During my college years I worked at Blockbuster Video and one of the employee perks was the five free rentals per week. The free movie rentals offset the bad hours; my shift was usually 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and being yelled at by customers over their late fees. I used the free movie rentals to watch older movies, to offset my tendency to watch the latest releases, and it gave me the opportunity to deep dive into car chase movies and other automotive flicks.
From that deep dive came my introduction to the Vanishing Point and from there a customer recommended Two-Lane Blacktop. Our store didn’t carry it, and it turns out the VHS was long out of print and scarce. Bummed out that I couldn’t find a copy in Santa Rosa, we had five or six video stores in my hometown, I was forced to be patient and wait. Fast forward a few years and it was being released on DVD and I had the opportunity to view a movie I only knew from a customer recommendation and some articles I found online.
Who knew that a movie with James Taylor, Dennis Wilson and Warren Oates and no minimal story arc or dialog would resonate with me?
A part of me wished James Taylor had pursued a movie career but when your acting zenith involves an existential car chase movie, I can see retiring from movies and focusing on your highly successful music career, but film audiences may have gotten the shaft from Taylor abandoning Hollywood.
To a certain degree the cars are the stars of Two-Lane Blacktop; Taylor and Wilson in a 1955 Chevrolet and Warren Oates in a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge. Side note: the 1955 Chevy was recycled and driven by Harrison Ford in American Graffiti.
If one is inclined to emulate Warren Oates and get a GTO Judge, the Pick of the Day is a 1972 Pontiac Lemans that has been customized as a GTO re-creation and is available on ClassicCars.com from a dealer in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.
With some time, money and effort this GTO clone could be furthered cloned into a GTO Judge, albeit from a different year than Oates’ Judge, but why split hairs?
“For consignment, a LeMans dressed as a GTO,” the listing states. “A lesser known fact from 1972 is that the GTO was an options package on the LeMans so detecting a true goat is not as simple as reading the VIN. Enduro Bumper, Ram Air Hood, a Judge rear spoiler, and retina searing Cardinal Red paint make for one nice tribute at a fraction of the cost of a real one.”
It’s powered by a 350ci V8 engine featuring an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold and a four-barrel carburetor. The engine is paired with a TH350 three-speed automatic, that the dealer says is number-matching, and a 10-bolt 2.78 Safe-T-Track rear axle.
“Independent with coil springs up front and a 4 link with coil springs keep this tribute on the ground in front and back,” the sales description says. “Power disc brakes up front and power drums for the rear bring you and your passengers back from warp speed nicely and safely.”
If you haven’t seen it, watch Two-Lane Blacktop and if you become enamored with the flick consider buying this Lemans and make it a Judge homage. Warren Oates would be proud and at $29,000 it is more affordable than a true GTO Judge.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.