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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

M2 Machines 1969 Pontiac GTO "The Judge"

One of my favorite muscle cars of all time is the 1969 Pontiac GTO with "The Judge" package.  It was my first muscle car seen in person thanks to my next door neighbor at the time when I was little, it was my first 1:18 scale model (i'll profile that one later on), and I still love that loud orange color.  One of my first M2 castings was the The Judge GTO, even though it lacked a few features in the Drivers line.  Now I just received the Liberty Blue GTO The Judge from the Detroit Muscle line, complete with more features.

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"Here comes the Judge!"

Wild colors and groovy names was the business in selling outrageous muscle cars with lots of power.  For Pontiac, even though the GTO sold by name itself, The Judge package joined the club with wild paint colors, graphics, and lots of power.  The name came from line "Here comes da Judge" from Rowlan and Martin's Laugh-in TV show in the 1960's.  It was appropriate for such a menacing car:  The 1968 GTO's had a new body with headlights hidden (or exposed) behind the grill, split by the Urethane bumper nose that is designed to resist denting.  The hood has dual Ram Air scoops with external tachometer.  The sides has a smooth profile with fastback roofline, to the rear with taillights integrated into the bumper and an integrated rear spoiler.  The interior has a laid-back dashboard with gauges behind the 3-spoke steering wheel, central controls, and a console with silver trim around the shifter.  The Judge came with a 455 CID V8 with Ram Air IV intake to feed air into the engine that produces 370 hp. through a 4-speed manual with Hurst shifter.  It was a fast car on the track, with the Judge's rear spoiler contributing to some downforce, but handing was sill a weak point as was a lot of Muscle Cars of that era.  The Judge would live on until 1972, the last year for the GTO's true muscle car model.

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Low-end vs. High-end

Both look very good, with the orange and blacked-out and wider 5-spoke wheels and tires on the orange Driver's release look menacing.  The front has the separate split grille with GTO letters on the left grille and exposed headlights (M2 also does one with the hidden headlights.  The lower signal lights, the side marker lights, and the side stripe with "The Judge" logo's are accurate, as are the hood scoops and external tachometer.  The rear has the detailed and separate taillights inside the chrome rear bumper, though the Driver's version has the taillight lenses integrated into the bumper with painted details.  The rear spoiler is a separate piece on both of them as well, while the blue GTO has added silver trim on the windows and lower rocker panels.  The base on both do not show much as what newer M2 castings do, but they do offer an adjustable rear axle to fit larger tires (as you can see in these two examples here).

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The blue GTO uses the stock 5-spoke wheels with a gray finish between the spokes on the spokes mounted on narrow Goodyear tires.  Both have detailed interiors, but only the blue GTO has opening doors to an interior with the detailed dashboard with silver trim, 3-spoke steering wheel, and the shifter coming out of the wood-trimmed console.  The seats have the correct pattern, though the door panels are still part of the metal body and lack much detailing.  The hood on the blue GTO (fixed on the orange Driver's casting) opens to reveal the detailed motor with the blue engine block and the air cleaner designed to funnel air from the hood scoops.  Quality Control was an issue on my blue tester as the hood was prone to stick slightly higher than the fenders (resolved that issue), the haze of glue visible on the chrome air cleaner, and one of the tires had a cut on the sidewall, and also the base was slightly crooked.  Still it looks good it looks good.

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Just like the Hot Wheels 1970 Chevelle family, the GTO "The Judge" family grows as well and this nice set from M2 Machines joins them in their won unique way.

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