- The 1970s Pontiac featured the best GTO front end design
- A rare option was introduced in the 1970 GTO – Vacuum Operated Exhaust (VOE – Option Code W-73)
- For the very first time, GM officially removed the 400 CID restriction and Pontiac offered its 455 CID V8 as a GTO option
Muscle Car Specifications
1970 is considered by auto historians as the pinnacle of the muscle car golden era. The GTO was heavily restyled and featured a front end design which is regarded as the best in the GTO series. Hidden headlights from the 1969 GTO were replaced with four exposed round headlamps that were wrapped in Endura bumper with blackened out twin grilles. There were new body creases with the rear end redesigned.
1970 was a pivotal year because for the very first time, GM lifted the restriction of the economy engine (400 CID) and a new 455 CID V8 engine was now offered as a GTO option.
Vacuum Operated Exhaust (VOE) option
A rare option on the 1970 GTO was the Vacuum Operated Exhaust (VOE – Option Code W-73). The VOE option was an attempt to simplify the old hot rod which reduced backpressure and increased the power of the car. However, this also resulted in the noise level of the exhaust to increase significantly.
The VOE option was offered only from November 1969 to January 1970. This was due to the fact that the Pontiac management was ordered to cancel the VOE option by GM’s upper management, with regards to the Federal government’s increasing restrictions on emissions and noise levels. Only 233 GTO’s were built with the VOE option.
Unlike last year, Pontiac offered the option of a coupe along with the convertible and The Judge. The Judge was extremely bold car offered in the exclusive paint color called “Orbit Orange” and accompanied by the standard options of bucket seats, special exterior trim, 350hp 400ci engine with chrome valve covers and air cleaner, dual exhausts, and 3-speed manual transmission with Hurst floor mounted shifter. It was no wonder that Orbit Orange 1970 GTO Judge Coupe became a star in the cult classic movie Two Lane Blacktop.
The Ram Air III could accelerate from 0-60 in 6 seconds and could cover a quarter of a mile in 14.7 seconds, topping at 98 mph. The RA IV acceleration was similar but it could cover a quarter of a mile in 14.4 seconds. The RA IV equipped Judge was even better – it finished its quarter mile in 13.2 sec and accelerated 0-60 in 5.7 sec topping at 104 mph.
The competition was extremely fierce with a large supply of muscle cars from just about every American auto brand available. Furthermore, the American muscle car market showed a decline in demand which affected the sales. Though, the new styling helped the declining sales and 1970 was, overall, a great year for the GTO, the total GTO sales figure of 40,149 units failed to reflect this. It had fallen from a sales figure of 72,287 of the previous year. The primary reason for the decline in sales was that youthful buyers – which was the main customer base – were faced with skyrocketing costs of insuring a muscle car, the insurance payments, sometimes, being higher than car payments.
The GTO remained the third best-selling intermediate muscle car. It was outsold by the Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396/454 and Plymouth Road Runner.
It should be noted that the decrease in sales was not unique to GTO. All the companies suffered in sales as the muscle car bubble, for the lack of a better word, came closer to its bursting point.
|Ram Air IV
|370 hp @ 5500 rpm
|445 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
|Ram Air III
|366 hp @ 5100 rpm
|445 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
|350 hp @ 5000 rpm
|445 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
|360 hp @ 4300 rpm
|500 lb-ft @ 2700 rpm
|0 to 60 mph
|14.0 sec @ 98.90 mph
|13.5 sec @ 103.5 mph
|MCR Feb/Mar 1996
|13.6 sec @ 105.0 mph
|MCR Feb/Mar 1996
|13.6 sec @ 102.9 mph
|14.6 sec @ 99.55 mph
|Car Life 4/70
|14.8 sec @ 95.94 mph
|Car Life 4/70
|14.5 sec @ 100.0 mph
|High Performance Car
|15.0 sec @ 96.5 mph
|Car & Driver 1/70
Best front end but I liked the 69 body lines better with the judge decals better than the 70 judge decals. But a definitely a ride to remember.
we just recently purchased a 1970 Judge & was amazed at the value