1969 PONTIAC GTO STYLING CHANGES
Perhaps the most easily recognizable difference between the 1968 GTO and the ’69 is that the ’68 has side-vent windows and the ’69 does not, using a one-piece front-side window instead. Of course, the usual cosmetic changes were made to the grille, now more of a mesh look than before, and the tail lights. And the rear quarter panels were now adorned with a red side marker light that was shaped in Pontiac’s trademark “V” crest. Inside, the faces of the gauges changed from blue to black.
1969 Pontiac GTO Hardtop
1969 Pontiac GTO Interiors
1969 PONTIAC GTO GETS SOME SAFETY UPGRADES
By 1969 most GM cars saw the ignition switch relocated from the dash to the steering column, with a built-in steering lock, per new Federal law. And on every car built after January 1, 1969, front headrests were now standard equipment.
ABOVE: The tan interior with some custom touches (“69” embroidered into headrests).
BELOW: Black interior with dealer-installed under-dash 8-track tape deck.
1969 Pontiac GTO Engines
1969 PONTIAC GTO ENGINE SPECS
The standard engine remained the same as in 1968, the 350hp 400 V8. The High Output engine, the 400HO was upgraded with Ram Air III which brought its output from 360 hp to 366 hp at 5100 rpm. However the top-rated engine was now the Ram Air IV, making 370 hp. The extra power was due to increased flow due to a model-specific aluminum high-rise intake manifold, bigger heads, cast iron exhaust headers, a big Rochester Quadrjet carb, and a hotter cam, although still using hydraulic lifters. The engine internals were beefed up accordingly.
RAM AIR III – JUST HOW MUCH POWER DID IT MAKE?
General Motors has a policy not to exceed 1 horsepower per 10 pounds of vehicle weight, with the only exception being the Chevrolet Corvette. So, when the mad scientists at Pontiac had to rate the output of the 1969 GTOs high-revving 400 Ram Air IV engine, they advertised its output at 5,000 rpm. But it’s peak power came later in the rev band. Even the Ram Air III engine peaked at 5,100 rpm, and the Ram Air IV motor was made to wind higher.
1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge”
1969 PONTIAC GTO – HERE COME DA’ JUDGE!
The GTO “Judge” was meant to be an entry level GTO, stripped of expensive options. But, by the time it launched, it turned out to be a hotter version than the standard GTO. A $332 option, the Judge package included the Ram Air III engine (360 hp), Rally II wheels sans glamour rings, a Hurst floor shifter on standard transmission models, a model-specific T-handle shift knob, wider tires, a rear spoiler, and special “Judge” graphics. The name came from a comedy routine that Sammy Davis, Jr. was doing at the time on the hit comedy-variety show, Laugh In, in which he enters the room dressed as a judge and says the line, “Here comes da’ judge!”
1969 IS A GOOD YEAR FOR THE PONTIAC GTO
For the first time ever, the Pontiac GTO surpassed the Chevy Chevelle SS, and the Plymouth Road Runner in sales. A total of 72,287 GTOs were sold during the 1969 model year, with 6,833 of them being “Judges”.