ST. MARYS — The Pontiac GTO was the brainchild of Pontiac engineer Russell Gee, an engine specialist; Bill Collins, a chassis engineer; and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean. DeLorean insisted on using the name, GTO. The 1969 GTO was a slightly restyled ‘68 with new grille texture, deletion of the familiar GTO fender badge and some interior changes. A new version of the GTO makes its debut and is aimed for the ‘economy’ market, first entered in ‘68 by Plymouth with its Road Runner model. The “new version” of the GTO they described would eventually appear as “The Judge.” Though intended as a budget machine to compete with Plymouth’s Road Runner, by the time it showed up in showrooms in January 1969, it was a more expensive and aggressive GTO. Named after Sammy Davis Jr.’s “Here Comes The Judge” skit on TV’s Laugh-In, the Judge had performance to back up the visual decaled and name silliness. The first 2,000 Judges were painted “Carousel Red,” which was GM-language for orange. The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge gathered the GTO’s hottest muscle car extras into a single $332 option package and slapped on the pop-culture cues.Craig Ballweg, of St. Marys, brought his 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge to The Lima News’ Real Wheels Cruise-In. He has owned it for 33 years. Car enthusiasts everywhere know this Judge is nothing to laugh at, but is to be appreciated, as Ballweg has done.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.