I enjoy history and researching things - along with reading of course. Ran across an old article on "The Judge" which I feel falls into the development of the 1969 Judge from its first prototype built by Royal Pontiac to the production car that was available to the public. The car in the enclosed photos are not of the first prototype, nor of the production version. Milt Schornack states in his book that the stripe and name design underwent a couple changes before coming to what we all know as The Judge option. I believe this is the second version which gave way to the publicly available version sold through the dealerships.
The first 1969 judge prototype was put together by Royal Pontiac. According to both Milt Schornack and Jim Wangers, the car began life in October 1968 as a Mist Green, Ram Air IV, 4-speed & 3.90 posi, but Royal was given specific instructions in modifying the car. The engine received the Royal Bobcat treatment which included headers, and was rebuilt to the 366 horsepower Ram Air III specs. The RA IV short block assembly was retained which included the forged pistons, but the the rest of the engine was all RA III top end.
The car had the optional cornering lights (also seen on the pre-Judge E.T. concept car) in the forward front fenders. The car was painted the Pontiac specific Carousel Red, the grille blacked out, functional Ram Air hood scoops, a trunk spoiler added, hood tach added, Hurst T-handle on the Hurst shifter, and trim rings removed from the Rally II rims. The stripes and namesake emblem had not yet been decided.
What first appeared was the white fender/door stripe as used on the stillborn E.T. concept car in addition to small block letters "The Judge" placed at the end of the stripe on the door. On the lower right side of the rear deck above the chrome GTO letters was a gavel and "The Judge" in yellow letters. The car can be seen in the December 1968 Hot Rod magazine which underwent one of their road test evaluations. An advertisement for the car and it specifications shows the same car with the white strip and Judge lettering except in the lower right hand section of the ad the reader is introduced the iconnic graphic "The Judge" that would become the production decal on all Judges along with the change in stripe design.
The Judge in the enclosed pictures comes from another magazine test car, Carousel Red with white interior. This one still has the white body stripe, but it has the later and approved "The Judge" decal on the front fender. This car doesn't have the front fender cornering lamps as the original prototype car and it was equipped with the TH-400 and Pontiac's own version of the Hurst Dual Gate used in 1967-68. It was equipped with 3.90 gears & posi and the weight as tested was 3,890 pounds.
The article states the Goodyear Polyglass fiberglass belted G-70 x 14" tires were great for producing smoke shows, but not so good for drag racing traction. The car had no problem smoking through all of first gear and 1/2 of second gear and could break the tires loose on each gear change under full pedal. After sorting through several techniques to get the best traction under hard acceleration, it was found that the best launch was done by pumping up the tires to 40 pounds, easing the car off the line at part throttle from an idle for 50 feet, then standing on the gas pedal - which still broke the tires loose for a moment but enough to get a good clean start. Best 1/4 mile ET was made by pumping the front tires up to 50 pounds, rears to 40, loosen the alternator belts, and removing the air cleaner lid. 13.89 @ 101.4 MPH through a factory closed exhaust system.
What is interesting is that the article describes how the TH-400 shifter works and you can see the photo of it enclosed. Move the stick around in the single slot gives you normal operation just like any other console automatic. But when you want to get down to serious business, pull the stick all the way back into 1st gear. Wind it out as far as you want and when ready for 2nd gear, slam the stick forward and to the right and you will engage 2nd gear only and not go into 3rd. Wind out second as far as you want and when ready for 3rd, pull back on the stick just slightly to feel/hear a click that engages the ratcheting device that puts the shifter into 3rd, then again push the stick forward and to the right to engage 3rd gear. It will not go past 3rd or into neutral.
Just a little trivia for you Pontiac enthusiasts.