What happens when you take one of the most distinctive muscle cars of its time and pull the lid back? Well, you should have a wildly popular car and a few truck loads of revenue. In the case of Pontiac and their 1971 GTO Judge convertible, that wasn''t quite the case. They managed to produce only 17 of the open air versions for the model year. While these cars obviously didn''t do much for the brand at the time, they are now the kind of cars that serious collectors dream of. This Laurentine Green 1971 GTO Judge convertible is not only one of those 17 - it''s the car that proved to Pontiac fans all over the world that these cars do indeed exist. Fully documented and restored by the best in the business, cars rarely get more investment grade than this.
According to the paperwork, here''s how the car was originally optioned:
WT1:The Judge package
M40:Turbo Hydramatic transmission
PK5:G70x14 white letter tires
U58:Stereo AM/FM radio
U57:Stereo 8-track tape player
D55: Center console
D35:Body color outside mirrors
N41:Variable ratio power steering
JL2:Power brakes – front discs
Y96:Ride & Handling package
W63: Rally gauge cluster w/ clock
For a long time, the 1971 GTO Judge convertible was as mythical as Bigfoot. There was a sighting in Hemmings Motor News sometime in the early 1980s, but that trail went cold pretty quickly. It wasn’t until this very car was discovered in the mid-1990s and restored by Pontiac expert and noted restorer Scott Tiemann at Supercar Specialties that Pontiac fans really started getting excited. If you’re familiar with Pontiac muscle, you know Scott Tiemann, the man who restored this car to its current concours condition. The two-stage Laurentian Green paint is deep and rich, and has been color sanded and buffed to an eye-popping shine. There’s no orange peel, no waviness, and no paint defects to be found anywhere. Panel gaps are even all around, and the doors open and close effortlessly.
By the early 70s, Pontiac had pretty much perfected its revolutionary performance car both mechanically and aesthetically. At the front of this goat’s body, an Endura bumper hangs mesh ‘kidney’ grilles and a pristine white “G T O” emblem between four chrome-seated headlights and clear parking lamps. Behind those grilles, a Formula-style hood incorporates Pontiac’s signature ‘twin nostrils’ in front of recessed windshield wipers and like-new glass that’s framed in excellent stainless trim. At the sides of those nostrils, expressive ‘coke bottle’ fenders are highlighted by dent-free rocker trim, bright “GTO” call-outs, traditional GM door handles and a correct color-matched mirror. And at the back of that rocker trim, a thick chrome bumper hangs segmented tail lights between a small Hurst emblem, a third “GTO” call-out and bright quad-outlet exhaust tips.
Standard power for all the Judge convertibles was the vaunted Pontiac 455 cubic inch High Output V8. Assisted by a Ram Air system, it churns out 335 horsepower and a mountainous 480 pounds of torque, all despite the drop in compression in anticipation of unleaded fuels. This is the original YE-block, and Scott Tiemann thoughtfully left the stamping pad unpainted to verify the numbers stamped thereon. The block is dressed in Pontiac Blue and topped with more correct items like "197" heads, an aluminum dual plane intake manifold, and a single Rochester Quadrajet carburetor. Even the hoses, wires, clamps, and hardware are accurate to the smallest detail. Correct inspection marks and indicators have been accurately replicated on the firewall and various engine parts, and as you can see in the photos, are still 100% visible today. Turn the key and the engine fires to life with ease, settling into a deceptively calm idle.
Underneath, there’s more impressive restoration work to admire. There’s no pitting on any of the hard parts and the floors are immaculate. Clearly done on a rotisserie, the chassis is highly detailed throughout, with correct components and inspection markings. In the center, the TH400 3-speed automatic was rebuilt at the time of restoration, and works exactly as it should. It feeds a correct 12-bolt rear packing 3.55 gears, which were standard with 455/automatic Judges. The exhaust system is an exact reproduction, and all the lines and hoses are better than new. The GTO was known as a car that could handle, so Pontiac did its best to back up that reputation. This car is equipped with the Ride & Handling package which offers stiffer springs and upgraded shocks as well as sway bars at both ends. That suspension is aided by power steering and power brakes that utilize disc brakes up front and drums out back. The wheel wells are filled by 14x7 honeycomb-style wheels wrapped in Firestone Wide Ovals to complete the look.
The interior is stuffed full of more amazing workmanship and accuracy. The black bucket seat interior is the correct color for this car, and the materials used are exact reproductions of the original weave. The seats have new covers and foam, the carpets are new, and the dash pad has been perfectly restored. The gauges were rebuilt when the car was restored and new wood grain appliqués were used. Even the sporty engine-turned panel surrounding the steering wheel was professionally restored to better-than-new condition. The optional 8-track player is functional and mounted to the console, while the stereo radio in the dash was restored. A matching black vinyl convertible top boot hides the top when it is folded for a clean look, and it is in fine condition. Under that deck lid and heavy wing is a clean trunk with a correct mat, matching spare, an ancient, unused Firestone Wide Oval spare, and a correct jack assembly.
Documentation includes a full PHS package, including a copy of the original invoice, window sticker and other related pieces. This car is a multiple award winner, having won Best of Show at the GTOAA Nationals and the Muscle Car Restorations and Performance magazine Award of Excellence, among others. Of course, any search for ''1971 Judge convertible" on the Internet will turn up dozens of additional places where this car has been noted and documented, making it one of the best known Pontiac muscle cars in the world. Showing up with this car in your trailer at virtually any show will be a very big deal and there are very few venues where it will not be welcomed and embraced.
Serious collections are built around rarity. When a genuine COPO Camaro turns up at auction, there is almost always a bidding war over who goes home with a celebrated piece of GM history. To put this car in perspective, there were roughly 11 1969 COPO Camaros produced for every 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible. Hens teeth? More like diamond studded pterodactyl teeth. Don’t miss your chance to put this goat in your collection and be the envy of Pontiac enthusiasts worldwide!