Home Travel Stories Destinations OOCC CORVETTE TRIP Part 3 Madison, WI Car Show plus 1971 GTO Judge convertible info
OOCC CORVETTE TRIP Part 3 Madison, WI Car Show plus 1971 GTO Judge convertible info PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Thursday, 12 January 2012 18:44

One Owner Collector Car- CORVETTE TRIP Part 3 Madison, Wisconsin Car Show plus 1971 GTO Judge convertible info

oneownercollectorcar.com

Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown with additional information provided courtesy of LtCol Johan Hansson regarding the export 1971 Pontiac Judge convertible.

---------DAY 15 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Milwaukee, Madison, WI

Marie and I headed east out of Milwaukee city limits to check out the Madison, Wisconsin car show. Marie was the one who had discovered this show through some online searching. We took Tom's van and corralled the kids into the back. The highway cuts east through sparsely populated scenery and mercifully light traffic.

The Madison car show contains a mix of vehicles from The Big Three plus AMC with some foreign cars thrown in, too. Walking up to the edge of the field a 1971 Pontiac GTO convertible sat alone. Owner Tim Yamriska wasn't around. I wondered if the base car used was a real GTO or a LeMans. The car was definitely a Judge clone, since the one real Lucerne Blue GTO Judge convertible made in 1971 has been accounted for. To see a story on the original car go to the ONE OWNER section of the CAR STORIES section of this website.

oocc-gto-nats-madison-show-71-gto

The Pontiac GTO suffered a drastic reduction in sales for 1971. With the GTO's Judge production hovering around 10% of total GTO production, there wouldn't have been very many built if the option had been offered for the full year. However, a two month strike halted GM production right at the beginning of the model year. Before many cars could be built following the strike, the Judge option was cancelled February 11, 1971. Rarest of the handful of Judges built are the convertibles with only 17 built.

Rarity combined with a very desirable body style and one of Pontiac's best engines, the "round port" 455 H.O. has escalated the price of these cars to Mopar levels. Duplicating the look and power of this car by building a clone is probably the only way most people can get close to the feel of driving one of these cars. The true experience of driving one of these scarce cars for real now includes the cold sweat knowledge that the car is worth a fortune, so the clone may be the funnest route to take! Tim noted on his info card that his clone has an overdrive transmission.

The trickiest part of cloning a Judge convertible is recreating the 455 HO. This monster engine was still potent even in the post high compression days of 1971. Most clones replicate the look but often make do with a 400 or regular head 'D port' 455 under hood.

With today's advanced engine technology it's easy to come up with a tough power plant that will replicate or even outpower the original. You can experience the same performance level without resorting to searching out the rare casting numbers. Obviously if you want the exact experience of a 455 H.O. you need the exact original parts because two engines making 400 HP can have vastly different temperaments. Each element of an engine contributes to its final personality.

Of the 17 genuine 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge convertibles, some are known and documented.

The book ORIGINAL PONTIAC GTO has a breakdown of the color combos in the appendix. Steven Hoog's webpage lists all known information and photos. His website is titled THE '17' 1971 PONTIAC JUDGE CONVERTIBLES. Colin Comer's book MILLION DOLLAR MUSCLE CARS dedicates a chapter to a discussion of these cars. The 1969-1971 JUDGE REGISTRY website lists detailed information about the cars. LEGENDARY and RM Auction websites have photos posted from prior sales. Below is a picture of the only Lucernr Blue 1971 Judge convertible ever built. It's too nice to drive now since restoration. It would be nice to have the original car plus Tim Yamriska's clone as a back up car to flog on the roads.

71 gto judge conv lucerne front

1) Only one LUCERNE BLUE 1971 Judge convertible was built. It has a blue interior and white top. Read about this one owner collector car in the ONE OWNER section of this website. This Judge is also mentioned in the GTO NATIONALS chapter of this road trip story. The owner prefers to maintain privacy, so although I have seen his VIN and dealership documentation that specific information has been kept off this website. The car was shipped after Dec 11, 1970. The owner took delivery on Jan 5, 1971 once dealer prep was completed.

2) The QUEZAL GOLD car with black top and interior is VIN 242671P121426. PHS documents show that it was shipped out to Talamico Pontiac Inc., 63 Elm Street, Milford, New Hampshire on Feb 5, 1971 which places it close to the Feb 11, 1971 cancellation date of the Judge option. The first owner apparently painted it light blue after taking delivery. Second owner Gary Daniels of Tulsa, Oklahoma sold it to Milt Robson in Georgia. The Judge is one of only three produced 4 speeds, and is also loaded with almost every possible option. Aside from the Judge option it has power steering, power brakes, A/C, Rally IIs, Firestone Wide Ovals, Hurst T shifter in console, power driver's bucket seat, power windows and power locks. Milt sold the car in 2010 for $286,000.00 (including the auction house commission fee) at a big RM auction of his estate. He did keep some cars, but the cars he disposed of were just incredible.

3) Three CAMEO WHITE, white top and interior Judge convertibles were built, two are accounted for. The book MILLION DOLLAR MUSCLE CARS has a few pictures of one of them. VIN number 242671P131352 was shipped out Feb 27, 1971, which is the only PHS documented car shipped out after the option was cancelled. The triple white car (it even had white seatbelts!) went to car dealership 313-318, Miller Pontiac Co., 4200 Main St, Kansas City, MO. See the story of Miller Pontiac filed under MISSOURI in the DEALERSHIP section of this website. It was ordered for the wife of one of the dealers at Miller Pontiac. (Miller also took delivery of one of the Tropical Lime Judge convertibles) The triple White car had A/C, automatic, power windows, power door locks, console, Honeycomb wheels, Formula steering wheel, hood tachometer and electric seatback. A solenoid triggers when the door is open and releases the seat back lock. It also has rear headphone jacks for the AM/FM stereo. The Oct, 1998 issue of HIGH PERFORMANCE PONTIAC profiled the early history of the car. A friend of Dr. Mike Green discovered it in 1988 parked in Ventura, California. It was rusty with 58,000 miles on the odometer. Mike Green bought it and drove it for two years before embarking on a full restoration. The car had been in an accident and a poor repair job required frame work. It was also owned by Bill Wiemann in Arizona. Bill is famous for his Hemi Mopar collection.

4) The second accounted for CAMEO WHITE, white top, white interior Judge was located in Levittown, PA. It was advertised for sale by the first owner, Dr. Tom Lane, a surgeon who had only driven it on sunny days. The pleasure use vehicle had never been raced or abused. The automatic car was so pristine that when Dr. Lane advertised it for sale in 1977, he proclaimed that it had 'never been dirty'. It showed only 8,800 miles. Roger Norris bought it and it remains in his family.

5) The CANYON COPPER car with Sienna and Sandalwood is VIN 242671P110916. Shipped Jan 4, 1971 to car dealership number 305 563, C. Gerald Wood Pontiac, 1 Mill Street, Sodus, New York. See the story on Wood in the DEALERSHIP section of this website. Currently owned by Ron Johnson, who is piecing it back together.

6) The CASTILLIAN BRONZE car with Sienna and Sandalwood is VIN 242671P110366. Shipped Dec 29, 1970 to car dealership code 315 573, Miller Pontiac- GMC Inc., 1214 St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, Minnesota. It is currently owned by Tom Stutzman. See a history of Miller Pontiac filed in the DEALERSHIPS section under MINNESOTA.

7) Two TROPICAL LIME cars were built. The one with black top and interior is VIN 242671P110472. Shipped Jan 8, 1971 to car dealership 316 659, Frank Woods, Inc. 516- 22 S. Tyson, Charlotte, NC. See the story of Frank Woods in the DEALERSHIPS section of this website. The Judge was sold by Dan McKinnon of Virginia. Legendary sold it and posted many great photos of this car which are still online for viewing.

8) Another TROPICAL LIME car also has a black top, but a white interior. VIN 242671P101929 was shipped Sep 20, 1970 to car dealership code 313-318, Miller Pontiac Co. 4200 Main St, Kansas City, MO. This one is an automatic with A/C. (Miller also took delivery of one of the Cameo White Judge convertibles). See the story of Miller Pontiac filed under MISSOURI in the DEALERSHIP section of this website. The Tropical Lime GTO was in Kansas for 20 years and photos of it currently show a pretty thrashed looking car. Now owned by Alan Reed. The JUDGE REGISTRY lists this VIN as a NORDIC SILVER car.

9) A special paint CAMARO RALLY GREEN car from Florida is currently owned by Mike Green in California. The paint scheme was apparently ordered by a Florida car dealer trying to color match the State symbol. White/ Ivory combo.

10) Two known LAURENTIAN GREEN cars were produced. VIN 242671P110372 has a black top and interior and was Shipped Jan 8, 1971 to car dealership number 303 083 E. E. Brumbaugh Inc, 114 E Baltimore Ave, Landsdowne, PA. See the story of Brumbaugh in the DEALERSHIP section of this website. The three speed automatic Judge was owned by Steve and Noreen Brown and was sold by Legendary following a restoration by Scott Tiemann. In Dec, 2013 it was sold at the RKM Collector Car Auction at the Charlotte Convention Centre for $232,500.00.

11) The second LAURENTIAN GREEN car has a white interior, white top and likely shipped in Feb, 1971 (this date is handwritten on an early photo of the car). Current owner Mike Green bought it from Colorado. Mike Green previously owned and restored one of the Cameo White Judges and owned the Florida Camaro Green Judge, too.

12) Two CARDINAL RED cars are accounted for. VIN 242671P104128 has a white top and black interior according to the window sticker, but a period photo shows black top. This automatic car was sold through the car dealership McMullen Pontiac Ltd in Pontiac, Michigan. See the story on McMullen in the DEALERSHIP section of this website. Prior to 1976 this red Judge already had a new top (changed to black) when purchased by the fourth owners Tom and Mary Frank of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. In 1991 with less than 80,000 miles on the car it was sold to Steve Ames.

13) VIN 242671P106957 is one of three built 1971 Judge convertible 4 speeds. It is CARDINAL RED with black top and interior. The Judge was shipped Dec 14, 1970 to Sea Crest Cadillac Pontiac, Lynn Massachusetts. To read a story about Sea Crest, look up MASSACHUSETTS in the DEALERSHIP section of this site. This Judge was registered in Sweden March 19, 1974. The Swedish car dealership owner drove it for a summer before selling it to Bengt Alm who drag raced it. To better his times, Bengt switched out the 4 speed for an automatic. It later became a tow car for a race car. After a few years it was sold to a new owner, Roine who painted flames on it and blew a rod through the block. LtCol Johan Hansson was friends with this owner, Roine and remembers the night the rod went through the block. Johan lent Roine his Chevrolet BB 402 engine for use in the Pontiac after the incident. He recalls that the rod was thrown in summer 1981 or 1982. Roine rebuilt the Judge engine after the thrown rod. The next owner sold it to Gary Cave. It finally found its way to famous collector Kevin Suydam.

Four cars have never surfaced in the collector car community: the third CAMEO WHITE (14) car is unknown. It is automatic with black top and interior. An AZTEC GOLD (15) car with Sienna top and Sandalwood interior, auto is also unknown.

Two of the seventeen are also unknown but rumored to have been written off. The second AZTEC GOLD (16) car was a 4 speed (of only three built) with Ivory top and white interior and was supposedly totaled soon after purchase. The STARLIGHT BLACK (17) with Sienna and white car is rumored to have burnt in a fire in the 1980s.

The eight cars with published PHS documents are listed below in order of shipping date:

SEPTEMBER, 1970

1) Tropical Lime (Judge registry says Nordic Silver) VIN 242671P101929 Shipped Sep 20, 1970

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There is a gap in production caused by the GM strike that lasted from Sep 15 to Nov 20, 1970.

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DECEMBER, 1970

2) Cardinal Red VIN 242671P106957. Shipped Dec 14, 1970
3) Castillian Bronze VIN 242671P110366. Shipped Dec 29, 1970

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JANUARY, 1971

4) Canyon Copper VIN 242671P110916. Shipped Jan 4, 1971
5) Laurentian Green VIN 242671P110372. Shipped Jan 8, 1971
6) Tropical Lime VIN 242671P110472. Shipped Jan 8, 1971

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FEBRUARY, 1971

7) Quezal Gold VIN 242671P121426. Shipped Feb 5, 1971
8) Cameo White VIN 242671P131352 Shipped Feb 27, 1971

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The photo below is from the GTO NATIONALS co vention in Dayton of the Quezal Gold car shipped Feb 5, 1971. At the time it was owned by Milt Robson.

71 gto judge conv quezel gold milt robson

The Judge option was cancelled Feb 11, 1971. The factory rejected any Judge orders placed from Feb 15, 1971 onward. The Judge was the last high profile collectible car offered on the GTO line.

There is some collector interest in the two GTO option packages released in 1972 called the WW4 and the WW5. WW4 applied a performance package of wheels and suspension etc to a 400 cubic inch equipped GTO while the fabulous WW5 option did the same for a GTO packing the optional 455 H.O. engine. The lack of a strong public image for this option kept it almost a secret when it was released. The Judge combined a name and visual look with a high standard level of performance to create a well known package but the WW5 actually took the GTO to it's ultimate incarnation albeit without any external identification.

Despite the fact that the WW5 is pretty much the ultimate GTO for 1972 it was not a high profile package the way the Judge was. It's a shame because the WW5 option loaded your GTO with all the right stuff: 15 inch wheels with handling package and Safe- T- track, 455 H.O., Ram Air, Formula steering wheel, power steering and brakes with front discs, gauge package, and dual sport mirrors. HI PERFORMANCE CARS loved their test car with this set up. Today there is a small dedicated following. 290 were built, but there were no convertibles or exterior identification. It will never achieve super high end collectible status the way the final highly visible Judge has but it sure provides a driving thrill.

Back to the car show. Beside the Judge clone sat a black mid 1960s Corvette Stingray. After all these years the Stingrays still look modern and exciting. Marie who is not a car person liked this car and so did her kids. The kids didn't perk up again during the show until they saw a custom hearse with Halloween monsters inside it.

The next car I encountered was Chuck Richardson's extremely rare Pontiac Bonneville. The Bonneville was first introduced by Pontiac in 1957 as a special high end convertible model in the full size Star Chief lineup. The Bonneville came standard with every existing option except A/C and continental kit. The Bonneville standard equipment includes automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, radio, power antenna, power convertible top, power 8 way seat, real leather interior.

This was a high end prestigious expensive car. Only 630 of these cars were built with 1 car likely allocated to each major Pontiac dealership.

The year prior Plymouth had introduced a special model named Fury and Pontiac may have decided to take that idea and run with it all the way to the ultimate conclusion with the Bonneville.

Bonneville was named for the Bonneville Salt Flats where land speed racing occurs every year. Pontiac named their cars during the 1950s and 1960s to tie into racing events such as LeMans, Grand Prix etc.

After the Bonneville made an impression with the high impact 1957 version it became a less expensive model for 1958 by relegating the standard equipment to the option list. It remained the leader of the Pontiac lineup for decades to come.

The 1957 Pontiac Bonneville had fuel injection on its 347 cubic inch engine. 'Fuelies' were rare cars back in the 1950s and still considered quite exotic even during the 1960s. Although the Bonneville is a big car (124 inch wheelbase) and was heavy at 4,285 pounds the relatively small engine pumped out an impressive 310 HP making this the quickest Pontiac built to date.

Because they were intended to be a high impact car they were all painted Kenya Ivory (white in normal language!) with either a red or blue side spear and corresponding interior trim. The Plymouth Fury from the prior year also used this approach of painting all the cars Sandstone with a gold spear across the body. A dozen years later Pontiac would release the first batch of GTO Judges all painted Carousel Red to achieve the same strong impression upon release.

Chuck bought his Bonneville through his father Glenn's dealership Richardson Spring Green which was in Spring Green, Wisconsin. On Christmas eve, 1962 a customer traded in the 1957 Bonneville because the finicky fuel injection made the car tricky to use as a regular commuter vehicle.

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 March 2017 13:43 )