For many Pontiac and performance fans in general, the 1969-71 GTO Judge represents a high-water mark for the entire muscle car era. It had all of the elements for such lofty reverence: a powerful engine lineup, spectacular styling, colorful paint options, wild graphics and the required scoops and spoilers needed to project the image of speed and the youthful exuberance that defined the era. This 1970 Pontiac Ram Air IV GTO Judge Convertible from The Chuck Cocoma Judge & GTO Ram Air IV Collection headed to Mecum’s flagship Kissimmee event this January is among the rarest of the breed, with its pairing of the Ram Air IV engine and automatic transmission making it just one of seven of its kind built that year.
With the easing of GM corporate mandates for the 1970 model year, the largest-displacement engines from each division were now eligible for installation in the A-body platform. This meant the new, high-compression 455 rated at 360 HP was made available to the GTO and Judge powertrain lineup as an option. It was a particularly good choice for heavily optioned cars with air conditioning, as it developed a whopping 500 lb-ft of torque. It complemented the Ram Air III and Ram Air IV powerplants, which returned to the lineup in 1970, essentially unchanged aside from some revised casting numbers. Pontiac produced a total of 40,149 GTOs in 1970, of which 3,797 were Judges and 168 were Judge convertibles, and of those Judge convertibles, 17 were Ram Air IV-powered and only seven were built with the Ram Air IV and automatic transmission.
This particular Orbit Orange 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible from The Chuck Cocoma Judge & Ram Air IV GTO collection is one of those seven Ram Air IV automatic cars, and it has had an interesting life. Starting out as a factory exhibition car used for show duty that year, it was later invoiced to the Milwaukee zone office and sold through Don Nichols Inc. of Walworth, Wisconsin. In addition to the aforementioned powertrain, the Judge convertible was also factory-equipped with power steering and power front disc brakes, a Formula steering wheel, an AM/FM radio, stereo 8-track tape player, console, custom seat belts, a Soft Ray tinted windshield, a hood tachometer and Rally II wheels mounting Firestone Wide Oval white-letter tires.
This particular Ram Air IV Judge convertible has been treated to an extensive body-off-frame restoration and has received a treasure trove of awards, with wins at the Meadow Brook Concours in 1998, Ault Park in 2000, Cranbrook in 2004, the Milwaukee Masterpiece in 2009, as well as a POCI Junior Gold in 1999 and a Senior Gold in 2000.
This 1970 Ram Air IV Judge convertible is an incredibly desirable example of the breed, with the most desirable engine in the most desirable body style of a special-edition model in the most desirable color combination offered for that one year. Add to that its history as a factory exhibition vehicle and its impressive number of awards and it becomes one of the rarest and most sought-after examples of the breed to ever come to market. Its availability at Mecum’s Kissimmee 2023 auction marks a unique opportunity for a new owner to make it the crown jewel of their high-end muscle car or Pontiac collection.
This vehicle will be offered at MECUM Auctions annual Kissimmee Florida, The World’s Largest Collector Car Auction®, along with almost 4,000 cars and thousands of Road Art items. Taking place January 4-15, 2023. View more cars and register to bid online at https://drive.mecum.com/