1970 Pontiac GTO

1970 PONTIAC GTO
A NEW LOOK...AGAIN

The Pontiac Tempest and LeMans lines got a facelift for the 1970 model year, using all the same basic sheetmetal, but with a new nose and tail. Up front, the hideaway headlights of the 1969 were replaced with a one-piece, body-colored Endura urethane nose cone with 4 exposed round headlights arranged horizontally, and the trademark Pontiac split grille and a central “beak”. The Tempest and LeMans had chromed noses instead.

1970 PONTIAC GTO
HERE COME DA’ JUDGE!

“The Judge” option package continued, and came standard with the 400 Ram Air III engine (360 hp), with the 400 Ram Air IV (370 hp) available as an option, although the 455 was not available on Judges until late in the model year. The 1970 GTO Judge has different Judge-specific striping than the 1969.

1970 PONTIAC GTO
SUSPENSION UPGRADES

Where straight-line acceleration had been the standard of performance throughout the 1960s, handling was to become more of an issue in the 70s. Commensurate with that, a rear anti-sway bar was added to the rear suspension, and the front sway bar was stiffened, resulting in less body lean during cornering and reduced understeer. Variable-ratio power steering became optional for the first time, allowing the steering ratio to change from 14.6:1 to 18.9:1 rather than a fixed ratio of 17.5:1 in the standard box. This reduced the turning circle by 3.5 feet, requiring 3.5 turns lock-to-lock.


1970 Pontiac GTO INTERIOR

1970 PONTIAC GTO
THE SUPER-RARE OPTION THAT NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT

Pontiac offered a very rare option for the GTO for just 2 years, 1969 and 1970. The Vacuum Operated Exhaust system (VOE) allowed the driver to flip an under-dash switch to open up the exhaust on demand. This reduced exhaust back pressure and thus increased performance, presumably for street racing, but it also substantially increased noise levels. When a TV commercial featuring the 1970 Pontiac GTO with VOE aired during the 1970 Superbowl, it didn’t set will with GM brass, so not only was the commercial canceled (it only aired that one time), but the VOE option was discontinued as well, after only around 233 were built.


1970 Pontiac GTO ENGINES

MUSCLE CAR ERA PEAKS
PONTIAC IS THE LAST HOLDOUT

1970 marked the peak of the First American Muscle Car Era. It started with the launch of the 1964 GTO and horsepower increased steadily year-by-year until, by 1970, several factors conspired to put a damper on all the fun. Federal emissions regulations were insisting the engines run cleaner. Rising gas prices made people think about fuel consumption for the first time. And rising insurance premiums were, in some cases, literally higher than the car payment itself. So, the end was near, the handwriting was on the wall. But Pontiac wasn’t about to give up without a fight, and in fact, they were the last American carmaker to give up on performance. Starting in 1971, compression ratios would be reduced, carbs made smaller, exhaust systems choked off, timing retarded, all in an effort to get big V8s to ‘run clean’. These were the Dark Days of Detroit, during what has come to be known as “The Smog Dog Era”. Performance would get steadily worse each year until technology began to turn the tides in the mid-80s.

1970 PONTIAC GTO
NEW ENGINE OPTIONS

While the 350 hp 400 V8 base engine remained unchanged, the economy motor was dropped from the option list. The 400 Ram Air III and Ram Air IV continued. A new engine option was Pontiac’s big 455 HO (not to be confused with the later 455 HO with round ports), as GM finally lifted its ban on standard engines larger than 400 cubic inches. Ironic that they do so just as the Muscle Car Era draws to a close. The new 455 is essentially a stroked 400 from the full-sized Pontiac Bonneville and Catalina lines (as well as the Grand Prix). In another glaring example of Detroit understating the actual output in an effort to reduce insurance costs for the buyer, the 455 HO was rated at a measly 360 hp at 4300 rpm, even though the exact same engine was rated at 370 hp in the Pontiac Grand Prix. The low horsepower number was dwarfed by the 455 HO’s torque rating: 500 lb/ft at a low 2700 rpm. Any stumps need pulling?

1970 PONTIAC GTO
PRODUCTION NUMBERS

Total GTO sales for the 1970 model year were down from prior years, at 40,149 units. Of those, 3,797 were Judges, of which 168 were convertibles. Because of the high cost of building the very special 400 Ram Air IV engine (with special heads, aluminum hi-rise, cast headers, hot cam, big carb, etc.) it was estimated at the time that Pontiac lost around $1,000 on every Ram Air IV-engined GTO that it sold. Good thing they didn’t sell that many, with only 37 convertibles being sold, 24 4-speeds and 13 automatics, with only 6 being Judges. By 1970, the GTO had earned its place as the third best-selling (intermediate/mid-sized) muscle car, behind the Chevy Chevelle SS396 and the Plymouth Road Runner. But again, the handwriting was on the wall: the Muscle Car Era was over.


1970 Pontiac GTO SPECIFICATIONS

Model # / Body style #

1969 Pontiac GTO

Production

Price when new

Weight

Tire size

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge

Producton

Price when new

Weight

Tire size

Wheelbase

Length

Track, front

Track, rear

ENGINE OPTIONS    

WA-code

WS-code

WT-code

WW-code

XP-code

XV-code

XX-code

YA-code

YS-code

YZ-code

242 / 37

2-door Hardtop

32,737

$3,267

3,641 lbs

F78-14

2-door Hardtop

3,629

$3,604

3,506 lbs

F70-14

112.0 in

201.5 in

60.0 in

60.0 in


455ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X2bbl

455ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

400ci OHV V8 w/1X4bbl

242 / 67

2-door Convertible

3,615

$3,492

3,691 lbs

F78-14






112.0 in

201.5 in

60.0 in

60.0 in


Manual, 370 hp / 445 lb/ft

Manual, 366 hp / 445 lb/ft

Manual, 350 hp / 445 lb/ft

Manual, 370 hp / 445 lb/ft

Automatic, 370 hp / 445 lb/ft

Automatic, 330 hp / 430 lb/ft

Automatic, 265 hp / 397 lb/ft

Automatic, 370 hp / 445 lb/ft

Automatic, 350 hp / 445 lb/ft

Automatic, 366 hp / 445 lb/ft


OTHER PONTIAC GTO PAGES:
....................GTO
..............................1964
..............................1965
..............................1966
..............................1967
..............................1968
..............................1969
..............................1970
..............................1971

Check out these PONTIAC GTO BOOKS

PONTIAC GTO 50 YEARS: THE ORIGINAL MUSCLE CAR


PONTIAC GTO RESTORATION GUIDE 1964-1972


COLLECTOR’S ORIGINALITY GUIDE, PONTIAC GTO


HOW TO RESTORE YOUR PONTIAC GTO


GTO: PONTIAC’S GREAT ONE


PONTIAC GTO: FOUR DECADES OF MUSCLE


PONTIAC GTO: THE GREAT ONE


COLLECTOR’S GUIDE TO GTO


PONTIAC GTO ADS - MARKETING THE TIGER


ORIGINAL PONTIAC GTO: RESTORER’S GUIDE


PONTIAC GTO/TEMPEST/LEMANS PARTS LOCATING GUIDE


PONTIAC CONCEPT & SHOW CARS


PONTIAC GTO RED BOOK


HOW TO REBUILD PONTIAC V8s


YOU BE THE JUDGE: HOW TO IDENTIFY AN AUTHENTIC GTO JUDGE (Kindle)


CATALOG OF PONTIAC GTO ID NUMBERS





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Last updated 12/25/16
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