On the list of all-time great muscle cars, there's a place for the Pontiac GTO, and it slides in near the very top.
After all, many consider the GTO to be the grandfather of all the muscle cars and for good reason. In 1964, Pontiac added a GTO package to the Tempest, which transformed the car into a 325-horsepower street beast. Fast forward a few years, and the second-generation GTO became its own model and also introduced us to the somewhat audacious version known as The Judge.
That second-generation GTO arrived for 1968, and a year later Pontiac introduced the world to the Ram Air-packing, Hurst-shifter having, spoiler-sporting machine called The Judge. The car got its name from a popular catchphrase that was coined on the show "Laugh-In." Pontiac used that Judge moniker to create plenty of commercial taglines, and survivors are now highly sought-after muscle cars for collectors.
One such collector is Wade Kawasaki. He is the president of Coker Tires and he's also Chairman of the Board of SEMA for 2017. His GTO Judge is from the 1970 model year, and it looks absolutely perfect with its bright red paintwork. He bought the car from a friend in Hawaii and performed a complete rotisserie restoration. Years in storage meant the interior needed very little work, and the body actually had surprisingly little rust despite Hawaii's salty sweet air. The end result of the restoration is a picture perfect car that Jay Leno gets to fawn over on this episode of Jay Leno's Garage.
Personally, I've always preferred the styling of the first-generation GTO but the Judge is a great vehicle from the late stages of the muscle car era. Watch this video and you'll learn a lot about the car's history and love hearing the sound of an almost 50-year old Pontiac V-8 packing 366 horsepower.