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Money No Object: 1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” With An LS3/5-Speed Swap

Money No Object: 1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” With An LS3/5-Speed Swap

Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In went off the air in 1973. So, to be quite fair, you will have to get a history lesson together for anybody under the age of 40 if you really want to explain the origins of why a kitted-up GTO wearing bright colors and packing a hammer under the hood got the name “The Judge”. What was a hip catchphrase on a popular comedy show quickly morphed into something that had all of the cheerful humor of seeing Judge Issac Charles Parker preparing to take his seat in court while you’re the one defending your honor. Pontiac’s GTO has held the credit for kicking off the first horsepower war, and even with the full compliment of competition available in 1969, it was still something to fear. Don’t mind the bright stripes or the catchy looks, a Judge was built to kick ass, take names and look the part through and through.

For most people, a Judge should be painted Carousel Red (read: orange), should be numbers matching, and should be cared for like Waterford crystal in your grandmother’s house. It isn’t like I’ve ever bought into that kind of thought. But I can appreciate the difference between the street beater I’d rock daily without a care, and what I call a sunny-day driver. That’s what this GTO is to me. I love the green instead of the orange. I love the hideaway headlights, and while normally I can’t stand them, I don’t mind the chromed Torq-Thrust style wheels on this car. I don’t even mind the restomod treatment that has seen the Ram Air IV Pontiac mill that should be under the hood replaced with an LS3, or that there’s an extra forward gear on the cue ball on the shifter. If it’s meant to be driven, I see these as upgrades. In fact, there’s only one true fault with this car: the underhood appearance. How do you build such a beauty of a Judge, yet leave the engine looking like it just got yanked out of a Caprice PPV that got rear-ended?

Mecum Auctions’ Glendale 2021: Lot S57 – 1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge”

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7 thoughts on “Money No Object: 1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” With An LS3/5-Speed Swap

  1. Danno

    I’m no Pontiac fan boy but on their behalf I just have to say BOO for going the cheap and easy way and putting an LS in this classic car.

  2. Curtis

    Even though they are great engines I’d ditch that LS and install an aftermarket Pontiac aluminum block and aluminum heads. Go with an under 500 cube engine and a mild roller cam that would keep the drivability up but still make 500 plus hp, install fuel injection and this thing would be perfect.

  3. OKSNAKE08

    Thankfully the LS has been invented so all other engines can be scrapped and destroyed and LS motors can be put in every vehicle from Ferrari to Yugo and every project vehicle built from now til the end of time. Too bad a Pontiac from the pre “corporate”engine times was backward defiled with a Chevy motor. It could have been a great project but , you know, LS.

  4. Patrick

    We had a 68 GTO 400, 4 speed, 411 gears new. Take it any day over this one. Not even done nicely, crappy execution.

  5. Glen A Hayes

    Another great car defiled by throwing an LS into it. Not only that, throwing a GM corporate generic junkyard lump into a real Judge just crashed its value. It’s the guys car and he can do what ever he wants with it but dont expect people to appreciate what you have. What’s next replace the Hemi with an LS in your 69 Roadrunner?

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