Monday, March 16, 2015
Musclecar Monday - 1970 GTO Judge
The GTO was the brainchild of Pontiac engineer Russell Gee, an engine specialist; Bill Collins, a chassis engineer; and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean. In early 1963, General Motors' management issued an edict banning divisions from involvement in auto racing. This followed the 1957 voluntary ban on automobile racing that was instituted by the Automobile Manufacturers Association. By the early 1960s, Pontiac's advertising and marketing approach was heavily based on performance, and racing was an important component of that strategy. With GM's ban on factory-sponsored racing, Pontiac's young, visionary management turned its attention to emphasizing street performance.
A new option was Pontiac's 455 HO engine (different from the round-port offerings of the 1971–72 cars), available now that GM had rescinded its earlier ban on intermediates with engines larger than 400. A functional Ram Air scoop was available. Car and Driver tested a heavily optioned 455, with a four-speed transmission and 3.31 axle and recorded a quarter mile time of 15.0 seconds with a trap speed of 96.5 mph.
An Orbit orange 1970 GTO with the 455 engine and Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission was one of the featured cars in the movie Two-Lane Blacktop, which depicted an unlikely cross-country race between a new GTO and a quintessential hotrodded, grey primer-painted, 1955 Chevrolet drag car with a dual quad tunnel ram "454" engine and a four-speed manual. The GTO, owned by the studio, was not depicted as a Judge; however, in reality it was a RAIV powered Judge. They mentioned the "455" engine as it projected a more powerful offering to the public.