Glenn Helms' 1969 GTO Judge Convertible (from Jan. 2002)

Growing up in the Detroit, Michigan area is probably reason enough for any red-blooded American boy to become fascinated with cars, and such was the case for Glenn Helms. It also didn’t take him long to fall in love with the Pontiac GTO in particular. Glenn’s best friend’s step father, John Burlett, bought this 1969 GTO Judge Convertible new in ‘69. After giving it to his step son, Mike Buggy, in 1977, it wound up being their High School hang out car. Together Glenn and Mike cruised all the hot spots in the Detroit area, including Woodward Avenue, Telegraph Road and North Line Road.

The car later wound up stored in a Michigan garage for many years, so when Glenn set his sights on owning a classic GTO he knew just which one he wanted....and who owned it. Glenn became the third owner in 1995, with only 47,000 original miles turned over on the odometer. Besides knowing the car’s complete history, and having previous fond memories of it from his youth, this GTO Judge convertible is also a rare find. Of the 72,287 GTO’s produced in 1969, only 108 of them were convertible Judges.

The fame off restoration began in August of 1995, and continued until March of 1997, with everything brought back to factory specifications. Luckily, since the car had low mileage and was always well cared for, much of it was intact and well preserved. Items that were showing their age were refurbished or replaced, and the more you look at the completed car the more you appreciate the attention to detail that took place. Ron Pence and his son, Ron Pence II, are responsible for the smooth orange paint, which is deceptively called Carousel Red. The interior was returned to new condition, which includes parchment colored vinyl, black carpet, and a black dash and console. Other intriguing interior items include power windows, the stock AM radio, dash clock, Rally gauges, and a tilt column.

Glen rebuilt the stock 400 cubic inch, 366 horse power motor himself. It is equipped with factory Ram Air 3 induction, with the “flapper” controlling the flow of cooler outside air routed to the engine (for more horsepower) manipulated by a knob in the interior. Power passes rearward through a Muncie M-21 four speed manual transmission topped with a stock Hurst shifter, then to a 390 positraction rear end.

After completion it was only fitting that Glenn and the car returned back to the Woodward cruise (a 2,500 mile round trip from his Lakeland, Florida home) in 2000 and 2001, where it was selected as the overall Best Convertible. It also took home a Champion Circle award at the 2001 Detroit Woodward Tigers All GTO Show. It appeared on Speedvision’s “American Muscle Car, The Judge” special, and with Glenn’s constant participation in local and National shows it has won well over 200 trophies and plaques since its completion in ‘97. The car is always a hit with the spectators, and stands out at any show it goes to. But don’t get the wrong idea that this drop top Goat is just a trophy queen, because despite the fact that Glenn keeps it in a meticulously detailed state at all times, he has put 18,000 miles on the car. All with a big smile on his face, and fond memories still being made. CN