With what started as a performance package on the Tempest, the GTO became a staple of the muscle car era. With cars such as the Chevlle SS396, Plymouth Roadrunner and Ford Mustang 427 gaining sales, Pontiac responded with performance options which kept the GTO in the market until 1974.
Still retaining the trademark hidden headlight option and Endura front bumper, 1969 GTOs were relatively similar to the 1968 cars . The only major change to the GTO line was the Judge package named after a phrase in the television show ‘Laugh In’. These cars included a large rear wing, blacked out fenders, a hood mounted tach and decals on the front fenders. Usually sold in Carousel Red and other hot colors the Judge was a hard car to miss. Through the Judge’s image, Pontiac was able to reestablish the GTO in the muscle car market.
Standard GTOs came with the 400 cu. in V8. A Ram Air III option, rated at 366 horsepower, used different porting in the cylinder heads, a free flowing exhaust and a ram-air system. The hood scoops were fully functional with the driver being able to open and close the scoop via a dash mounted cable.
More exclusive than the Ram Air III was the Ram Air IV. It used new cylinder heads, new rockers, a more radical camshaft and an aluminum intake manifold with a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor. Air conditioning was deleted and an automatic or manual transmission could be chosen. Only 759 GTOs received the Ram Air IV package in 1969, and of those 59 were convertibles