You might have heard how the Judge package for the GTO was influenced by a skit on a popular TV show. But did you know that Pontiac’s signature color of the era was influenced by the nicotine-addicted? It’s true! Our Pick of the Day, a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge hardtop, combines those two features. It is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Click the link to view the listing)
“Here come the judge,” said Sammy Davis, Jr. on the TV show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in 1968. It became a catchphrase across America, though it had originated from a 1940s skit by comedian Pigmeat Markham (who would record a song of the same name in 1968). Davis’ bit inspired John DeLorean to give a Pontiac that name so that people would see it and say, “Here comes the Judge!” To these GenX eyes, it seems akin to naming a car “Where’s the beef?!” but I digress.
The Judge originated as concept for a Road Runner-fighter called “ET” (for elapsed time), but the 350-powered Tempest offended DeLorean’s sensibilities, saying it was a 400cid world and instead pushed for a deluxe GTO that ended up being the Judge. The Judge package debuted in January 1969.
And the thing with nicotine? Folklore spins a story that a Pontiac executive was at a party, and his wife spotted a pretty green ashtray and suggested Pontiac should build a car in that color. The olive-y hue was the right color at the right time, as greens were zooming in popularity towards the end of the 1960s. First offered for the 1967 Firebird, it eventually was made a regular-production color across the board from 1968-70. Its popularity was such that it became Pontiac’s signature color of the era.
Combine the two and you have a very interesting Pontiac, a car quite of the moment. Judges painted in Verdoro Green were assigned yellow/green/white stripes. Of course, standard equipment included the Ram Air III engine paired with a three-speed manual, tri-color stripes, front and rear spoiler, black painted scoop boots, and Rally II wheels without trim rings. Most popular was the M20 wide-ratio four-speed, but if you opted for 3.90 gears or better, Pontiac installed the M21 close-ratio four-speed, which adds to the desirability of this one. Other options include vinyl top, hood tachometer, limited-slip rear, pushbutton AM radio, power steering, remote side mirror, console, heavy-duty radiator, and a few more items. Sold new in Southgate, Michigan, this Judge had a suggested retail price of $4325.95.
Today, the asking price is much higher — such is the world of supply and demand. But, for $99,950, you can hold court on your own terms.