Been Judged: Wrecked 1970 Pontiac GTO

Well this is an interesting study and not the typical example of what you discover on Barn Finds. It is a genuine 1970 Pontiac GTO, cloned as a “Judge” model, but with a very obvious, how should we refer to it, maybe a parking lot ding? The front license plate says it all! Located in Genoa, Illinois and listed here on eBay, this GTO has currently tendered 43 bids with the highest being $10,400.

I have to admit, I never understood all the excitement with the GTO Judge. Introduced in 1969 and built through 1971, it was originally intended as a Plymouth Road Runner fighter, essentially a budget muscle car. It didn’t turn out that way. There were about four primary differences between a Judge branded GTO and a standard model GTO: Ram Air III, 366 HP 400 CI engine vs. the standard 350 HP motor; a trunk-mounted spoiler; Judge accent stripes and the removal of the Rally II wheels’ trim rings. And that’s about it. The 1969 models were famous for their Carousel Red paint finish which was really orange, not red.

This cloned Judge is listed has having a 400 CI engine, no mention as to whether it is the standard 400 or the Ram Air III version. Owing to the value bump associated with the Ram Air III engine and the fact there is no reference, I’ll assume it is the standard 350 HP motor. Backing up the engine is GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic 400, 3-speed automatic transmission.

The black bucket seat with console interior looks sharp. There are several interior images all illustrating a clean and tidy interior so either this example has been beautifully maintained or the interior was professionally restored.

So, how about the elephant in the room? This Judge is seriously in contempt of court as it got kissed, hard, via a tree that apparently stepped out in front of it while it was motoring along at 35 MPH. The seller states that “with some extensive body work (this car) could be beautiful again.” And while that’s probably true, I find that the definition of “extensive” tends to drift from one extreme to another. The damage seems confined to the front clip and those parts are replaceable. Being a GM “A” body there is a perimeter steel frame underpinning the body. It’s not really a big deal if it’s bent and I have to believe at least the bumper horns (the forward extending part of the frame that supports the radiator bulkhead and the bumper/nose piece) probably are bent. A frame jig can be used to pull a bent frame back into shape; I worked in a GM body shop many years ago and we did it all the time. The $64,000 question is how “extensive” is the damage, there are limits of course. Only a visual inspection will reveal the whole story.

As can be seen, this was a sharp looking Judge before the mishap and it probably can be again. The question is, at what price? The difficult question is this car’s real market value once it has been repaired. It’s a real GTO so it has cred but the cloned aspect of it clouds the issue a bit – a Judge brings a substantial price premium over the standard GTO. What do you think, worth taking a chance in court?

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Comments

  1. LARRY

    Looks like someone punched it in the face

    Like 11
    • slickb

      A jealous Ford LOL XD

      Like 3
  2. Vin_in_NJ

    Looks like a lot of work to bring a clone back to life. Better served as a parts car to bring a real GTO back to life

    Like 11
    • brian crowe

      It’s only a clone Judge, it’s a real GTO.

      Like 29
  3. Cadmanls Member

    35 mph when he hit the go pedal, by the looks of it the car was traveling a tick quicker. It’s bent, look at the passenger door fit. It was a big tree that walked out in front of the car. Can more than likely be repaired, got to source some parts.

    Like 6
  4. Darrun

    That license plate kinda says it all….GRRR. The driver probably had more to say at the time.

    Like 5
  5. JoeNYWF64

    Personally, i think pontiac should have left that wicked looking ’68-9 nose(especially w/optional hidden headlites) alone, thru at least ’72.
    The ’70 nose makes the gto look way too much like a ’69 firebird on the front. & i was never a fan of the ’70-2 rear bumper either.
    Perhaps this car should be fitted with a fiberglass ’68-9 front bumper?
    No endura repro front bumpers made for ’68-72, i believe, anyway.

    The great YOUTH oriented ads always created excitement for the GTO(Judge included) – especially the new never b4 seen endura nose.
    Magazine ads, tv commercials with young people music …
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5LIz7j-IvU
    & the humber option
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JNj9sEdPF0
    & the magazine ads
    http://i.pinimg.com/originals/99/7d/eb/997debc70616c5cf2da9fc1ea1cdc5b5.jpg
    https://assets.hemmings.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Judge-1.jpg
    https://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/250925078404-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

    What’s there today? Loaded with all sorts of computer related options
    4 door suvs for FAMILIES. The single buyers(now with college debt & lving at home till in their 30’s) have all been abandoned by car makers.
    & the few expensive LOADED WITH OPTIONS 2 doors are for successful middle aged men only. Or singles who have rich parents.

    Like 10
    • Wayne

      You’re right. Even middle class cant afford Mustang Shelby’s or Camaro ZL1’s, Hellcats, etc. I recall at one time in ’80 making good $$ , 20 & single, I could afford getting an ’80 Vette loaded for $12k out the door. No way in hell can I afford a base model Vette today. Not even a Mustang GT! You have to be way upper middle class, zero debt, or a 6 fig income.

      Like 8
    • STEVEN VISEK

      I don’t think a ’68-69 front end would fit as the fenders are different too. I also really like the ’68-69 GTO front esp. with the hideaways, but the updated ’70-’72 with the smooth fenders getting horizontal creases f/r and flattened-out wheel arches, which gave it a more defined and aggressive appearance over the more bulbous ’68-69. I’ve had a poster of a ’69 Judge since I was in college 30 years ago and that same poster is now in my home office, so I really like that look, but looking at the ’69 and ’70 side-by-side and today I’d have to give the nod to the ’70.

      Like 1
  6. J_Paul Member

    The Endura didn’t endure very well on this one.

    (…I’ll show myself out.)

    Like 21
    • Nick P

      Whaddya talkin about? It’s rubber. Unbolt it and set it in the sun. It’ll return to its original shape. Guaranteed.

      Like 10
  7. Bultaco

    The 350hp 400 is no slouch, even with the automatic. I had a ‘69 GTO convertible with that combo which I bought for $1000 (in good shape) in 1981. It had a 3.55 differential, and it would light the rear tires at 3/4 throttle at low speeds in 1st gear. It had skinny, 70-series tires, but still……

    Like 5
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Hi Bultaco are you rider of motorcycles by this name. Back in the 70’s / 80’s I new guys that rode Buktaco trials bike. Danish made I think with the shifter on the right side and the brake on the left. Just curious.

      Like 2
  8. ken tilly UK Member

    Judging by the shape of the steering wheel I would suggest that the tree jumped out into his path at substantially more than 35 mph.

    Like 3
    • brian crowe

      Looks like a OEM wheel to me. Same one used in Trans Am’s.

    • moosie moosie

      I had that same shape on the steering wheel of my ’66 Corvette Roadster after I introduced the car to a big ole Oak tree early one morning. Broke both hands, I fell asleep at the wheel on my way home from the bar. The collision broke the fuel pump off the block and the top right ear off of the 4 speed, the frame was twisted like a pretzel.

      Like 1
  9. Brent

    The add on Ebay states the insurance company totaled it but he has a clean title in hand. Me thinks the title is no longer clean.

    Like 11
    • Al

      Yeah, It’s ‘clean’ in his hands. Now! When titled over to next owner surprise surprise! If he’s selling it as a ‘clean title’ car, I’ll bet the house, the seller will be hearing from the buyers attorney that’s going to either want the cash back in full trade of the car, or $8k cash back.

      Like 1
  10. Tiberius1701

    To back up Bultaco, I had a ’69 hardtop Ram Air III (366HP) car I purchased for $900.00 when I got out of High School in 1979 and it was a very lively beast. Fortunately, I sold it and it ended up in the hands of a true craftsman and he restored it. It still lives to this day!

    Like 6
  11. art

    Hmmm…I’d say there are too many “look how it used to look” photos and too few photos of the car as it is now. That hood will open to allow frame pics, ditto the underside. The passenger door movement back and down gives pause but again, an honest inspection or more revealing photos should be provided.
    I think the real bummer here is that after all the repairs are done, one is still left with a salvaged vehicle…try and find an insurance company to insure the new owner for comp and collision.
    Food for thought.

    PS: By design, that steering wheel should not have peeled back like that to expose the center of the steering column. Did the column not collapse as it should have or was that steering wheel an after-market reproduction made you-know-where? The column looks un-collapsed or at least barely collapsed, so the blame goes to the steering wheel.The owner is very lucky to have survived with only 4 cracked ribs.

    Like 5
    • Superdessucke

      I would guess it’s a steering wheel made you know where, yes. Most definitely. No OEM wheel would bend like that without collapsing the steering column.

      Just goes to show you have to be careful where you buy your parts! And when you spend the big bucks for that restored muscle car, just know that you’re probably getting a relatively high foreign part content.

      Like 4
      • Superdessucke

        Also, those cheapo parts could subject you to legal liability. The Kevin Hart accident is teaching us a lot of lessons. He’s being sued for his ’70 Cuda not having modern safety features. So if that case doesn’t get tossed out, then you could easily be sued if the substandard Chinese steering wheel or Chinese dash pad you installed fails to protect an occupant in a crash.

  12. CanuckCarGuy

    Ran when “barked”…

    Like 15
  13. Billieg

    In around 1973 I watched a judge race a boss 302. The boss cleaned up and left the judge in the dust.

    Like 5
    • Al

      In ’68 at 8, was in my 18 yr old brothers ’66 GTO 389 trip w/ 4 sp smoked a 65-66 Vette with ease! Not sure what eng was in the Vette though.

      Like 2
  14. Jeffro

    I’ve had a “tequila” tree jump out in front of me one night when I was younger and dumber.

    Like 11
  15. Superdessucke

    Count me too among those who don’t get the Judge hype. You could get the same engines on the much more subtle and better-looking regular GTO. So all the Judge really got you was the stripes and that wing, which mar the beautiful clean lines of the 1968-72 A-body like foxtails on a Mercedes.

    Like 2
  16. JOHN Member

    The right door shoved back over the quarter suggests there is even more damage up in the cowl area.

    Like 5
  17. TimM

    Have you ever seen a grown man cry???? I bet he did!!! What a shame!! I wonder if you could put it on s modern frame machine and pull it out and replace some body panels!!! Either that or a cement truck of bondo!!!

    Like 2
  18. Mitch Ross Member

    Easy fix. Crash damage is better than rust damage

    Like 5
  19. Troy s

    The groovy GTO, the Judge. I know this one’s a clone and all, but that absolutely sucks what happened to it. Hopefully someone will rebuild it, either back to the clone or just a straight up GTO. Of all the bells and whistles muscle cars like the Judge I think the Buick GSX was the best looking.
    Whatever, at least it’s all there, unlike today’s cars that litter our highways with numerous fenders, grills, and assorted parts after a wreck.

    Like 5
  20. Chris In Australia

    From what I see, it’s not that hard a repair. I’d like pics of the radiator support and cowl though. At least everything forward of the firewall can be unbolted. As for the steering wheel/ column, I’d say the column is OK.

    Like 1
  21. The Chucker

    GTOak

    Like 4
  22. Tempo Matador Ray

    A bit of fib’n going on around here 😂 That’s no 35 mph front end ding the seller is trying to peddle off. It’s more likely a high speed, out-of-control maneuver gone bad. But in the true spirit of being a car broker, he’s inclined to massage the story a tad. I know, because I’ve scraped up more than one high speed collision over the course of 30 years in the fire service. This ain’t no parking lot fender bender…

    Like 5
  23. Pete

    So imagine a 72 Sklylark Convertible doing 45 MPH crossing the double yellow in a curve and side swiping of all things a 68 Pontiac Bonneville 4 door. The end result was from the center line of the front bumper/hood to the side mirror on the divers side was a straight line sort of pealed up high. I believe the 35 MPH because it hit something stationary with no give, probably with the tires locked up to avoid it, hence not more damage.

    The headlights aren’t broken. Look at the top peak of the fold on the hood. Draw a straight line down the the ground. Everything forward of that will need repair. The radiator got pushed into the fan blade. That can be bent back straight and reused. So I fee the engine is ok other than maybe getting knocked out of time. I agree the front leg of the passenger side frame will need to be pulled out, That or swap frames. This thing ain’t hopeless by a long shot. A clear title could be transfered to another state as a clear title. Doubt it would follow over as a salvage if it hasn’t been declared a salvage car on the title it currently has. It is a GTO, even if it was cloned to be a judge. You can turn it right back into with the data plate says it is and then it would be an honest car.

    Like 2
    • JEFFREY BRADSHAW

      Agreed re: tires locked-up and hit something stationary, likely in bad weather – note the position of the wiper on the wrecked pics – they were likely on during the collision.

  24. Terry Bowman

    70′ GTO or Judge was my favorite year of both, mostly because they were both in low production that year. It’s true what most say here, they were not not top in drag racing, but had the look. Smaller cars, as someone mentioned(Mustang) would usually win for the reason of being lighter. I’m a Mopar guy and know this by experience with my 69′ 340 Dodge Dart (Giant Killer). I truly hope that someone would buy and bring back to life this “Kool” car and not part it out, A Judge or not, It’s still a GTO. A Daytona and Superbird is still a Charger and Roadrunner with all the fancy cloths. The “NASCAR” ones are a different story.

    Like 2
  25. Mountainwoodie

    Slushbox. Oh wait, the replica Judge sticker in the right rear trunk lid is a half inch too low. End of story

  26. Comet

    So you believe at least the bumper horns (the forward extending part of the frame that supports the radiator bulkhead, bumper and the bumper/nose piece) are probably bent?…Good catch.

  27. C5 Corvette

    back in the 70’s, with my 1968 442, I slid on ice and hit a pole at about 30 mph. only damage was a right fender, 2 lights and bezel and bumper. My new wife had a scraped knee and I had hurt feelings!
    I feel bad for this guy, but I suspect this was a test drive gone very bad and the speed was somewhat more than 35. by the way the ebay ad lists the title as salvage.

    Like 1
  28. Del

    Is there frame damage ?

    I cannot see any one bidding over 10 grand for this ?

    I wonder if that guy Mr. Schill Biddung is involved ?

    No way Jose 😁

    Like 2
  29. Terry Bowman

    Lets not open up a whole can of worms, then most every product sold that’s not OEM, could be liable for law suits if used. It’s time to put a stop on this nonsense before its gets out of hand.

    Like 2
    • TimM

      It’s already out of hand!! Prisoners in jail suing for not having chunky peanut butter!!! These frivolous law suits should get charged for courts time!! If it’s a replacement part how much different can it be!! Can you tell the difference looking at them!! I can’t!!!

  30. Stilbo

    This thing reminds me that my ‘70 Ranchero 429 GT doesn’t have anti-lock brakes.

    Like 1
    • John Gus

      “… doesn’t have anti-lock brakes… yet.”
      FTFY

      Like 1
  31. Steve S

    I would have to put it back to original and unclone it. If it ain’t a real judge why misrepresent it by making it what it isn’t. It’s like turning a LeMans into a gto also they might look the same but they are 2 different cars. If someone is going to pay the extra money for a gto judge it should be a real gto judge not a fake gto judge that the same for the gto it should be real also not a LeMans turned into a gto.

    Like 1
  32. alb

    there is no way thats a 35mph impact 45-50 minimum theres gonna be some serious strightening out to do on that car bets thing could happen is to unjudge it back to original GTO and change the colour to the carousel red

  33. pixelpusher

    Test drive gone bad?

    Like 1
  34. v

    i say put the 62 vette front end on it from the other barn find. did u see the gto’s steering wheel… ouch

  35. Stevieg

    Unfortunately, it probably will reflect a “clean” title.
    Earlier this year, I was on one of my Harleys & got hit by a chick who was too busy texting to notice the stop sign she was running.
    The insurance company offered to me the opportunity to buy the bike back. It did NOT have frame damage, which was pretty surprising considering how damaged the sheet metal & forks were.
    The bike would have been returned to me with a clean title. I asked why, & the adjuster explained to me that with “motorbikes & vintage cars”, this is how they do it. It only gets a insurance claim title if it goes to the insurance company & gets auctioned off.
    I would represent it as having been in an accident if I ever sold it, but I have no idea if the next owner would have done the same. I (sadly) sent that one to the insurance auction.
    It was a beauty (before the accident) & with good frame and mechanicals, it could have been again. But it still had a tainted history & I needed to make sure any & all future owners knew it.
    Probably the same here, just with an owner who doesn’t care as much about future owners.

    Like 1
  36. Comet

    Stevieg,
    Thanks for your honesty. If more sellers were as forthcoming, I think our hobby would be much better off.

  37. Stevieg

    I appreciate the compliment but it was just the right thing to do. The fact is I am well known in the local Harley Davidson community, having been employed @ a couple Harley dealerships for many years (in Milwaukee, that is HUGE). So I don’t need to anger a big biker guy. I am a big guy too, but I am an enthusiast, not a biker. Big difference lol.
    It helps that I need to sleep at night. I just can’t screw someone over to make a buck. I hate when it happens to me, so I can’t do it to someone else.

    Like 2
  38. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Oct 25, 2019 , 1:42PM
    Winning bid:US $13,100.00
    [ 50 bids ]

  39. Wayne

    May be a ‘real’ GTO but regardless, the work involved to bring it back to just that in itself, a plain goat, the buyer at $13k+ will be taken for another ride. Many other restorable ones w/o this much damage for less as seen on here & chaos to the overall integrity of the car to deal with future, unseen glitches that will occur from an impact like this.Plus the surprise salvage title he’ll get back when he turns it in. I know Allstate didn’t care when I bought from them vs insurance CoPart auction. Only difference is I expected it so wasn’t a surprise.

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