is

  41. GTO MAN 455

    tag job

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