1971 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible
By 1971, the end of crazy muscle car segment was in sight. Tightening government regulations regarding safety, environmental and insurance issues were killing the power of cars. This destroyed the market since power was the main selling point of muscle cars. But, by 1970 and 1971, the muscle car market was full. Never before or since has there been so many muscle car models on offer. The GTO Judge deserves a place on this list because it is one of the rarest muscle cars Detroit ever produced.
The Pontiac GTO was always a strong seller, but with so many competitors in the early 70’s, sales were down. Pontiac introduced their popular Judge version in 1969 and continued production for 1971. It featured a big block 455 V8 engine, crazy graphics and a big spoiler on the trunk, which was wild for the 1971 model year. Because they raised the displacement limit, intermediate cars from GM could have the biggest engines available. So, they gave the GTO a 455 big block V8 rated at 335 HP.
Although 335 HP is a modest number compared to the earlier GTOs, in 1971, Detroit moved from DIN to SAE horsepower ratings, which lowered the numbers. The Judge version was relatively expensive so it didn’t sell as well as before. The convertible had a base price of over $4,000, which was a lot of money back then. For this reason, Pontiac only produced 17 GTO Judge 455 convertibles that year, making it one of the rarest GTOs and muscle cars in automotive history.