1969 GTO & 1969 GTO Judge
Locked into a two-year styling cycle, the appearance of the 1969 GTO was very similar to the look of the 1968 GTO. The most obvious exterior differences were with the grille, the parking lights, the taillamps, and the front and rear marker lights. The vent windows, the Pontiac crest on top of the Endura bumper nose, the “GTO” tape letters on the rear quarter panels, and the famous 6.5 Litre GTO emblem were all dropped in 1969. Interior differences included a different dash and different door panels. The hide-away headlamps, the hood-mounted tachometer, and the Rally II wheels remained as available options. The Rally I wheels were dropped from the option list in 1969.
The available engines for the 1969 GTO were once again variations of the Pontiac 400. The base engine for the 1969 GTO was a four barrel carbureted 400 rated at 350 hp. The optional four barrel carbureted 400 HO and the 400 HO with Ram Air II were both dropped in favor of the new optional 400 cubic inch Ram Air III and 400 cubic inch Ram Air IV engines. The Ram Air III was rated at 366 hp. The Ram Air IV, which featured header-like exhaust manifolds, high-flow cylinder heads, a specific high-rise aluminum intake manifold, a larger Rochester Quadrajet four barrel carburetor, high-lift/long-duration cam, and other special internal parts was rated at 370 hp. The no-cost option two-barrel carbureted 400 (available only with an automatic transmission) was once again available for folks who wanted a GTO but not the added gasoline and insurance expenses that came with the higher performance engines.
With other American auto manufacturers producing inexpensive stripped-down muscle cars, Pontiac countered back with a very special GTO, the GTO Judge. John DeLorean chose “The Judge” name based on the “Here comes da Judge” routine from TV’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. The GTO Judge had a blacked-out grille, functional Ram Air hoodscoops, a rear-deck spoiler, stripes, and “The Judge” decals. The first 2,000 or so GTO Judges were all painted Carousel Red, which was more like an orange and was not available on any other Pontiac model. Later in the 1969 model year, the Judge option could be ordered with several other color combinations. Keeping the costs down, the Judge had a front bench seat instead of buckets, the Rally II wheels were without trim rings, and some of the GTO’s standard instrumentation were cost options.
The standard engine for The Judge was the 400 cubic inch Ram Air III while the 400 cubic inch Ram Air IV engine was an option.
1969 GTO Production Numbers:
6,725 Judge Hardtops
108 Judge Convertibles
Total Production: 72,287