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Treed Goat Recovered: Pontiac GTO Judge

Treed GTO Judge

Reader Alan F recently sent in photos of a Pontiac GTO Judge that he has known about for the past 30 years and he finally got the chance to buy it. Well, over the weekend he traveled to the farm where it was parked and cut it free from the tree. You can read his original story here! He promised to send us an update as soon as he had it free and here it is! From Alan – So I spent my Independence Day flying to rescue this Judge, and this morning (Sunday) awoke to pouring rain, first they’ve had in months. The crops needed it however and it certainly wasn’t going to sway me from the day’s duties!!

Treed GTO Judge - 2

I loaded up my free labor (who incidentally also provided the pickup, trailer, tools, chainsaw, etc) and headed off to the farm, about 25 miles out of town. This was the first time I’ve laid eyes on the car in roughly 30 years, but WHAT A SIGHT! The owner aired up the tires, long since flat, and they held air! (and still do, on the trailer…but I wouldn’t drive it with them, that’s for sure!).

Freeing GTO Judge

One of the tree trunks had a death grip on the tie rod end but with some careful chainsaw surgery and a pry bar it came out with out an issue. Amazing!

Treed GTO Judge - 3

We dragged the car back with a small tractor (and much coaxing, it wasn’t in a hurry to leave) and pulled it onto the car trailer without an issue. Sweet! Step one, done. Now to find all the parts.

Treed GTO Judge - 4

The car spun a rod in 1979 and the engine was pulled and disassembled on the farm. I really didn’t expect to find much of anything left after all those years…I mean, really? That is a long, long time….

Treed GTO Judge - 5

Well, the owner had already made a pile of parts, and we sorted through them: numbers matching block, check. Date coded carb, check. All the ram air stuff for the aircleaner and hood, check. Ram Air hood and hood tach, check. Trans, shifter, bellhousing, heads, all the parts to assemble the engine, check. What a day!!

Treed GTO Judge - 7

We got both trailer loads of parts and the car back to town for a long stint at the car wash, and most of the ick from the decades of sitting washed right off. Nice! The floorboards, frame, and everything underneath is perfect. Very hard to believe!! The trunk however needs a pan; for whatever reason it took most of the debris and rust.

GTO Judge - Free Mice

The interior is very nice; will probably put new seat covers and carpet in just because (they are cheap, and the mice have TAKEN OVER the interior! )

Treed GTO Judge - 6

Now, for the decision part…..do I A: restore to make it “perfect” like every other car, or B: retain the beautiful patina and make it a very clean, drivable Judge? The right rear quarter was fixed looong ago, and very badly…..The car will of course need all the obvious stuff, engine assembled and installed, firewall forward wiring harness, brakes, anything with oil or lube disassembled and rebuilt, but WHAT FUN!!!


  1. Avatar photo Nick G

    Wonderful news. I would’ve thought there would’ve been more rust! Congrats!

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Jay Gryph

    I’d say make the engine pretty as it will need a complete overhaul, clean the engine bay and perhaps detail that, but the exterior of the car, at least for now, I would shine and drive as is. It would be a tragedy to rescue a car like that and then have it stall out as another taken apart barn car showing up on a site like this rather than spinning it’s tires down the highway.

    Awesome find.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo ROD

      Exactly, I agree with you. Drive it .

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Bruno

    Where in the country is this? It’s remarkable that it’s in such great shape.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jim Finlayson

      It truly is remarkable that this Pontiac survived in such great shape in Montana .

      Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Blindmarc

    Congrats! Glad to see a great car saved, and all the important parts found. Good deal!

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo 67rebelsst

    Love the update please keep us in the loop. Car looks great. If it has had bad body work I would defiantly fix that. But if you can polish it up the rest I would, you might drive it more. after a full resto and money spent I am afraid I would make it a garage queen and it has been dormant long enough. Good Luck

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Mike D

    first off, congrats on a great find! I think I would repair that quarter, but the problem would be matching the paint to the rest of the car do you think the rest can be buffed out? no matter what you do to it, it will garner lots of attention one option would be to leave the repaired quarter in primer ( anti rust primer) and if you show it, be it at a cruise in or a Pontiac show to put a sign on it, or write on the windshield ” work in progress” ( white shoe polish works well) which you will have questions right and left have fun with it!!

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo randy

    You are living my dream! Great for you. Hopefully we all get a “turn”!!

    great car, my uncle trashed one of these in the mid 70’s, only car in town that beat him was a black AMX. It was a very small town.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo JW

    Incredible news that only the trunk floor got ate up with rust, great news that another GTO will eventually roam the streets again. Good for you and good luck.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle


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  10. Avatar photo Stomper

    Alan F.

    Thank You for taking the time to share this with everyone.

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo jimbosidecar

    Great News! Thanks for sharing. I hope you keep a piece of the tree that imprisoned this beauty as some kind of souvenir. What a great story is unfolding here. Best of Luck.

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Barzini

    Great to see this car land in the hands of someone who truly appreciates it. I am still struggling to understand how the former owner let this happen.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo sir mike

    great story and a great save…keep us posted

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Dolphin Member

    Good job. Alan will probably be known from now on as a hero of the GTO world. At least he should be.

    I really like that photo of the car on the hauler showing in the side mirror. It’s clever and artistic but that’s not the main reason I like it.

    Every time I have picked up a car with my hauler I must have looked at it through the side mirror riding back there a hundred times for each day of travel, just to make sure it’s there and because it looks so good riding back there. It was my choice to buy it and haul it home, and it’s just a really good feeling to see it riding there…..one more day to go…..just a few more stops and fillups, maybe overnight in a motel or sleeping in the cab parked in a closed up gas station lot in a small town. We’ll be home soon.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jamie Staff

      Reading this just made me smile…thanks. :-) My next pickup is Saturday, and while it’s definitely not a thing of beauty, I’ll be checking it out all the way home.

      Like 0
  15. Avatar photo jim s

    i hope you make a driver out of this car. after sitting for 30 years this one needs to make up for lost time. way to many show cars out there. i hope you will keep providing updates. thanks.

    Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Danger Dan

    Thats a score! way to go! goat envy, find of a lifetime

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo John

    Honestly, I’m tired of looking at museum cars in parking lots, but I would restore to normal, it’s a beautiful car, but with this story……I would make it look good and drivable, but I would definitely fix any rust and repaint, my two cents anyways

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Alan (Michigan)


    Glad to read this story. Good times, for sure. Congratulations on beginning a great project, Keep us posted, for sure.

    Like 1
  19. Avatar photo rjc

    Good for you! Good for you!!!
    Thanks for sharing this great story.
    This is what all of us car guys live for!!
    Enjoy the process which ever way you decide to go.

    Like 0
  20. Avatar photo OhU8one2

    All rise!!! This court is now in session. With the honorable Judge Free of da Tree presiding. Bailiff call the first case. You are to be given the rescue of the year award. And to top it all off,a Judge to boot. IMHO I would bore the motor out to a 455ci,run 3:56-3:73 gears in the diff,give or take a few. Disc brakes all around.Dual exhaust with a crossover or “H” pipe to balance it all out. The body,I would have to go with the hideaway headlight’s. That’s all. Stock color’s,stripe’s,etc…….the louder,the prouder. Congratulation’s! Am I ever jealous

    Like 0
  21. Avatar photo Jamie Staff

    Congratulations, Alan!!!

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Scott Allison

    It’s great that you rescued a classic beauty. Even better that they had all the original parts!

    When my daughter and I hauled her Goat Yard find (49 Ford F-3) from Oklahoma to Texas, we stopped at a gas station, and an old guy was smiling just looking at it. We talked (and showed it off) with him for about a half-hour. He had one “back in the day”.

    Like 0
  23. Avatar photo Mark E

    Thanks for the great story and congrats on the rescue! However you do it, it’s wonderful just knowing that another will be running the streets instead of rusting in peace! Good luck and look forward to hearing about the restoration! ^_^

    Like 0
  24. Avatar photo Steve

    I say clean it up, make it safe, rebuild the drivetrain and drive it as is. You can always do little projects here and there while still driving it. As soon as you tear it apart, you commit yourself to a huge money hungry restoration. It is too easy to get discouraged and let project sit from that point on.

    Like 1
  25. Avatar photo randy

    I totally agree with Steve, unless you have thousands that NEED to be spent!!

    Like 0
  26. Avatar photo Chris in WNC

    repair it, drive it, preserve it………

    restored cars are 10cents per dozen,
    yours will get ALL the attention at shows and cruises.

    Like 0
  27. Avatar photo Cecil in Virginia

    Congrats! Let’s All Rise For The JUDGE! Best story I have herd in a long time. Keep us posted with pictures and a progress report. Can’t wait to see her in her glory!

    Like 1
  28. Avatar photo Rob

    Restore her to original

    Like 0
  29. Avatar photo RickyM

    Great find – congratulations ! Get it running and keep the patina – Backs up a great story :-)

    Like 0
  30. Avatar photo jd

    Amazingly clean, And thank you for saving a “great one” who ever you are~

    Like 0
  31. Avatar photo Tom McNally

    Preservation is where it’s at ! Once it is restored, it will never be original again. I agree with other comments regarding interest in truly rare un-restored cars. I have any early Judge much the same options as this one. Had to do a frame-off due to horrible Illinois rust. I wish mine was this solid when I found it. Congrats on the find!

    Like 0
  32. Avatar photo alanjnc

    Thanks for the comments!
    The car turned out to be so clean (all 4 T3 headlights, numbers matching carb, trans, etc) I have decided to “preserve” rather than “restore”. Also (and I thought I knew stuff, but never heard….) this is a very early production Judge, and may be one of the “pattern Judges” wherein Pontiac brass said “give us 2000 of these red cars so we can flood the market immediately”; All of the first were Carousel Red and more or less identical cars.
    It is at the machine shop getting the drivetrain done (though I would like to do all that myself, it is just to far away….) and mechanically sound. All the original parts will be used and if not used, certainly saved in case I ever “concours” it.
    WIll do a full update when it is running…..probably September!

    Like 2
  33. Avatar photo alanjnc

    The firewall of the Judge…
    I just love this detail stuff; firewall markings, etc…

    Like 1
  34. Avatar photo JW

    Incredible this car survived as well as it did, great you are going to preserve rather than restore. I’m just so green with envy you could call me St. Patty. Good Luck Alan.

    Like 0
  35. Avatar photo joeinthousandoaks

    Keep as close to “as found condition” as you can. And drive it!

    Like 0
  36. Avatar photo GreaserMatt

    This is really great… I love these cars… : )

    Like 0
  37. Avatar photo Kurt


    Like 1
  38. Avatar photo Harold Wood

    Wish I had mine back. I had a 69 judge like this back in 1974 It had a 389 with three deuces and a 4 speed, Also had a 70 model convertible at the same time. Both were still near show room as they weren’t that old at the time and I always took care of all my cars back then.

    Like 0
  39. Avatar photo Logan Stolworthy

    Makes me smile. It reminds me of when I was with my dad hauling by trans am home from Idaho.

    Like 0
  40. Avatar photo 433jeff

    Wow very happy for you, thanks i cant imagine dreaming about a car that long and um ok yea i can . But getting it for labor cutting it out and no cash??!! No i cant imagine that, and its in awesome shape!! My guess is North Carolina. It can happen!

    Like 0

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