22. 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible 455
By 1971, the end of the muscle car segment was in sight. Tightening of government regulations regarding safety and environmental issues were killing the cars’ power. It was destroying the market since power was the main selling point of muscle cars. Also, the muscle car market was full by 1970 and 1971. Never before or since that time have there been so many models to offer. The GTO Judge is one of the rarest muscle cars Pontiac ever made. The Pontiac GTO was always a popular and strong seller, but with so many competitors in the early ’70s, sales were down. So they introduced the popular Judge in 1969 and continued it for 1971.
The Judge featured a big-block 455 V8 engine, wild graphics, and a big spoiler for the 1971 model year. Since the displacement limit was raised, intermediate cars from GM could have the biggest engines available. So they gave the GTO a 455-big block V8 they rated at 335 HP. That was a modest number compared to the earlier GTOs. In 1971, Detroit moved from DIN to SAE horsepower ratings, which lowered the numbers. Because the Judge version was relatively expensive, it didn’t sell as well as before. The convertible was $4,000 over the base price, a lot of money back then. As a result, they made only 17 GTO Judge 455 convertibles that year. And that made it one of the rarest GTOs and muscle cars they ever created.