Tag Archives: 1970

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible

The story of the genesis of the Pontiac GTO is well known, and several of the players went on to become quite famous in their own right. The brainchild of Russell Gee, an engine specialist, Bill Collins, a chassis engineer, and Chief Engineer John Z. DeLorean, they basically figured out a way to keep a performance image for Pontiac despite the GM ban on factory supported racing. All the pieces were there – a great 389 V8 from the full-sized Catalina, a sporty Tempest platform, and permission from Pete Estes to proceed on a limited basis. Even the name screamed performance, a moniker boldly chosen by DeLorean himself. His team skirted the GM powertrain directives by making the GTO package merely an option for the Tempest, and the results speak for themselves. By 1966, Pontiac sold 96,946 GTOs, and Pontiac ruled the new muscle car segment.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible1

1968 saw a major redesign of the A body platform, creating a more fastback profile and featuring the first of the unique Endura bumpers. With sales success by all of the GM divisions with muscle cars in ’68, Pontiac first began to plan a budget GTO muscle car for 1969. Fortunately for us, those plans changed to create “The Judge” as a full on street rocket. The name was inspired by the huge popularity of Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In” television show, and the “Here comes the Judge” skit popularized by the popular song and dance entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. The Judge became the ultimate powerful street machine that fueled the new performance image for Pontiac. Jim Wanger’s innovative marketing appealed to a hip, young audience, and the GTO Judge was the king of the street and the strip.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible2

In 1970, the styling of the Judge was cutting edge, with four rounded headlamps horizontally inset into the Endura bumper without bezels. Of the 40,149 GTO’s sold, 3,197 were Judge models, and just 168 of those were convertibles. The options list for The Judge continued to grow, but for 1970, rear anti-roll bars and variable ratio power steering became standard equipment. For the 1970 production year, the Ram Air III, 400 ci engines were the largest available, and with 366 bhp, the ’70 Ram Air III cars were every bit as fast as the 1971 455 ci powered cars. Today, the ’69 and ’70 Judges are far more desirable to collectors, due to GM’s lowering of the compression ratios on all their cars in 1971 in preparation for the unleaded fuels mandated in the US.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible engine

In many ways, the 1970 GTO Judge represents the last of the true muscle car era, while incorporating some of the luxury features that the buying public was obviously demanding. Soon, emission controls and the oil embargos would limit the demand for true performance cars, and as insurance companies began to surcharge the owners of performance cars, buyer demand shifted from brute power to a more luxurious style of vehicle. As quickly as it arrived, the muscle car era was on its way out.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible interior

GTOs are fast, powerful, and fun. In particular, the 4-speed convertible Judge models lead the way in value appreciation among all muscle cars. Their wild paint schemes and aggressive styling represent the best of the era, and owning a great Judge convertible should be on every car guy’s bucket list.

 

1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Conceived, engineered, and built for one purpose – to help Ford regain its early dominance in the wildly popular SCCA Trans-Am racing series – the 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 remains one of the finest and most collectible products to arise from Ford’s “Total Performance” era of the ’60s and ‘70s. It is also one of the most satisfying Mustangs to drive, with balanced driving dynamics and excellent handling to match its high-winding 302 cubic-inch V-8 engine.

American Modern 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - 4

    Specs:

      • 302 cid V-8 engine
      • 290 HP
      • Toploader 4-speed manual transmission
      • independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms
      • coil springs and anti-roll bar
      • live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs
      • front disc/rear drum hydraulic brakes
      • 108″ wheelbase

 

With Ford struggling to make the Tunnel Port 302 racing engine work properly and the Roger Penske/Mark Donohue Chevy Camaro Z/28 juggernaut taking the Trans-Am title in 1968, the Ford camp acutely understood that something new was clearly required for success in 1969. The Mustang was faltering on the showroom floor to boot, with Chevy’s new highly engineered Z/28 Camaro package quickly gaining the favor of streetwise buyers.

American Modern 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - 3

Ford’s two-pronged counterattack was based on a new Mustang variant designed to homologate an all-new engine design for Trans-Am competition combining a high-strength 302 engine block and internals with the big port, canted-valve cylinder heads from the new 335-series “Cleveland” V-8. A hot solid-lifter camshaft, large four-barrel carburetor, stout Toploader four-speed transmission, and other excellent goodies from Ford’s parts bin rounded out the new Boss 302 package.

 

Suspension development was largely ignored until former key GM executive “Bunkie” Knudsen and former GM designer Larry Shinoda, of Corvette Stingray fame, stepped in. Acutely aware of the relentless development that made Chevy’s Z/28 classic car so successful on both the street and racetrack, they championed comprehensive suspension and aerodynamic tweaks to create the best-handling American car available. Shinoda also eliminated a number of tacky add-ons proposed for the new Mustang, replacing them with a simple flat-black hood, side stripes, spoilers, and optional rear-window louvers. He also contributed the car’s “Boss” moniker – meaning “the best” – in tribute to Knudsen, who was known simply as “the Boss”.

American Modern 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - 2

Track-bound Boss 302s were built at Kar Kraft in Brighton, Michigan, and campaigned by teams fielded by Bud Moore and Shelby. While the Trans-Am championship proved elusive for 1969, success was finally achieved in 1970. Unlike many racing homologation specials, the Boss 302 was profitable for Ford and according to experts, a little over 7,600 examples were built in total for 1969 and 1970.

American Modern 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - 1

Freshly repainted in Calypso Coral, the quality of the restoration on this Boss is outstanding.  The floor pans are painted the correct red oxide primer and all the factory inspection marks have been painstakingly duplicated.  The details under the hood are simply outstanding, with the clean 302 V-8 and 4-speed manual transmission, traction-lok differential and 3.91 axle making for a smooth performing classic. Today, all surviving Boss 302s are highly coveted, valuable, and thrilling in every respect.