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The Judge Clone Project: 1968 Pontiac GTO

Several muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s have been the subject of clones over the years. Such as a routine 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu turning into a Chevelle SS 396. Another might be the Pontiac GTO becoming “The Judge” edition. But this one is interesting in that the tribute is based on a model run of the GTO a year before The Judge was introduced. A project that’s in the works, this 1968 Poncho is in Joliet, Illinois, and is available here on eBay where the first bid of $14,000 has yet to be cast.

Pontiac set the industry on its ear with the introduction of the GTO in 1964. Based on the Tempest/ LeMans platform, the GTO was a mid-size muscle machine that quickly outsold expectations and caused other manufacturers to quickly follow. It was popular enough to become a series of its own in 1966, but by 1969 demand was starting to wane and Pontiac was looking for ways to inject more sales life into the marque. So, The Judge edition was born, with marketing built around Sammy Davis Jr.’s bit on the Laugh-In television series, “Here Comes the Judge.” The car, with special identification, would remain on the payroll through 1971.

Carousel Red (a version of orange) was one of the most popular and memorable colors The Judge was offered in, akin to the Hi-Impact colors over at Chrysler. That’s the color the restorer chose for this 1968 GTO, making it more of a tribute than a clone since The Judge didn’t come out until the following year. Though a VIN is not provided, the seller says this car is a real deal GTO with the partial ID code of 242. It would have come with a 400 cubic inch V8, and one is provided – sitting in a truck bed (not in the car). It supposedly runs but no mention is made of whether it’s numbers match.

This was a 4-speed car, and a Muncie transmission comes along with other items not in the auto, like bucket seats and a back seat. The dash is out of the car and the seller is waiting for another one to “come in” so we assume it will go with the sale when you pick it up. There are patches in the floorboards and the undercarriage is rather crusty. But the paint looks new and some of the photos indicate that perhaps better prep work could have been done. Yet the GTO sits on brand-new tires. Is this a project that you’d like to finish?


  1. Avatar photo Steve R

    Look at his completed sales, he’s doing quick paint jobs, prior to putting them up for sale. The doesn’t look particularly good, it’s hard to see it holding up over time. Another car he was selling, a 69 or 70 Plymouth was featured on this site a few weeks ago. Good luck to potential buyers.

    Steve R

    Like 22
    • Avatar photo Mike76

      Yeah, I remember. He had two Mopars for sale, one featured here. Including this Pontiac, all three are painted orange.

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Nick P

    Classic example of someone spending money to devalue a car. Everything they did needs to be undone so it can be done correctly. Then it might be worth 30-35k. Maybe. They did nothing underneath, more than likely didn’t use actual metal to repair the body, and even screwed up the stripe install. I feel bad for the cars when I see things like this.

    Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Al camino

    The underneath of this looks like it come out of the ocean.why do the body and not the underneath they should sell it before they do any body work,the next guy would want to do the underneath! And you don’t know what’s under that paint job!

    Like 19
    • Avatar photo Al

      You may be correct as far as the ‘ocean’, look at that dashboard lol!
      The jury is out on this imposter ‘Judge’ & aint comin back either!

      Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Todd

    Using a 68 to make a 69 Judge clone and a 70 rear spoiler. Does this person own a junk yard to just slap parts together? Looks like waisted time and money on the body once you see the underside pictures. God knows what’s hiding under that paint.

    Like 22
    • Avatar photo Jim

      A junk yard and a spray compressor. Put some shiny paint on junk and get what you can for it. I could not imagine picking this up as a project to complete. It’s a good parts car. And you’re correct, someone should tell him there was no judge in 68 . You can’t clone what wasnt

      Like 4
  5. Avatar photo WILLIAM T LATIMER

    Looks like a lot of unknows. Also is the motor a Ram air 3 or 4. Why spend all the money on the paint when there is a ton of work that needs to be done,

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Turbotato

    Hmm…A Chicago car with a boat load of underside rust…what could go wrong???

    Like 13
  7. Avatar photo Don

    I don’t understand why if your going to say it’s a judge clone, why don’t you aT least use the right year model.
    NOT 68 OR 72

    Like 5
  8. Avatar photo Dan

    Unless you’re starting off with a basket-case car like that ’71 mentioned elsewhere, DON’T DO CLONES! Especially a clone for a car that never existed, like a ’68 Judge!

    Like 7
  9. Avatar photo Shuttle Guy Member

    That frame and that paint job don’t jive!

    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Glen Riddle

    Almost tempted to buy it just to stop the desecration going on here, but a less-than-infinite-wallet, and a wife with vastly more sense than her husband, keep me from entertaining such an ill-fated decision.

    Given what a wonderful design the 1968 GTO is, it boggles the mind that someone thought this was a good idea. In addition to all the issues mentioned by others, I had to cringe at the horrid painting job of the grilles, and the red “GTO” badge, too. They couldn’t even put The Judge” decal on the right side of the trunk lid.

    As an aside, Carousel Red is actually a Chevrolet color, where it was called Hugger Orange. BTW comedian Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham originated the “Here Comes the Judge” skit. Markham, Flip Wilson, and Sammy Davis Jr. all took turns portraying “The Judge” on Laugh-In.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Glen Riddle

      To clarify, for 1969 the GTO badge would go on the right side of the trunk lid, while “The Judge” decal would go on the right side of the spoiler, and for 1970-71 “The Judge” decal would move from the spoiler down to the right side of the trunk lid, also replacing the “GTO” decal.

      Like 4
  11. Avatar photo Scott

    The saying, ” lipstick on a pig”, describes this project GTO best.

    Like 2

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