Spotless Restoration: 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge

I guess that if you are thinking about buying a serious classic car, then a car from the last year of production of a particular model would have its attractions. That is precisely what we have here, with this immaculate 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge. This is a stunning looking car, and after undergoing a painstaking restoration, the owner has decided to part with his beloved toy. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting at $40,011, but if recent auction results are any indication, there may be a little way to go on this one.

The Judge looks stunning for a very good reason, and that’s because it has undergone a full frame-off restoration. The result is a car that looks as good as new, but I will throw in a note of caution here. As part of the restoration process, the car underwent a color change. Deciphering the order sheet (which is a bit hard to read in spots) it appears that the Judge started off finished in Aztec Gold, but the owner chose to have it refinished in Cardinal Red, as he felt that this was more attractive. I will admit that I agree with the fact that the car does look better, but this raises that age-old question as to whether this would now be classed as a restoration, or a refurbishment. I’ll leave that one up to our readers to argue. Looking past that detail, the presentation of the car is essentially flawless, and this is a car that would attract plenty of attention wherever it went.

As you would expect from a car that has undergone a recent restoration, the interior of the vehicle is also pretty hard to fault. It looks like a pleasant place to spend some time and looking over all of the photos, it is hard to not be impressed by the quality of the work. The original owner ticked a few boxes on the original order, so you get air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and an 8-track player to make life on the road a bit more enjoyable.

There’s nothing like opening the hood of a car like this, and finding that the engine and surrounds not only present beautifully, but that it is a numbers-matching car. With 335hp at your disposal, the 455ci V8 was capable of getting this car up and moving. Backing that engine is a Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, while you also get power steering and power brakes. Breaking down the production numbers for the 1971 Judge is quite interesting, because, in total, 374 cars rolled off the production line. Of these, there were only 17 convertibles built. The owner claims that this particular car is 1-of-169, and with it being a Hardtop equipped with the 455 HO engine and automatic transmission, this is actually correct. The Pontiac does apparently come with a fair collection of paperwork, including documentation from the PHS.

The last of the breed. It’s an expression has kind of a sad ring about it. I guess that if you’re going to go out, you might as well do it in a blaze of glory. That’s precisely what Pontiac did with The Judge, and the result was a legendary car. This one is a nice example, and it will be interesting to see what it finally sells for.

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Comments

  1. OhU8one2

    I will agree that the color of owners choice does look really good. But a bad decision to change the color on a matching numbers car. Granted the owner can do whatever he or she chooses, but I think in the end the car would pull a few dollars more finished in original color at auction. Now I totally agree that “gold” in any shade is just not my cup of tea. But you never know. Good luck with the sale, and I am going to watch this one.

    4
  2. CCFisher

    Fantastic, rare car, but it seems to be more suited to the Bring-A-Checkbook, a.k.a Bring-A-Trailer, crowd.

    4
  3. ThisGuy

    Restoration is such an overused term. Also that spoiler looks like crap.

    2
    • Will Fox

      It calls for understanding the term, “restoration” to begin with. You might want to read up on that. As for the spoiler, you might ALSO want to read up on 1970-71 GTO Judges; it was part of the package, and is FACTORY CORRECT.

      9
      • Ken Member

        He didn’t say it wasn’t factory correct; he said it looks like crap. I’m none too wild about it myself.

        3
  4. Brian Weyeneth

    Color change killed it. I’m sure it won’t score any PHS points. Then again, I’m not bidding.

    3
  5. Will Fox

    Nice Judge. The vinyl top makes the stripes appear too “busy” looking, and takes away from the overall look, but it may be original. Me, I would’ve stuck with the original gold color in the restoration; anything else just takes away points in “Judging”…..(no pun intended).

    2
    • TimM

      I had a 68 GTO his and her shifter with the 400 motor!! It was one of the nicest cars I ever owned!! It was dark green with dark green interior!! This car regardless of the color change is stunning!! Even though it’s not the original color anyone who’s ever painted a car knows what a pain in the a&@ it is to do it right!! Door jambs, engine bay the inside of the trunk lid doors and the hood!! If he went through all that trouble to change the color chances are it’s a good restoration!!! I can see by the pictures that this is the way it was done!! I’m sure it won’t be cheap but you can pretty much say that this car has been completely apart!!

      1
      • ROAR

        I too, had a ’68. A far better looking machine than the one featured here. I ordered it through a local dealer with a 450 engine, the Hurst shifter and extra wide tires. When it arrived at the dealership. their speed mechanic, Jesse, did his magic…it hauled ass, sounded brutal and looked sweet.

  6. Boss351

    I think I would have liked it better in Aztec Gold. However I do like the black interior versus the original dark saddle.

    Wish I still had my 70 GTO.

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  7. Tom Bell

    Needs three pedals.

    Restore: to return (something, esp. a work of art or building) to an original or former condition.

    Refurbish: to make neat, clean, or complete, as by renovating, re-equipping, or restoring.

    Not a restoration in the most literal sense.

    Agree with OhU8one2

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  8. Del

    When I checked NADA guides I had to change my shorts.

    Prices on immaculate ones are over $160,000 . Yikes.

    Color change will mean this one worth way less. But still its worth way more than what I thought

    2
  9. Troy s

    “we see a lot of cars on the road like yours, they begin to look all the same……they perform about the same.”
    I know this isn’t like the one Warren Oats drove in two lane black top but I always liked that line. Always liked the GTO’s as well, any year. Too bad these are too valuable now to drive it like you stole it. Awe shazbutt.

  10. Bakyrdhero Member

    Pontiacs interiors were always that much better than its GM counterparts. Nice car thought I’ve never cared much for that Endura nose.

    1
    • Troy s

      Bakyrdhero, you are exactly right about the interior on these GTO’S, or Pontiacs in general. More that just a fast car or sporty looking on the outside, sitting in a GTO for the first time for me was when I realized why they sold so many. Compared to many other muscle cars of that era, the GTO flew first class all the way.

  11. Bakyrdhero Member

    @Troy you are right about all Pontiacs in general. The interiors were always a step or two above the rest. In the eighties and nineties the Grand Prix’s and Bonnivilles with bolsteed seat and gimmicky steering wheel buttons. I’m sure others did it, but Pontiac always stood out to me. I owned a 71 Skylark conv. Which I loved, but the interior was a bit of let down to me compared with what else was out there in the day.

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