Best Muscle Cars

The Last Ram Air Judge With Its Original Owner

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Ram-Air-Judge image

By Dave Ashton

It’s always a wonder, what happens to the last models of a car when a line is discontinued. Sometimes they can be the best of the breed as a last hurrah or they can just disappear into obscurity. In this case, the story unfolds for the last of the 1971 Pontiac Judge Ram Air, one of the classics of the golden muscle car era.

The Judge model was introduced in 1969 as competition to Plymouth Road Runner. The initial package on the GTO had a Ram Air III engine, Rally II wheels, Hurst shifter, rear spoiler and Judge decals. 1971 was the Judges final year with a Mountain Performance package and a large, 455 HO engine. Only 357 were eventually sold to the public in its final year, 17 being convertibles, with final production finishing in February 1971. 1972 saw the last of the GTO models before the GTO entered its third generation and became all weird, like.

This story starts with a couple from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who in April 1971, went to order a prized Judge, but got their a month too late after production had ended. A quick call from the dealers to Pontiac, put in an order for Pontiac to produce one more in the special paint color of Orbit Orange, for the princely sum of $4,862.23. Unfortunately, the car arrived in white, so a quick respray in the dealers bodyshop, got the color they wanted and their dream car.

Ram-Air-Judge image

However, recent inspections of the car show the orange paint to be original, so the jury is still out as to the story of the white version and the added black grille….that’s car dealer for you……


After buying into a Chevy truck, the couple used the Judge as the family hauler, but like many big engined cars in the mid-70s, were affected by the fuel crisis, but the couple didn’t part with the car, like many did for a more fuel and cost-effective import. They knew it was a special car and had a good enough garage to store the thing long-term. The 455 CI LS5 V8 engine had the power, but the cost of running back then could have been an easy decision to swap. However, as time went by the car was put into storage, where it sat for a couple of decades before being revived.

After going through a restoration process, the car was shown to the public for the first time at the 2018 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, with further appearances at the 2019 Indian Uprising All Pontiac Weekend car show.

Ram-Air-Judge image

The car may not be as valuable as 1 of the 17, 1971 Judge convertibles which have gone at auction for $250,000+, but there’s still plenty here to make an interesting back story.

For those interested, the first known 1971 GTO Judge pilot car went up for auction in 2018, at Mecum and had an estimated value of $75,000-$100,000.

This story is fully documented over at thetransmission.com

 

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