Battle of the GTO’s – 1964 Pontiac GTO vs 1969 GTO “Judge”

The 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang might have ushered in the “pony car” era of the 1960s, but when it came to genuine muscle, no other vehicle heralded the genesis of the classic muscle car like the 1964 Pontiac GTO. Here’s a comparison between two vehicles that are likely to be a part of the 2015 Hot Rod Power Tour, the original “Goat” and one of its most recognized successors the 1969 GTO “Judge.”

1964 Pontiac GTO

The 1964 GTO started out with a simple formula. The manufacturer tossed the biggest engine available into the rather generous engine bay of a humble, mid-size coupe. This was how Pontiac’s mighty 389-cubic-inch V8 – the largest engine the division had at the time – ended up under the hood of the modest A-body Tempest. Thus, the “Goat” was born.

Flying in the face of GM’s internal policy of the time regarding large engines in small cars, the 325-horsepower 389 V8 hustled the GTO – whose name also flew in the face of tweed-and-pipe sports car fans and the legendary Enzo Ferrari himself – from zero to 60 mph in under 8 seconds. Despite being a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the GTO featured plenty of touches to distinguish itself from other cars on the road including unique 14-inch wheels with red-stripe performance tires, dual exhaust and hood scoops.

1969 Pontiac GTO “Judge”

By the height of the muscle car era, the field was packed with a number of credible competitors, including the relatively cheap yet effective Plymouth Road Runner. In response to these threats, Pontiac introduced a tweaked version of its GTO, known as “the Judge.”

Unlike the original GTO, the Judge was designed from the start to be brash and bold. Unique stripes, a blacked-out grille, body-colored spoiler and the requisite “The Judge” decals separated it from other muscle cars on the road. It also helped that the Judge came with a 400-cubic-inch V8 fitted with the “Ram Air III” system and rated at 366 horsepower. Other unique touches included a Hurst T-handle shifter and wider tires fitted on Rally II wheels.

The Winner of The Battle of the GTO’s is….

When confronted with a choice between two legendary vehicles, it’s hard to choose. Fortunately, you can see for yourself these and other legendary muscle cars at the Hot Rod Power Tour from June 8 to June 12. The tour starts at the Gateway Watersports Park in Madison, IL, and winds its way through the Southeast with stops at the Memphis International Raceway, Birmingham’s Hoover Metropolitan Stadium and Centennial Plaza in Gulfport, MS. The final stop will be at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Baton Rouge, LA. It’s an opportunity to see the legendary GTO and other muscle cars up close and personal.

Which GTO is your favorite? Is it the 1964 GTO or the 69 GTO “Judge”. Or is there another GTO that is your favorite. Let us know in the comments section below or on our Cool Rides Online Facebook Page.


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