1971 PONTIAC GTO
An entirely new front nose took on the familiar face of the second-generation GTO, but with a distinctly different, more aggressive look. The headlights now resided in separat molded nacelles in the front fenders, and the grille and front bumper combo pushed the grille opening (mouth) farther forward. The leading edge of the hood now reached farther forward n the middle than before. And the good scoop became larger, wider, more square, and much farther forward. Overall, it created a ‘heavier’, more muscular appearance. All of this added up to a slight increase in overall vehicle length, to 203.3 inches (5,164 mm).
The above 2 photos illustrate the differences, and yet the similarities between the 1970 GTO front end (above) and that of the 1971 GTO (top).
This 1971 GTO Judge shows the garish stick-on striping, the boy-racer rear wing and those cool honeycomb wheels. Note the “455 H.O.” decals on the ends of the rear wing.
1971 Pontiac GTO INTERIOR
The hood-mounted tachometer goes to 8,000 rpm. Not with that big 455 you don’t. The redline is actually 5500 rpm.
1971 Pontiac GTO ENGINES
THINGS ARE NOT WELL IN THE ENGINE ROOM
General Motors brass, in preparation for the impending ban on leaded gasoline, ordered the reduction of the compression ratios of every engine in their inventory. This drastically reduced performance. The Ram Air engines disappeared for the 1971 model year. While the standard 1971 GTO engine was still a 400 V8, chocked down to just an 8.2:1 compression ratio, power dropped from 350 hp in 1970 to 300 hp at 4800 rpm. This was an SAE gross horsepower figure, but the SAE net was actually only 255 hp. This was the first year where both gross and net horsepower figures were made available to the public.
455 H.O.: THERE IS SOME HOPE AFTER ALL
Despite the poor showing of the standard 400, there were two 455s on the option list. The standard 455 with 8.4:1 compression produced 325 hp at 4400 gross SAE, and 260 hp at 4000 rpm net. It was only available with a Turbo Hydra-matic (TH-400 or Turbo 400) 3-speed automatic. The 455 H.O. also had 8.4:1 compression, but made 335 hp at 4800 rpm and 480 lb/ft of torque at 3600 rpm. The SAE net horsepower rating was 310 hp at 4400 rpm. The 455 H.O. with 4-speed and 3.90 rear end gearing could go zero-to-60 in 6.1 seconds and cover the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds at 102 mph trap speed.
1971 PONTIAC GTO
THERE GOES DA’ JUDGE!
“The Judge”, the flashy option package for second-generation GTOs, was in its final year in 1971, and that year ended early, in February 1971 to be exact. Thus only 357 ’71 GTO Judges were built, only 17 of which were convertibles. Overall GTO sales numbers were also painfully low, indicitive of the soft muscle car market in 1971. A total of 10,532 GTOs were sold in 1971, of which 678 were convertibles.