All rise for the 'Judge': Rare Pontiac convertible sells for a record $682,000

It was standing-room only at the Robson Estate in Gainesville last Saturday (November 13), as auto enthusiasts crowded into the room to witness RM Auctions' latest spectacular car sale.

And people expecting fireworks were proven right when the star item of the Milton Robson collection, a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible in Starlight Black sold for an incredible $682,000. The car is one of only five ever built, and has been described as possibly 'the most desirable Pontiac of all time'.

The convertible, one of only five ever made, sold for $682,000

Named after a catchphrase on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Judge was originally seen as a rival to lower-budget muscle cars such as the Plymouth 'Road Runner'. However, Pontiac head John DeLorean disliked the idea of a low-cost GTO and insisted it be given more distinguishing characteristics.

The result was the 'Judge' Ram Air IV, a powerful options package upgrade to the standard GTO. It featured the most powerful engine Pontiac offered to the public that year, (a V-8) and a four-speed sporty transmission.

Milt Robson had given the car a full body-off restoration and it was in perfect overall condition, resulting in it being the jewel of a collection that already contained some spectacular vehicles.

Although conceived as a cheap and cheerful entry onto the muscle-car market, the 'Judge' Ram Air IV convertible has ironically turned out to be the most valuable and sought-after Pontiac ever sold at auction.

The sale's success was another indication of the strength of the classic cars market. With cars such as this seen as an investment likely to hold or gain value (according to the National Automobile Dealers Association), it seems auctions could be seeing record-breaking prices like this for some time to come.


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