Page 1 of 1 First offered as a performance version of the Pontiac Le Mans in 1964, the GTO quickly became a separate model. The model was immediate hit and the 1965 model was named 'Motor Trend Car of the Year'. Over the next few years, the GTO was further developed to keep up with the 'muscle car race' in North America. The changes included a larger engine and revised fastback type bodystyle. It appeared in various TV shows and commercials, most notably the 'Monkee's Show'.
For the 1969 model year, two new engines were introduced, the Ram-Air III and IV, producing 365 and 370 bhp respectively. The main difference between the two, was the use of a Carter or Rochester Carburetor. Also added to the line-up was the 'Judge' model, named after the 'Here come da' Judge' expression from the 'Laugh-in' TV-show. The package included a striking set of decals and the easily recognizable 'Caroussel Red' orange paint.
Pictured is a perfect example of a Ram-Air III GTO, equipped with the Judge package. It is equipped with a long list of extras, which added $ 1.327 to the $ 3.156 base price. The $ 337 Judge package included the Ram-Air III engine, special Rally wheels, ride & handling package, Ram-Air intake, blacked out grill, air foil and decal package. Another interesting extra, is the hood-mounted tachometer. It's seen here at the 2004 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance.
In retrospect 1969 proved to be the last great year for muscle cars, with new emission regulations and high fuel prices effectively killing them off in the early 1970s. Sales numbers quickly fell and by 1972, the GTO was again just an option for the Le Mans model. Production of the legendary model ceased in 1974. Pontiac returned to the 'GTO' badge for an all-new performance model, which hit the markets in the summer of 2004. Page 1 of 1