Notice: The next story was excerpted from the February 2019 difficulty of Collectible Vehicle journal
After the profitable Romney years, American Motors Company stumbled within the mid Sixties. One misstep was the Marlin. It started because the well-received Tarpon present car primarily based on the compact American chassis. Had AMC stayed with the unique idea, it could have had a sporty compact to compete with the Ford Mustang in 1965. As a substitute, Marlin was stretched to suit on the midsize Basic chassis and gross sales have been minuscule.
By 1967 AMC was teetering on chapter. That 12 months introduced dynamic new management with William V. Luneburg as president and Roy D. Chapin as chairman of the board.
A Marlin substitute was already within the works—the Javelin, which made its debut for 1968. Set on a 109-inch wheelbase, it was within the “ponycar” class, though with a bit of further inside room. Costs tended to undercut the competitors, and the semifastback styling drew reward. Engines ranged from an 145-horsepower six to a 280-horse, 343-cubic inch V8. A 390-inch V8 that developed 315 horsepower turned optionally available midyear.
Javelins got here in base and tonier SST variations. (The event of supersonic transport [SST] planes was within the information and AMC thought the initials would add glamour to its prime trim strains.) The SST included reclining entrance seats—uncommon in American vehicles on the time—a sport steering wheel, woodgrain inside trim, and extensive rally stripes. Reviewers had good issues to say about Javelin’s efficiency and dealing with. The automotive went racing and competed towards different ponycars within the Sports activities Automobile Membership of America’s Trans-Am sequence. AMC hoped to promote 35,000 to 40,000 items, however as a substitute moved 56,462 Javelins for the ’68 mannequin 12 months. Not solely did the automotive promote nicely, nevertheless it introduced youthful clients into AMC showrooms. AMC was on a roll and turned a revenue.
Javelin had few modifications for its second 12 months. Our featured automotive is a 1969 SST with the 390 V-8 and a four-speed guide gearbox. It’s presently owned by Bruce Ulmer of Churchville, New York, however when photographed was owned by John Robertson of Bloomington, Illinois. Robertson purchased the Javelin in 2006. It was rust-free, however the parts had taken their toll on the paint and vinyl prime. Nonetheless the dashboard and patterned-vinyl seats have been in “like-new” situation. The Javelin’s first proprietor, in keeping with AMC’s then-new efficiency picture, modified the automotive and went drag racing. The engine had a efficiency camshaft, manifold, and exhaust headers, and the rear fenders have been flared to accommodate larger tires. Robertson had the automotive returned to inventory specs. His greatest problem was discovering appropriate elements—which is far more troublesome for AMC vehicles than Large Three makes. Robertson did the “grunt work” of sharpening the chrome steel trim to showroom look. Among the many choices on this automotive are a tachometer, 140-mph speedometer, nonfunctional hood scoops, and dealing with bundle.
Robertson says the Javelin “dealt with nicely and went down the highway straight as an arrow at 65 to 70 mph.” The automotive didn’t have the optionally available energy steering, however the guide steering was not unhealthy. “That’s a kind of vehicles I want I hadn’t bought,” Robertson mentioned. It’s simple to know the remorse of promoting a Mandarin Crimson Javelin.
1969 AMC Javelin SST Gallery
Click on beneath for enlarged photographs.
1969 AMC Javelin SST