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The question I get asked most often is "how can you tell if a Judge is a fake?" It's a fairly simple question, but unfortunately the answer is not nearly as simple. Let's get this out of the way first: there is no number on the car that indicates that it is a Judge! I guess even if there was there is enough fraud in the industry to suspect data plates and VIN tags anyway. My best advice is to contact Pontiac Historical Services for a copy of the factory invoice, this will list The Judge as an option.

The next point is that so much time has passed since these cars were new that The Judge specific items could've found their way onto a standard GTO, and perhaps more interestingly they were taken off a genuine Judge. Very few cars are wearing the original paint after decades of driving, and it's not unheard of for Judges to be painted and stripes and spoiler left off.

Now to take care of some myths. Contrary to popular belief all Judges were not built with a hood tach. As a matter of fact, the package did not even include gauges! My Judge was ordered with the gauge package and in-dash tach, cars equipped with the hood tach have a clock in the dash. A three speed manual transmission was standard with two four speeds and a three speed automatic available. Another thing I hear occasionally is that hidden headlights were part of the option. Once again this is not true, fixed headlights were standard. As The Judge was basically a GTO practically every option offered for the GTO was available. One notable exception is the power antenna. As the mast was mounted on the top of the quarter panel it would interfere with the spoiler when the trunk was open.

So what can you look for?

  • First of all every Judge had either a Ram Air or HO motor. By checking the block code on the engine and verifying the VIN on the engine with the car you are at least assured that it is equipped with the correct motor.

  • The trunk lid is another area to check. The spoiler added a fair amount of weight and necessitated heavier springs. If the lid won't stay up on it's own it might not be original. The lids were also punched from the factory for the bolts from the spoiler. Take a look underneath and see if the mount looks "professional". Many of the reproduction spoilers were molded in one piece while the originals were three piece with separate struts.

  • Most 1969 Judges were Carousel Red so look for the paint code 72 on the data plate on these. Hardtops without a vinyl roof will have 72 twice for the upper and lower color. Convertibles and cars with vinyl tops will have a 72 and then the code for the top color. A 72 does not guarantee a Judge as there are several documentes GTOs that were special ordered in Carousel Red. If it is a Ram Air car and it was special ordered with Carousel Red it may be worth almost as much as a Judge anyway.

  • Another tip off is a build date before January of 1969 - there were no Judges built in 1968.

  • All Judges were delivered with either Rally IIs or honeycomb wheels (available in '71). Don't discount a car on this as wheels are obviously easily changed. Also, although the Rally IIs were specified with no trim rings they were often added so the existence of rings or marks where they have been really doesn't mean much one way or the other.

  • The grills on all Judges were "blacked out".