Here Come Da Judge: A Line From “Laugh-In” But This One Is No Joke


'71 GTO Judge ConvertibleIt was a corny line we used to hear on Laugh-In, a network TV program that played sometime before cable. When the Judges hit the streets, leading into the 70s, they were a laugh riot.

GTO Judge InteriorThe designers at Pontiac had no way of knowing when they were dreaming up this concept, that the first Arab embargo was on it’s way and the performance car market would be taking a big hit. Sales would take a nose dive but this would also relegate the GTO Judge to modern day icon status. Hence this shining example found on eBay.

But back in the day, they roamed the streets freely. We were pumping gas during the first Arab Embargo of ’73, when a thirsty one came through the line. A Pink Floyd 8 track was blaring out of the under-dash player. Gas was being rationed to even-and-odd license plates, every other day.

eBay GTO5

That Ram Air is genuine!

People were pumping gas left and right, as fast as they could, and the cars were lined down the block. Everyone’s pockets were stuffed with cash (yes, there was a time before credit cards) and we were making few trips to the till. However, when The Judge rolled into the scene, all that came to a halt.

Checking the oil in the gas line meant the impatient ones would have to wait. When the hood was popped up, a number of us stood back in awe as we beheld the sight of that beautiful, RA III mill. And you can be sure, that cold air induction sealed to those hood scoops and that Ram Air worked.

When these Goats rolled up, they were sometimes hit up for a race, and sometimes money wasn’t really the object. It was about bragging rights, about who had the fastest car in town.

We can tell you from experience, however, the early GTOs were fast. This Laurentian Green, ’71 GTO Judge Convertible we’re talking about here is fast, but it hasn’t seen too many trips as the odometer is only reading barely over 400 miles. And get this – only 17 of these jewels were ever made.

We won’t get too heavy into the description, as that is adequately covered over at eBay. We will just say that the bidding hit close to $250K in an earlier posting! How much are you willing to pay?

This would kind of signify the end of the first muscle car era. Unleaded gas was on its way, and compression ratios were plummeting. But the big 455 churned out a monstrous 480 ft/lbs of torque with a factory rated 335 hp.

Those of us who were in the know could easily bump up those numbers with a little breathing over that engine. What did we do? Well – that’s another story. We can’t let all our secrets out just yet. After all, our next competition might be right around the corner.

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