AMBULANCES part IX international Ambulances on Alphabet from I till K

AMBULANCES part IX international Ambulances on Alphabet from I till K

1953 – IFA F8 Krankenwagen

1955 IFA F8 Kombi-Hearse 1983 IFA Wartburg 353W 1986 ifa-barkas-b-1000-ambulance-1986 IFA Framo V901-902 Bestattungswagen – Leichenwagen DDR IFA Granit 27 IFA Phänomen és Fiat 1100 (a nagy a Phänomen) IFA Robur Ambulance a IFA Robur ambulance IFA Framo

Imperial 1927 Cadillac, 1939 Chevrolet, 1951 Pontiac, 1957 National Landau, 1959 Crown, 1959 Memphian Chrysler, 1959 National, 1964 National and 1977 Chrysler Ambulances and Hearses.

International Harvester Ambulances


Isuzu Ambulances

IVECO Resque Units and Ambulances

Jaguar Ambulance and Hearses

JEEP – Kaiser – Willys – Willys Overland – Holden – Horton Quick Responders and Ambulances

1915 Jeffery Ambulance en Hearse (Hansen)

NASH Motors

1930 Nash 450

Nash Motors Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States 1916 till 1954

Nash Motors
Industry Automobile
Fate Merged
Successor Nash-Kelvinator
Founded 1916
Defunct 1954
Headquarters Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States
Key people
Charles W. Nash, Nils Erik Wahlberg
Products Vehicles

Nash Motors Company was an American automobile manufacturer based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the United States from 1916 to 1937. From 1937 to 1954, Nash Motors was the automotive division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. Nash production continued from 1954 to 1957 after the creation of American Motors Corporation.

Nash pioneered some important innovations; in 1938 they debuted the heating and ventilation system which is still used today, unibody construction in 1941, seat belts in 1950, a US built compact car in 1950, and muscle cars in (1957).



1917 Nash Fire Truck Model 3017

1922 Nash Roadster Model 421922 Nash Roadster Model 42

 1925 Nash

1925 Nash

1929 Nash 4001929 Nash 400

1936 Nash 400 de Luxe1936 Nash 400 de Luxe

Nash Motors was founded in 1916 by former General Motors president Charles W. Nash who acquired the Thomas B. Jeffery Company. Jeffery’s best-known automobile was the Rambler whose mass production from a plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin began in 1902.

The 1917 Nash Model 671 was the first vehicle produced to bear the name of the new company’s founder. Nash enjoyed decades of success by focusing its efforts to build cars “embodying honest worth … [at] a price level which held out possibilities of a very wide market.”

The four-wheel drive Jeffery Quad truck became an important product for Nash. Approximately 11,500 Quads were built between 1913 and 1919. They served to move materiel during World War I under severe conditions. The Quad used Meuhl differentials with half-shafts mounted above the load-bearing dead axles to drive the hubs through hub-reduction gearing. in addition to featuring four-wheel steering. The Quad achieved the reputation of being the best four-wheel drive truck produced in the country. The newly formed Nash Motors became the largest producer of four-wheel drives. By 1918, capacity constraints at Nash meant the Paige-Detroit Motor Car Company began to assemble the Nash Quad under license and Nash patents. Nash became the leading producer of military trucks by the end of World War I. After the war ended, surplus Quads were used as heavy work trucks in fields such as construction and logging.

Charles Nash convinced the chief engineer of GM’s Oakland Division, Finnish-born Nils Eric Wahlberg, to move to Nash’s new company. The first Nash engine introduced in 1917 by Wahlberg had overhead valves. Wahlberg is also credited with helping to design flow-through ventilation that is used today in nearly every motor vehicle. Introduced in 1938, Nash’s Weather Eye directed fresh, outside air into the car’s fan-boosted, filtered ventilation system, where it was warmed (or cooled), and then removed through rearward placed vents. The process also helped to reduce humidity and equalize the slight pressure differential between the outside and inside of a moving vehicle. Another unique feature of Nash cars was the unequal wheel tracks. The front wheels were set slightly narrower than the rear, thus adding stability and improving cornering. Wahlberg was also an early proponent of wind tunnel testing for vehicles and during World War II worked with Theodore (Ted) Ulrich in the development of Nash’s radically styled Airflyte models.

Nash’s slogan from the late 1920s and 1930s was “Give the customer more than he has paid for” and the cars lived up to it. Innovations included a straight-eight engine with overhead valves, twin spark plugs, and nine crankshaft bearings in 1930. The 1932 Ambassador Eight had synchromesh transmissions and free wheeling, automatic centralized chassis lubrication, a worm-drive rear end, and its suspension was adjustable inside the car. A long-time proponent of automotive safety, Nash was among the early mid- and low-priced cars to offer four-wheel brakes.

The Nash was a success among consumers that meant for the company “selling for a long time has been 100% a production problem… month after month all the cars that could be produced were sold before they left the factory floor.”

Creation of the Ajax

1925 nash ajax-englebert

1925 nash ajax-englebert

For the 1925 model year, Nash introduced the entry-level marque Ajax. A car of exceptional quality for its price, the Ajax was produced in the newly acquired Mitchell Motor Car Company plant in Racine, Wisconsin. Mitchell was the manufacturer of Mitchell-brand automobiles between 1903 and 1923. Sales of Ajax automobiles, while quite respectable, were disappointing. It was believed that the same car would sell better if it were called a Nash. Thus the Ajax became the “Nash Light Six” in June, 1926 and sales did improve, just as expected. In an unusual move, Nash Motors offered all Ajax owners a kit to “convert” their Ajax into a Nash Light Six. This kit, supplied at no charge, included a set of new hubcaps, radiator badge, and all other parts necessary to change the identity of an Ajax into that of a Nash Light Six. This was done to protect Ajax owners from the inevitable drop in resale value when the Ajax marque was discontinued. In this way Nash Motors showed the high value they placed upon their customers’ satisfaction and well-being. Most Ajax owners took advantage of this move, and “unconverted” Ajax cars are quite rare today.

1926 Nash Ajax Six Sedan Motor Car Company Kenosha Wisconsin Salute Art Ad

1926 Nash Ajax Six Sedan Motor Car Company Kenosha Wisconsin Salute Art Ad

Acquisition of LaFayette

LaFayette Motors was the producer of a large, powerful, expensive luxury car. The company started in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1920, and later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The principal stockholder in LaFayette Motors was Nash Motors Company. Other major stockholders were Charles W. Nash and friends and business associates. The high quality, high priced LaFayette cars did not sell well.

In 1924, Nash absorbed LaFayette Motors and converted its plant to produce Ajax automobiles. The LaFayette name was reintroduced in 1934 as a lower priced companion to Nash. LaFayette ceased to be an independent marque with the introduction of the 1937 models. From 1937 through 1940, the Nash LaFayette was the lowest priced Nash, and was replaced by the new unibody Nash 600 for the 1941 model year.

Era of George Mason and Nash Kelvinator

1929 Nash Special Six Series 430 Coupé

 Nash Special Six Series 430 Coupé 1929

1929 Nash Standard Six Series 422 Convertible Coupé

 Nash Standard Six Series 422 Convertible Coupé 1929

Before retiring, Charlie Nash chose Kelvinator Corporation head George W. Mason to succeed him. Mason accepted, but placed one condition on the job: Nash would acquire controlling interest in Kelvinator, which at the time was the leading manufacturer of high-end refrigerators and kitchen appliances in the United States. The resulting company, as of January 4, 1937, was known as the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. Nash as a brand name continued to represent automobiles for Nash-Kelvinator. This was the largest merger of companies not in the same industry up until that time.

In 1938, Nash introduced an optional conditioned air heating/ventilating system, an outcome of the expertise shared between Kelvinator and Nash. This was the first hot-water car heater to draw fresh air from outside the car, and is the basis of all modern car heaters in use today. Also in 1938, Nash, along with other car manufacturers Studebaker and Graham, offered vacuum-controlled shifting, an early approach at removing the gearshift from the front floorboards. Automobiles equipped with the Automatic Vacuum Shift (supplied by the Evans Products Company) had a small gear selector lever mounted on the dashboard, immediately below the radio controls.

In 1936, Nash introduced the “Bed-In-A-Car” feature, which allowed the car’s interior to be converted into a sleeping compartment. The rear seat back hinged up, allowing the rear seat cushion to be propped up into a level position. This also created an opening between the passenger compartment and the trunk. Two adults could sleep in the car, with their legs and feet in the trunk, and their heads and shoulders on the rear seat cushions. In 1949 this arrangement was modified so that fully reclining front seat backs created a sleeping area entirely within the passenger compartment. In 1950 these reclining seat backs were given the ability to lock into several intermediate positions. Nash soon called these new seat backs “Airliner Reclining Seats”.

In 1939, Nash added a thermostat to its “Conditioned Air System”, and thus the famous Nash Weather Eye heater was born. The 1939 and 1940 Nash streamlined cars were designed by George Walker and Associates and freelance body stylist Don Mortrude. They were available in three series – LaFayette, Ambassador Six and Ambassador Eight. For the 1940 model cars Nash introduced independent coil spring front suspension and sealed beam headlights.

The 1941, Nash 600 was the first mass-produced unibody construction automobile made in the United States. Its lighter weight compared to body-on-frame automobiles and lower air drag helped it to achieve excellent fuel economy for its day. The “600” model designation is said to have been derived from overdrive-equipped examples of this car’s ability to travel 600 miles (966 km) on a 20-US-gallon (75.7 l; 16.7 imp gal) tank of gasoline. In other words, it would achieve 30 miles per US gallon (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp). The 600 models used an unusual steering/front suspension system with extremely long king pins. Inadequate lubrication became a problem for these systems, commonly resulting in premature failures. The design of the cars was improved by new front ends, upholstery, and chrome trim from 1942 to 1948. The larger Ambassador models shared the same bodies with the 600 but placed this unibody structure on top of a conventional frame, resulting in an extremely strong car.

Post-World War II passenger car production resumed on October 27, 1945 with an Ambassador sedan first off the assembly line. There were few changes from 1942 models, most noticeable were longer and slimmer upper grille bars and a projecting center section on the lower grille. The 600 models got a new, more conventional front suspension & steering system. The inline 8-cylinder Ambassador model did not return in 1946. The large Ambassador engine thus was the seven main bearing, overhead valve 234-cubic-inch six-cylinder developing 112 brake horsepower. For the 1946 model year Nash introduced the Suburban model that used wood framing & panels on the body. It was similar to the Chrysler Town and Country and Ford Sportsman models. Suburbans were continued in 1947 and 1948 models with 1,000 built over all three years. In 1948 the Ambassador convertible returned with 1,000 built.

Introduction of the Nash Airflyte

The aerodynamic 1949 Nash “Airflyte” was the first car of an advanced design introduced by the company after the war. Its aerodynamic body shape was developed in a wind tunnel. Nils Wahlberg’s theories on reducing an automobile body’s drag coefficient resulted in a smooth shape and enclosed front fenders. The “cutting-edge aerodynamics” was the most “alarming” all-new postwar design in the industry since the Chrysler Airflow. A one-piece curved safety glass windshield was used on both models. Wide and low, the automobile featured more interior room than its 1948 predecessor although its height was 6 inches less. Due to its enclosed front fenders Nash automobiles had a larger turning radius than most other cars. The 600 models used a 112-inch (2,800 mm) wheelbase while the Ambassador models stretched to 121 inches (3,073 mm). Both shared the same bodies. Coil springs were used on all four wheels. Three trim lines were offered in both models; Super, Super Special, and the top line Custom. Power was provided by an 82 Horsepower 176 cubic inch flathead inline 6 cylinder in the 600 and an 112 HP OHV 234 cubic inch inline 6 in the Ambassador.1951 Nash Statesman 2-Door Sedan

 Nash Statesman 2-Door Sedan 1951

The few changes for the 1950 Airflytes were a wider rear window, concealed fuel filler cap, some dashboard features and addition on Ambassadors of a GM Hydramatic automatic transmission option. The 600 models were renamed the “Statesman”. A new first for an American car were seat belts, also new was a five-position Airliner reclining front passenger seat back, both optional in both models. The stroke on the Statesman engine was increased 1/4 inch giving 186 cubic inches and 85 HP and the Ambassador received a new cylinder head that increased HP to 115.

Changes for the 1951 model Airflytes were to the rear fenders, elongated to incorporate vertical taillights, a new conventional dashboard replacing the Uniscope mounted on the steering column, a new vertical bar grille with horizontal parking lights and addition of GM Hydramatic as a Statesman option also. The three best sales years for Nash up to that time were 1949, 1950 and 1951.

1959 Nash Metropolitan

 Nash Metropolitan

Nash-Kelvinator’s President George Mason felt Nash had the best chance of reaching a larger market in building small cars. He directed Nash towards the development of the first compact of the post war era, the 1950 Nash Rambler, which was marketed as an up-market, feature-laden convertible. Mason also arranged for the introduction of the Austin-built small Metropolitan from Britain, which was introduced as a 1954 model.

The full-size Nash Airflytes were completely re-designed for 1952, and were promoted as the Golden Airflytes, in honor of Nash Motors’ 50th anniversary as an automobile builder (the company now counting the years of the Thomas B. Jeffery Company as part of their own heritage.) “Great Cars Since 1902” became one of the company’s advertising slogans. Nash was one of the few American car manufacturers to introduce an all-new 1952 model other than Ford Motor Company. The new Golden Airflytes presented a more modern, squared-off look than did the 1949–1951 models, which were often compared to upside-down bathtubs. Pininfarina of Italy was contracted by Nash to design a body for the new Golden Airflyte; however management was unhappy with the design and the result was a combination of an in-house design and Pininfarina’s model.

Using its Kelvinator refrigeration experience, the automobile industry’s first single-unit heating and air conditioning system was introduced by Nash in 1954. This was a compact, affordable system for the mass market with controls on the dash and an electric clutch. Entirely incorporated within the engine bay, the combined heating and cooling system had cold air for passengers enter through dash-mounted vents. Competing systems used a separate heating system and an engine-mounted compressor with an Evaporator in the car’s trunk to deliver cold air through the rear package shelf and overhead vents. The alternative layout pioneered by Nash “became established practice and continues to form the basis of the modern and more sophisticated automatic climate control systems.”

Introduction of the Nash-Healey

1952 Pininfarina-styled Nash-Healey roadster

 1952 Pininfarina-styled Nash-Healey roadster

1951 saw the introduction of the Anglo-American Nash-Healey sports car, a collaborative effort between George Mason and British sports car manufacturer Donald Healey. Healey designed and built the chassis and suspension and also, until 1952, the aluminum body which another British manufacturer, Panelcraft Sheet Metal Co. Ltd., fabricated in Birmingham. Nash shipped the powertrain components. Healey assembled the cars, which were then shipped to the U.S. for sale. In 1952 the Italian designer Battista Farina restyled the body, and its construction changed to steel and aluminum. High costs, low sales and Nash’s focus on the Rambler line led to the termination of Nash-Healey production in 1954 after 506 automobiles had been produced.

Mason commissioned Farina to design a Rambler-based two-seater coupe called the Palm Beach, which may have been intended as a successor to the Nash-Healey. However the project did not progress beyond a concept car

For European endurance racing Healey and his staff designed and built three special Nash-Healeys with spartan, lightweight aluminum racing bodies. These competition versions entered four consecutive Le Mans races and one Mille Miglia. They bore no outward resemblance to the production Nash-Healeys, none of which ever contested these races.

At Le Mans they achieved fourth overall in 1950, sixth overall and fourth in class in 1951, third overall and first in class in 1952, and eleventh overall in 1953. In the Mille Miglia they finished ninth overall in 1950 and seventh overall, fourth in class, in 1952.

Creation of American Motors

1955 Nash Rambler Cross Country Stationwagon

 1955 Nash Rambler Cross Country station wagon

In January 1954 Nash announced the acquisition of the Hudson Motor Car Company as a friendly merger, creating American Motors Corporation (AMC). To improve the financial performance of the combined companies, all production beginning with the 1955 Nash and Hudson models would happen at Nash’s Kenosha plant. Nash would focus most of its marketing dollars on its smaller Rambler models, and Hudson would focus its marketing dollars on its full-sized cars.

For 1955, all senior Hudson and Nash automobiles were based on a shared common unitized body shell, but with individual powertrains and separate, non-interchangeable body parts. This mimicked the longtime practice Big Three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) that allowed for maximum manufacturing economy. Even with the merger forming AMC, the independent automakers held to a total of about four percent of the market and had to innovate to lower their expenses and tooling costs for new models.

The Nash Metropolitan produced with the British Motor Corporation, which had been marketed under both the Nash and Hudson brands, became a make unto its own in 1957, as did the Rambler. The Ramblers quickly overtook Nash and Hudson as the leading line of cars manufactured by AMC.

Soon after the 1954 merger, CEO George Mason died. Mason’s successor, George W. Romney, pinned the future of the company on an expanded Rambler line of compact-sized cars, and began the process of phasing out the Nash and Hudson nameplates by the end of the 1957 model year. Romney decided to leave the standard full-size car market to the Big Three. Nash and Hudson production ended with the last Hornet made on June 25, 1957. From 1958 to 1965, Rambler was the only marque sold by AMC, other than the Metropolitan, which remained in dealer showrooms until 1962. Under the tenure of Roy Abernethy, the Rambler name was phased out beginning in 1965 and discontinued after 1969.

In 1970, American Motors acquired Kaiser Jeep (the descendant of Willys-Overland Motors) and its Toledo, Ohio, based manufacturing facilities. In the early 1980s, AMC entered into a partnership with Renault which was looking for a re-entry into the American market in the 1980s. AMC was ultimately acquired by Chrysler Corporation in 1987, becoming the Jeep-Eagle division.


Nash automobile brands

LaFayette Motors

LaFayette Logo

1921 LaFayette Four-Door Coupe

LaFayette Four-Door Coupe, 1921

The LaFayette Motors Corporation was a United States-based automobile manufacturer. Founded in 1919, LaFayette Motors was named in honor of the Marquis de la Fayette, and LaFayette autos had a cameo of the Marquis as their logo.


LaFayette was originally headquartered in Mars Hill, Indianapolis, Indiana and made luxury motor cars, beginning in 1920. LaFayette innovations include the first electric clock in an auto. In 1921, Charles W. Nash became president of LaFayette. Nash was already president of Nash Motors, but for a time the two brands remained separate companies, although Nash Motors was the principal LaFayette Motors stock holder. In the 20’s rumors circulated about Pierce-Arrow merging with LaFayette, Rolls-Royce or General Motors.

In 1922, LaFayette’s facilities were moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In 1924, Nash Motors became full owner of LaFayette Motors, and the name was retired soon after. Its factories were quickly put to a new, more profitable use: the manufacture of Ajax motor cars.

In 1934, Nash re-introduced the LaFayette name, this time for a line of smaller, less expensive autos. In 1935, Nash introduced a series known as the “Nash 400” to fill the perceived price gap between the LaFayette and the Nash. By 1937, it was determined that this perceived gap wasn’t so important after all, and that Nash Motors was marketing too many models. The LaFayette and the Nash 400 were combined into a single model called the Nash LaFayette 400 for 1937, and the LaFayette ceased to be regarded as a separate make of car. For 1938, this became simply the Nash LaFayette, and the LaFayette line continued as Nash’s lowest-priced offering through 1940. For 1941, the LaFayette was replaced by the all-new unibody Nash 600.


Ajax (American automobile)

Ajax Six
1926 Ajax sedan built by nash

1926 Ajax sedan
Manufacturer Nash Motors Company
Also called Nash Light Six
  • 27,300 units
  • 38,622 units
Assembly Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style
  • 2-door sedan
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door touring
Layout FR layout
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) I6
Transmission 3-speed manual
Wheelbase 109 in (2,769 mm)
Successor Nash Light Six

1925 Ajax advertisement

 1925 Ajax advertisement

Ajax Six Nash-Built radiator ornament

“Ajax Six Nash-Built” radiator ornament

The Ajax was an American automobile brand manufactured by the Nash Motors Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1925 and 1926. The Ajax was produced in the newly acquired Mitchell Motors Company plant in Racine, Wisconsin. In 1926, all Ajax models were converted into Nash Light Sixes.


Demand for Nash automobiles was so high that by November 1924, the company’s existing plants were operating around the clock six days a week and Charles W. Nash announced a US$1 million expansion at the automaker’s original Kenosha facility.

Mitchell Motors Company was the manufacturer of Mitchell brand automobiles from 1903 to 1923. In April 1923 the company was forced into bankruptcy. At the 31 January 1924 auction of the Mitchell land and buildings with 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) of floor space, Charles Nash offered the winning bid of $405,000.

The Ajax was built using machinery moved from Nash’s other acquisition, the LaFayette Motors Company of Milwaukee, and installed in the Racine plant. Thus, new Ajax was based on an earlier design, premium version of the Lafayette from the early 1920s. The Ajax was available in three body styles: 4-door sedan, 4-door touring, and a 2-door sedan. The advertised retail price was $865 for the five-passenger touring car, and $995 for the five-passenger four-door sedan.

The Ajax came standard with engineering and quality features that included a 170 cu in (2.8 L) L-head Nash straight-six engine with a seven main bearing crankshaft, force-feed lubrication system, three-speed transmission, four-wheel brakes (at that time unusual for a car of its price), steel disc wheels, as well as mohair velvet upholstery and an electric clock. The Ajax Six produced “genuine 60 mph” (97 km/h) driving, and its features were not found on cars of this size and low price.

Badge engineering

Despite receiving good reviews from the automotive press and the general public, the Ajax brand was discontinued in 1926 after over 22,000 models were sold. Charles Nash ordered that the production continue instead as the Nash Light Six. The Nash was a known and respected automobile brand that was the name of the company’s founder. Production was stopped for two days while Nash hubcaps, emblems, and radiator shells were trucked to Racine where all unshipped Ajax brand cars were converted into Nash badged automobiles. Likewise, changeover kits were sent to dealers to retrofit all unsold cars by removing Ajax badges such as hubcaps.

One of the first cases of “badge engineering” began in 1917 with Texan automobile assembled in Fort Worth, Texas, that made use of

1916 Elcar

Elcar bodies made in Elkhart, Indiana. However, the transformation of the Ajax was “probably the industry’s first example of one car becoming another.” Nash even made the kits available at no charge to consumers who bought Ajax cars, but did not want to own an orphaned make automobile, to protect the investment they had made in a Nash Motors product. Because of this, few unmodified original Ajax cars have survived.

Sales of the rechristened Nash Light Six improved with the more known moniker. The 1926 four-door sedan was now advertised for $1,525. The combined Ajax and Nash Light accounted for more than 24% of the automaker’s total production in 1926.



1951 Nash-Healey PR-photo


Thomas B Jeffery Company Logo


Nash automobiles

1946 Nash 600, grey two-door sedanNash 600

1951 Nash Statesman Super Four-Door SedanNash Statesman

1932 Nash 1082R Ambassador Rumble Seat Coupe — Side viewAmbassador

1953-1961 Nash MetropolitanMetropolitan – built in the United Kingdom by Austin

1952 Pininfarina-styled Nash-Healey roadsterNash-Healey – cooperation with Donald Healy, assembled in the UK and Italy

1952 Nash Rambler Custom station wagonNash Rambler

Nash Rambler served as the platform for the first generation Rambler American



Like most American manufacturers of the fifties, Nash was a participant in the Grand National Stock Car series.

See also

R-2800 Double Wasp Pratt & Whitney EnginePratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp, Nash built many of these during WWII.

My Picture Collection:

That was all about Nash I could find

RAMBLER automobile Kenosha Wisconsin USA Part IV


RAMBLER automobile Kenosha Wisconsin USA Part IV

1900 Emblem Rambler

RAMBLER automobile

1960 Rambler R

Kenosha Wisconsin USA Part II

for part one:

for nash:

for hudson:

for amc:

AMC Javelin

AMC Javelin

1971 AMC Javelin SST
Manufacturer American Motors Corporation(AMC)
Also called Rambler Javelin (Australia)
Javelin 79-K (Europe)
VAM Javelin (Mexico)
Production 1967 – 1974
Assembly Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States
Port Melbourne, Australia
Osnabrück, Germany (Karmann)
Mexico City, Mexico
Caracas, Venezuela
Designer Richard A. Teague
Body and chassis
Class Pony car
Muscle car
Body style 2-door hardtop
Layout FR layout
Platform AMC’s “junior” cars

The AMC Javelin is a front-engine, rear wheel drive, two-door hardtop manufactured and marketed by AMC in two generations, 1968-1970 and 1971-1974. Styled by Dick Teague, the Javelin was available in a range of trim and engine levels, from economical pony car to muscle car variants. In addition manufacture in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Javelins were assembled under license in Germany, Mexico, Venezuela, as well as Australia —and were marketed globally.

As the winner of Trans-Am race series in 1971, 1972, and 1976, the second-generation AMX variant was the first pony car to be used as a normal highway patrol police car by a U.S. organization.



 AMC Javelin badge

American Motors’ Javelin served as the company’s entrant into the “pony car” market created by the Ford Mustang. The design evolved from two AMX prototypes shown in AMC’s “Project IV” concept cars during 1966. One was a fiberglass two-seat “AMX”, and the other was a four-seat “AMX II”. Both of these offerings reflected the company’s strategy to shed its “economy car” image and appeal to a more youthful, performance-oriented market.

Sales of convertibles were dropping and AMC did not have the resources to design separate fastback and notchback hardtops that were available on the Mustang and on the second-generation Plymouth Barracuda, so the AMC designer team under Richard A. Teague penned only one body style, “a smooth semi-fastback roofline that helped set Javelin apart from other pony cars.”

The Javelin was built on AMC’s “junior” (compact) Rambler American platform only as a two-door hardtop model to be a “hip”, dashing, affordable pony car, as well as available in muscle car performance versions. “Despite management’s insistence on things like good trunk space and rear- seat room, Teague managed to endow the Javelin with what he termed the wet T-shirt look: voluptuous curves with nary a hint of fat.”

First generation

1968 and 1969

1968 AMC Javelin base model
Also called IKA Mica (Argentina)
Rambler Javelin (Australia)
VAM Javelin (Mexico)
Production August 1967 – July 1969
Designer Richard A. Teague
Body and chassis
Related AMC AMX
  • 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 145 hp (108 kW; 147 PS) 1-bbl or 155 hp (116 kW; 157 PS) 2-bbl
  • 252 cu in (4.1 L) I6 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS) 2-bbl (1969, Mexico only)
  • 290 cu in (4.8 L) V8 2-bbl 225 hp (168 kW; 228 PS)
  • 343 cu in (5.6 L) V8 235 hp (175 kW; 238 PS) 2-bbl or 280 hp (209 kW; 284 PS) 4-bbl
  • 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8 315 hp (235 kW; 319 PS)
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
3-speed “Shift-Command” on console
Wheelbase 109 in (2,769 mm)
Length 189.2 in (4,806 mm)
Width 71.9 in (1,826 mm)
Height 51.8 in (1,315.7 mm)
Curb weight 2,836 lb (1,286.4 kg)

 1968 AMC Javelin

The Javelin debuted on August 22, 1967 for the 1968 model year, and the new models were offered for sale from September 26, 1967 with prices starting at $2,743.

The car incorporated several safety innovations including interior windshield posts that were “the first industry use of fiberglass safety padding”, and the flush-mounted paddle-style door handles that later became an enduring AMC safety and styling signature. To comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety standards there were exterior side marker lights, and three-point seat belts and headrests for the front seats, while the interior was devoid of bright trim to help reduce glare.


 SST interior

The new Javelin “offered comfortable packaging with more interior and luggage space than most of its rivals” with adequate leg- and headroom in the back and a trunk capacity of 10.2 cubic feet (288.83 l). There were no side vent windows. Flow-through ventilation extracted interior air through apertures in the doors controlled by adjustable flap valves in the bottom of the door armrests. All Javelins came with thin-shell bucket seats and a fully carpeted interior, while the SST model had additional appearance and comfort items that included reclining front seat backs, simulated wood grained door panel trim, and a sports-style steering wheel. The Javelin’s instruments and controls were set deep in a padded panel, with the rest of the dashboard was set well forward, away from the passenger.

The car’s front end had what AMC called a “twin-venturi” look with recessed honeycomb grille and outboard-mounted headlamps, and matching turn signals were set into the bumper. There was a pair of simulated air scoops on the hood and the windshield was raked at 59 degrees for a “sporty overall appearance.”

Road & Track magazine compared a Javelin favorably to its competitors on its introduction in 1968, describing its “big, heavy, super-powerful engine” as “an asset in such a small vehicle”, and the styling as “pleasant”. Motor Trend, putting the Javelin at the top of the “sports-personal” category in its annual “Car of the Year” issue, said it was “the most significant achievement for an all-new car” and “the most notable new entry in [its] class.”

Available only in a two-door hardtop, body style, the Javelin came in base and more premium SST models. Standard engines were a 232 cu in (3.8 L) straight-6 or a 290 cu in (4.8 L) two-barrel carburetor V8. Optional was a 343 cu in (5.6 L) V8 in regular gasoline two-barrel, or high-compression, premium-fuel four-barrel versions. Racing driver Gordon Johncock said the Javelin had “a nice, all-round blend of features”, that it “stacks up as a roomy, comfortable, peppy and handsome example of a so-called “pony car” and that after his road test he “wanted to take it home.”

With the standard straight-six engine, the Javelin cruised at 80 miles per hour (129 km/h) when equipped with an automatic transmission, while those with the small 290 cu in (4.8 L) V8 had a top speed of 100 miles per hour (161 km/h). A three-speed “Shift-Command” automatic transmission was optional with a center console-mounted gear selector. Forward settings included “1”, “2”, and a “D” mode that was fully automatic, and the driver could choose to shift manually through all three gears.

The optional “Go Package” included a four-barrel carbureted 343 cu in (5.6 L) AMC V8, power front disc brakes, heavy-duty suspension, dual exhausts with chromed outlets, wide body-side stripes, and E70x14 red-line tires mounted on chrome-plated “Magnum 500” styled road wheels. A 343 Go Pac Javelin could accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in 8 seconds, had a top speed approaching 120 miles per hour (193 km/h),[17] and could run a quarter-mile in 15.4 seconds. The largest engine in the first few months of 1968 production was “a 5.6 litre V-8 that delivered 284 SAE bhp, which made the car dangerously fast.”

In mid-1968, the new AMX 390 cu in (6.4 L) engine was offered as a “Go-package” option with a floor-mounted automatic or manual four-speed transmission. “Its impressive 315 hp (235 kW; 319 PS) and 425 pound force-feet (576 N·m) of torque could send the Javelin from zero to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in the seven-second range.”

American Motors supported the AMX and Javelin muscle-models with a range of factory-approved “Group 19” dealer-installed performance accessories. These included among others, dual four-barrel cross-ram intake manifolds, high-performance camshaft kits, needle-bearing roller rocker arms, and dual-point ignition.

The average age of the “first 1,000 Javelin buyers was 29 — a full ten years under the median for all AMC customers.” The Javelin’s marketing campaign, created by Mary Wells Lawrence of Wells, Rich, and Greene Inc, was innovative and daring in its approach. Print and TV advertisements broke with the traditional convention of not attacking the competition, and some compared the AMC Javelin to the Ford Mustang side by side, as well as showing the Mustang being beaten to pieces with sledgehammers.

The car was longer and roomier than the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Plymouth Barracuda, and its shape was described as “exciting and beautiful”. Total production for the 1968 model year was 55,125.


1969 AMC_Javelin_1969_Craig_Breedlove_roof_spoiler

 Breedlove roof spoiler

Minor changes for the second model year included revised side striping, an altered grille with a bull’s eye emblem, and trim upgrades. An optional side-stripe package consisted of a C-shaped graphic that started behind the front wheel openings. The optional (standard with the “Go-Package”) five-spoke Magnum 500 steel road wheels now came with a stainless steel trim ring. The interior received new door panels and upgraded carpeting. Instrumentation featured a 0–8,000 rpm tachometer that now matched the speedometer in style. Late model-year production received a cowl over the instrument panel directly in front of the driver.

The “Mod Javelin” Package was introduced mid-year in 1969 and included a “Craig Breedlove” roof-mounted spoiler, simulated “exhaust” rocker trim, and twin blacked-out simulated air scoops on the hood. Optional “Big Bad” paint (neon brilliant blue, orange, or green) also became available from mid-1969 and came with matching front and rear painted bumpers, as well as two vertical rubber-faced painted bumper guards for the rear and a special bright lower grille molding for the front bumper. These optional colors were available on all Javelins through 1970.

The Go-Package option was available with the four-barrel 343 or 390 engines, and continued to include disc brakes, “Twin-Grip” (limited slip) differential, red-line performance E70x14 tires on “Magnum 500” styled wheels, heavy-duty suspension with thicker sway-bars, and other enhancements. Starting in January 1969, four-speed manual transmissions came with a Hurst floor shifter.

Production total for the 1969 model year was 40,675.

1969 AMC Javelin
SST with vinyl-covered roof and “Magnum 500” wheels
“Big Bad Orange” with full-length body side stripes
SST with “C” stripe


American Motors entered the Javelin in dragstrip and Trans-Am Series racing.

In 1968 Kaplan Engineering (Ron Kaplan and Jim Jeffords) had been contracted by AMC to run two AMC Javelins in the SCCA’s Trans-Am series. For 1968, three cars were actually constructed: two for racing and one for shows and demonstrations. In 1969, Jeffords left the team and Kaplan was contracted to run the program. Using his developmental work from the prior year, Kaplan built three more cars, two for AMC and one for himself using his own finances.

For 1968, the initial drivers had been George Follmer (#1) and Peter Revson (#2). Revson was let go part way through the year after a disagreement with management. The team picked up Lothar Motschenbach for the next two races in Canada.

The first year of the AMC program was a success; the team was written up as a “Cinderella” team. American Motors placed third in the over-2-liter class of the 1968 series, and established a record as the only factory entry to finish every Trans-Am race entered.

The overall performance of the team in 1968 can be attributed to the heroic efforts of Kaplan, his professional staff, and some very significant help from other west coast manufacturers. Kaplan had set out to resolve handling problems and fix the engine oiling problems. Mid-season he also started the development of a dual-carburetor cross-ram manifold and (looking ahead) a new engine casting.For 1968, the team had consistently improved and suffered only one DNF from an engine problem. Any stories concerning difficulties invariably focused on the inadequacies of the original AMC engines. This was largely true but obscured a number of other important issues. For example, the race program idea was floated from inside a company that had absolutely no performance parts, no test facility, and no technical support for the program. As for the production cars, they had no anti-dive potential built into the uni-body; they had only single-barrel carburetor manifolds; and even when running properly, they didn’t make as much horsepower as the competitors. The only good thing about the 1968 deal was the support that Jeffords and Kaplan received from Carl Chakmakian, who was the primary contact on the AMC program. Carl was a “fixer” and knew how to get things done.

The development of the Watt’s linkage rear suspension came first. This was followed by the front anti-dive modifications. The development of the anti-dive geometry was actually done quite quickly. To meet AMC’s timing schedule, Kaplan copied the basic design of the inner fender components from a Mustang. He added two more degrees of anti-dive to the Mustang’s 4 degrees, made the drawings, and sent them to the factory. The manufacture of the parts was then contracted to Central Stamping. Despite succeeding in developing the parts as a rush job, however, there was no capacity to fit the components to the unibody on the 1969 assembly line, so it fell to Kaplan to incorporate them into the cars when they arrived in his shop as bodies in white. Other related suspension pieces were also acquired through specialty manufacturers who were also building performance parts for Ford.

The whole question of reliable and powerful engines took a bit more time. The team had started the 1968 season with two engines from TRACO. But although TRACO had worked hard to resolve oiling issues and to generate as much power as they could, single-carb layout and the basic two-bolt-main block were serious limitations.

To develop a cross-ram manifold, Kaplan went to Vic Edlebrock, who not only loaned him a pattern maker but also gave him a lot of personal help. Kaplan also got some help from Champion Sparkplugs who let him use their dyno room to fine-tune and correct any design problems.

Then, towards the end of the 1968 year, Kaplan enlisted some help from Dan Byer, a retired engineer from AMC, for the development of a new block casting. Using the basic AMC 390 drawings, they added more mass for four-bolt mains and improved the oiling system. A run of 50 blocks was contracted to Central Foundries in Windsor, Ontario. Because this was a small run, and there was little factory support, it fell to Kaplan and his staff to clean up the blocks from the sand casting, hone the various passages and, finally, send them to AMC’s “Parts Central” in Kenosha. From there, they could draw on the inventory, as required.

If one were to put a small number of specially cast blocks into the general inventory, chances are pretty good that you’d never find them again, so Kaplan painted all the blocks in a bright orange so they could identify them on the transfer line. Kaplan drew on about 12 of these special castings during his development program and two were eventually (much later) sold to customers.

Kaplan’s specific preparations included shaving the deck on the new block by about 5/8 inch and heavily modifying the ports. The new cross-ram manifold was installed and Kaplan would add his own specifically designed pistons, a shorter throw crankshaft and new camshaft. While a few engines were lost during testing, the whole design proved quite reliable.

In the intervening period, AMC replaced Kaplan’s race program contact with two new men (Chris Schoenlip and John Voelbel from Leaver Brothers (soap marketing people)), who had no experience in the automotive field and they were absolutely ignorant of anything to do with racing. They would ultimately prove to be more trouble than they were worth. In fact, it was these two new boys who failed to enter the parts to the official AMC parts system and to submit homologation papers. The importance of this mistake became clear when Kaplan sent the first car to run at the first race of the 1969 season at Jackson, Michigan. Kaplan sent one of the older 1968 cars with a new engine but, because they were late and had not qualified, the team had to do some consensus building amongst the other racers to permit them to enter at all. When the SCCA agreed to let them run, they started last but, within 10 laps, they were chasing Donohue down and the time differential was narrowing rapidly. After the race, the SCCA asked to see the engine but he had sent the cars home already. At Lime Rock, the SCCA wanted to tear down the engines before they could start the race. Kaplan bought some time by countering with the challenge that they would have to tear down the Camaros and Mustangs too. That wasn’t going to happen so they were allowed to run. It was clear, however, that the problems with the SCCA weren’t going away, at least until the parts could be homologated.

AMC did eventually assign a part number (after the SCCA program) and two blocks were later sold to customers.

For 1969, the season started with Ron Grable (#4) and John Martin (#3). But this time it was Martin who was released mid-season. Jerry Grant replaced him in the #3 car.

It was at this point that Kaplan approached AMC management and proposed that the whole concept behind the 1969 contract be modified. He suggested that AMC should not compete in the actual races, since the new engines weren’t recognized and the old engines weren’t competitive. Instead, Kaplan suggested that they go to the tracks on the subsequent Mondays and run a developmental program using Sunday’s winning times as the benchmark. AMC didn’t agree and Kaplan ran the year with the engines on hand. Because the older style engines weren’t competitive, results were poor and, to add insult to injury, there were a series of budget cuts. It was a downward spiral.

Kaplan was having trouble remaining calm about the situation and, after the final race at Riverside, he decided he would drop all of AMC’s material at their zone office in El Segundo, California, and take a month to think about the next year. When he came back, he found that a deal had already been cut with Roger Penske and he was out.

Penske picked up all the team cars and equipment from the El Segundo offices and shipped everything back to his shop in Pennsylvania. Through the fall of 1969 and into the winter, Penske used the no. 3 Jerry Grant car for developmental purposes. When he acquired the 1969 cars, Penske found that Ron Kaplan had already done considerable work with suspension but he felt that the front suspension could still be further developed. With Mark Donohue doing the testing, Penske’s team lowered the front of the car and replaced the rubber bushings in the radius rods with heim joints. New roll bars were also developed. After several months of development, Donohue felt that the team now had car that drove like it was on rails.

At this point, Penske built all new cars for his own team and sold-off all the earlier Kaplan cars and equipment. Mark Donohue was in charge of selling-off the inventory.

See more on the 1970-71 seasons further below, under “Penske”.



1970 AMC Javelin SST with “Go Package”
Also called Rambler Javelin (Australia)
VAM Javelin (Mexico)
Production August 1969 – July 1970
  • 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 145 hp (108 kW; 147 PS) 1-bbl or 155 hp (116 kW; 157 PS) 2-bbl
  • 252 cu in (4.1 L) I6 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS) 2-bbl (Mexico only)
  • 304 cu in (5.0 L) V8 2-bbl 225 hp (168 kW; 228 PS)
  • 360 cu in (5.9 L) V8 245 hp (183 kW; 248 PS) 2-bbl or 285 hp (213 kW; 289 PS) 4-bbl
  • 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8 325 hp (242 kW; 330 PS)
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
3-speed “Shift-Command” on console
Wheelbase 110 in (2,794 mm)
Length 191.04 in (4,852 mm)


The 1970 Javelins featured a new front end design with a wide “twin-venturi” front grille incorporating the headlamps and a longer hood. It also had a new rear end with full-width taillamps and a single center mounted backup light. This was a one-year only design. Side marker lights were now shared with several other AMC models. The exterior rear view mirror featured a new “aero” design and in some cases matched the car’s body color. The three “Big Bad” exterior paints continued to be optional on the 1970 Javelins, but they now came with regular chrome bumpers. Underneath the restyle was a new front suspension featuring ball joints, upper and lower control arms, coil springs, and shock absorbers above the upper control arms, as well as trailing struts on the lower control arms.

The 1970 AMC Javelins also introduced Corning‘s new safety glass, which was thinner and lighter than standard laminated windshields. This special glass featured a chemically hardened outer layer. It was produced in Blacksburg, Virginia in a refitted plant that included tempering, ion exchange, and “fusion process” in new furnaces that Corning had developed in order to be able to supply to the big automakers.

The engine lineup for 1970 was changed with the introduction of two new V8 engines: a base 304 cu in (5.0 L) and an optional 360 cu in (5.9 L) to replace the 290 and the 343 versions. The top optional 390 cu in (6.4 L) continued, but it was upgraded with new cylinder heads featuring 51 cc combustion chambers, increasing power to 325 hp (242 kW). The code remained “X” for the engine on the vehicle identification number(VIN). Also new was the “power blister” hood, featuring two large openings as part of a functional cold ram-air induction system; this was included with the “Go Package” option.

Many buyers selected the “Go Package”, available with the 360 and 390 four-barrel V8 engines. This package as in prior years included front disc brakes, a dual exhaust system, heavy-duty suspension with anti-sway bar, improved cooling, 3.54 rear axle ratio, and wide Goodyear white-lettered performance tires on styled road wheels.

The interior for 1970 was also a one-year design featuring a broad dashboard (wood grained on SST models), new center console, revised interior door panel trim, and tall “clamshell” bucket seats with integral headrests available in vinyl, corduroy, or optional leather upholstery. A new two-spoke steering wheel was available with a “Rim Blow” horn.

A comparison road test of four 1970 pony cars by Popular Science described the Javelin’s interior as the roomiest with good visibility except for a small blind spot in the right rear quarter and the hood scoop, while also offering the biggest trunk with 10.2 cubic feet (289 l) of room. It was a close second to the Camaro in terms of ride comfort, while the 360 cu in (5.9 L) engine offered “terrific torque.” The 4-speed manual Javelin was the quickest of the cars tested, reaching 0 to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in 6.8 seconds.

1970 AMC Javelin
SST with “halo” vinyl-covered roof
SST with full vinyl-covered roof
“Go Package” 390 engine


One of the biggest surprises of the 1970 motorsports season was the announcement that Penske Racing had taken over the AMC Javelin program, thus leaving the Camaro Trans-Am program to Jim Hall. American Motors hired Roger Penske and driver Mark Donohue to seriously campaign Javelins in SCCA Trans-Am Series. This coincided with the change in the Trans-Am rulebook allowing manufacturers to de-stroke preexisting corporate engines, so AMC’s 390 cu in (6.4 L) was used as the starting point to meet the 5 L (305 cu in) displacement rule that was still in place. The team included former Shelby chassis engineer Chuck Cantwell and a clockwork pit crew. The two-car Javelin effort provided the Bud Moore Ford Boss 302 Mustangs their “closest competition.”AMC finished in second place in the Over 2-liter class of the 1970 series.

Capitalizing on the Javelin’s successes on the race track, AMC began advertising and promoting special models.

Among these was the “Mark Donohue Javelin SST”. A total of 2,501 were built to homologate the Donohue-designed rear ducktail spoiler and were emblazoned with his signature on the right hand side. Designed for Trans Am racing, the rules required factory production of 2,500 spoiler equipped cars. The original plan was to have all Donohue Javelins built in SST trim with the special spoiler, as well as the “Go Package” with Ram Air hood, a choice of a four-speed or automatic transmission on the floor, and a 360 cu in (5.9 L) engine with thicker webbing that allowed it to have four bolt mains. The cars could be ordered in any color (including “Big Bad” exteriors) and upholstery, as well as with any combination of extra cost options.

American Motors did not include any specific identification (VIN code, door tag, etc.) and some “Mark Donohue Signature Edition” cars came through with significant differences in equipment from the factory. This makes it easy to replicate, yet difficult to authenticate a “real” Mark Donohue Javelin.

An estimated 100 “Trans-Am” Javelins replicating Ronnie Kaplan’s race cars were also produced. All cars included the 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8 engine with heavy-duty and performance features along with the front and rear spoilers, and were also painted in AMC racing team’s distinctive Matador Red, Frost White, and Commodore Blue “hash” paint scheme. Designed to commemorate AMC’s entry into SCCA racing, the Trans-Am Javelin’s retail price was $3,995.

The strong participation by AMC in Trans-Am and drag racing served to enhance its image, and notable was that its motorsports efforts were achieved on a shoestring budget with the automaker racking up a respectable number of points against its giant competitors. For example, with an estimated 4.5 million participants and 6 million spectators, drag racing was the fastest growing segment of motorsport in the U.S. The marketing strategy was to appeal to buyers who otherwise would not give AMC a second glance.

1970 AMC Javelin dragstrip car
1970 Javelin Trans-Am

Second generation

1971 – 1974

1974 AMC Javelin AMX with “Go Package”
Also called IKA Mica (Argentina)
Rambler Javelin (Venezuela & Australia)
VAM Javelin (Mexico)
Production August 1970 – 1974
  • 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 135 hp (101 kW) (1971), 100 hp (75 kW) (1972-74)
  • 258 cu in (4.2 L) I6 150 hp (112 kW) (1971), 110 hp (82 kW) (1972-74)
  • 282 cu in (4.6 L) I6 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS) (Mexico only)
  • 304 cu in (5.0 L) V8 2-bbl 210 hp (157 kW) (1971), 150 hp (112 kW) (1972-74)
  • 360 cu in (5.9 L) V8 245 hp (183 kW) 2-bbl, 285 hp (213 kW; 289 PS) 4-bbl (1971), 175 hp (130 kW) 2-bbl (1972-74), 195 hp (145 kW; 198 PS) 4-bbl (1972-73), 220 hp (164 kW; 223 PS) 4-bbl (1974)
  • 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 335 hp (250 kW) (1971), 255 hp (190 kW) (1972-74)
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
3-speed “Torque-Command” on console
Wheelbase 109 in (2,769 mm)
Length 191.8 in (4,872 mm)
Curb weight 2,875 lb (1,304.1 kg) – 3,184 lb (1,444.2 kg)

The AMC Javelin was restyled for the 1971 model year. The “1980-looking Javelin” design was purposely made to give the sporty car “individuality,” even at “the risk of scaring some people off.”

The second generation became longer, lower, wider, and heavier than its predecessor. Wheelbase was increased by 1-inch (25 mm) to 110 in (2,794 mm). The indicated engine power outputs also changed from 1971 to 1972-74. Actual power output remained the same, but the U.S. automobile industry followed the SAE horsepower rating method that changed from “gross” in 1971 and prior years to “net” in 1972 and later years.


The new design incorporated an integral roof spoiler and sculpted fender bulges. The new body departed from the gentle, tucked-in look of the original.

The media noted the revised front fenders (originally designed to accommodate oversized racing tires) that “bulge up as well as out on this personal sporty car, borrowing lines from the much more expensive Corvette.” The new design also featured an “intricate injection moulded grille.”

The car’s dashboard was asymmetrical, with “functional instrument gauges that wrap around you with cockpit efficiency”. This driver-oriented design contrasted with the symmetrical interior of the economy-focused 1966 Hornet (Cavalier) prototype.

AMC offered a choice of engines and transmissions. Engines included a 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 and a four-barrel 401 cu in (6.6 L) AMC V8 with high compression ratio, forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods engineered to withstand 8000 rpm. The BorgWarner T-10 four-speed manual transmission came with a Hurst floor shifter.

From 1971, the AMX was no longer available as a two-seater. It evolved into a premium high-performance edition of the Javelin.

The new Javelin-AMX incorporated several racing modifications and AMC advertised it as “the closest thing you can buy to a Trans-Am champion.” The car had a fiberglass full-width cowl induction hood, as well as spoilers front and rear for high-speed traction. Testing at the Ontario Motor Speedway by Penske Racing Team recorded that the 1971 Javelin AMX’s rear spoiler added 100 lb (45.4 kg) of downforce. Mark Donohue also advised AMC to make the AMX’s grille flush for improved airflow, thus the performance model received a stainless steel mesh screen over the standard Javelin’s deep openings.

The performance-upgrade “Go Package” provided the choice of a 360 or 401 4-barrel engine, and included “Rally-Pac” instruments, a handling package for the suspension, “Twin-Grip” limited-slip differential, heavy-duty cooling, power-assisted disc brakes, white-letter E60x15 Goodyear Polyglas tires on 15×7-inch styled slotted steel wheels) used on the Rebel Machine, a T-stripe hood decal, and a blacked-out rear taillight panel.

The 3,244-pound (1,471 kg) 1971 Javelin AMX with a 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 ran the quarter-mile in the mid-14 second range at 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) on low-lead, low-octane gas.

1971 AMC Javelin
SST with “canopy” vinyl-covered roof
AMX performance model
Duck-tail AMX spoiler


The 1972 model year Javelins featured a new “egg crate” front grille design with a similar pattern repeated on the chrome overlay over the full-width taillights. The AMX version continued with the flush grille. A total of 15 exterior colors were offered with optional side stripes.

To consolidate the product offering, reduce production costs, and offer more value to consumers, the 1972 AMC Javelins were equipped with more standard comfort and convenience items. Engine power ratings were downgraded to the more accurate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) net hp figures. Automatic transmissions were now the TorqueFlite units sourced from Chrysler, called “Torque-Command” by AMC.

American Motors achieved record sales in 1972 by focusing on quality and including an innovative “Buyer Protection Plan” to back its products. This was the first time an automaker promised to repair anything wrong with the car (except for tires) for one year or 12,000 miles (19,000 km). Owners were provided with a toll-free telephone number to AMC, as well as a free loaner car if a repair to their car took more than a day.

By this time, the pony car market segment was declining in popularity. One commentator has said that “[d]espite the Javelin’s “great lines and commendable road performance, it never quite matched the competition in the sales arena … primarily because the small independent auto maker did not have the reputation and/or clout to compete with GM, Ford, and Chrysler.”

1972 AMC Javelin
“Egg crate” grille on Javelin SST
Driver-centered interior
Tail lamp design followed the grille

Pierre Cardin

During the 1972 and 1973 model years 4,152 Javelins were produced with optional interior design by fashion designer Pierre Cardin. Official on-sale date was March 1, 1972. The design had multi-colored pleated stripes in red, plum, white, and silver on a black background. Six multi-colored stripes, in a nylon fabric with a stain-resistant silicone finish, ran from the front seats, up the doors, onto the headliner, and down to the rear seats. Chatham Mills produced the fabric for the seat faces. Cardin’s crest appeared on the front fenders. MSRP of the option was $84.95 ($451 in 2015 dollars). A 2007 magazine article described the design as the “most daring and outlandish” of its kind.

Pierre Cardin Javelin
1972 Cardin interior
1972 AMC_Javelin_Cardin_interior_um-head
Headliner with Cardin stripes
1973 Cardin version


The 1973 Javelin had several updates, most noticeably in the design of the taillights and grille, although the AMX grille remained the same. While all other AMC models had bumpers with telescopic shock absorbers, the Javelin and AMX were fitted with a non-telescopic design that had two rigid rubber guards. These allowed the cars to withstand a 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h) front and 2.5-mile-per-hour (4 km/h) rear impacts without damage to the engine, lights, and safety equipment. The doors were also made stronger to comply with new U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety standards that they withstand 2,500 pounds (1,134 kg) of impact for the first 6 inches (152 mm) of crush. The “twin-cove” indentations were eliminated from the Javelin’s roof and a full vinyl top was made available. The 1970-72 “Turtle Back” front seats were replaced by a slimmer, lighter, and more comfortable design that provided more leg room for rear seat passengers.

All engines incorporated new emissions controls. The 1973 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 was rated at net 255 hp (190 kW; 259 PS) and achieved 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 7.7 seconds with a top speed of 115.53 mph (185.93 km/h), despite the Javelin’s four-place size and weight. Performance figures conducted by Road Test magazine of a 1973 Javelin SST with the 401 cu in (6.6 L) 4-barrel V8 engine and 4-speed manual transmission resulted in “respectable” quarter-mile (402 m) dragstrip runs of 15.5 seconds at 91 mph (146 km/h).

American Motors continued its comprehensive “Buyer Protection” extended warranty on all 1973 models that now covered food and lodging expenses of up to $150 should a car require overnight repairs when the owner is more than 100 miles (161 km) away from home. The automaker promoted improved product quality with an advertising campaign that said “we back them better because we build them better”. Profits for the year achieved a record high.

Javelin production for the 1973 model year totaled 30,902 units, including 5,707 AMX units.

Trans Am Victory edition

Javelins driven in the Trans-Am captured the racing title for American Motors in both the 1971 and 1972 seasons. The back-to-back SCCA championships with specially prepared race cars was celebrated by AMC by offering a limited run of “Trans Am Victory” edition 1973 Javelins. The package was available on cars built from October to December 15, 1972, on any Javelin SST, except with the Cardin interior. A single magazine advertisement, featuring the winning race drivers George Follmer and Roy Woods, promoted the special package.

Cars that were ordered with the optional visibility group, light group, insulation group, protection group, and sports-style steering wheel, received at no additional cost (but valued at $167.45) a large “Javelin Winner Trans Am Championship 1971-1972 SCCA” fender decals on the lower portion behind the front wheel openings, as well as 8-slot rally styled steel wheels with E70X14 Polyglass raised while letter tires and a “Space-Saver” spare tire. The Trans Am Victory cars were also typically more “heavily optioned than regular production Javelins.” American Motors designed a quick identification system of its models by an information-rich Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) system. However, because this was only a limited promotional “value added” marketing campaign, except as noted on the original window sticker, there is no VIN or door tag code to distinguish an authentic Trans Am-Victory edition car.

1973 AMC Javelin
1973 AMC_Javelin_(Auto_classique_Combos_Express_'12)
Redesigned grille of the Javelin SST
401 CID V8 with ram air
Javelin AMX rear end



1974 AMC Javelin AMX

By 1974, the automobile marketplace had changed. Mid-year, Chrysler abandoned the pony car market. Whereas Ford replaced its original Mustang with a smaller four-cylinder version, and other pony car manufacturers also downsized engines, the Javelin’s big engine option continued until the production of the model ended in October/November 1974 amidst the Arab oil embargo and overall declining interest in high-performance vehicles.

The 1974 AMX did not do as well in the marketplace when compared to the new Camaro, Firebird, and the downsized Mustang II – all of which saw increased sales. Javelin production meanwhile reached a second-generation high of 27,696 units. Out of that total number, a total of 4,980 Javelin-AMX models were produced for the final model year.

A new seatbelt interlock system prevented the car from being started if the driver and a front passenger were unbuckled. The functional cowl-induction fiberglass hood was no longer available for 1974, and the output of the 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 dropped by 20 hp (15 kW; 20 PS). Some late-production cars came with hoods made from steel.

Several factors led to the demise of the Javelin model, not least of which was the economic climate of the time. Unlike General Motors’ Camaro and Firebird, the 1974 Javelin models were not exempt from new stricter front and rear bumper standards. AMC estimated that approximately $12 million ($63,751,124 in 2015 dollars) would need to be spent in engineering and design work to revise the bumpers to meet the new standards for 1975.

American Motors also introduced the all-new 1974 Matador coupe that was described by Popular Mechanics automotive editor as “smooth and slippery and actually competes with the Javelin for “boss” muscle-car styling”. The automaker also needed a manufacturing line to build its all-new AMC Pacer. Nevertheless, more cars were built during the final year of Javelin production than the prior second-generation years, with 27,696 units built, of which 4,980 (about 15 percent) were Javelin AMX models.


Racing AMC Javelin versions competed successfully in the Trans-Am Series with the Penske Racing/Mark Donohue team, as well as with the Roy Woods ARA team sponsored by American Motors Dealers. The Javelin won the Trans-Am title in 1971, 1972, and 1976. Drivers included George Follmer and Mark Donohue.

One Javelin race car had the distinction of having different sponsors and being piloted by Mark Donohue, Vic Elford, George Follmer, Peter Revson, and Roy Woods. This Javelin actually began life as a 1970 model, but was updated to 1971 sheetmetal. The race car is now restored to its 1972 livery and is driven at Vintage Trans-Am events.

Jim Richards raced a Javelin AMX in the Touring Car Masters in Australia, coming second in the overall 2012 series.

1970 AMC_Javelins_(1970_SST_and_Sunoco)_at_car_show
Trans-Am Sunoco AMX and 1970 Javelin
Jim Richards AMX at the Adelaide Parklands Circuit.

 James Landis 72 Javelin Dirt track race car


In an effort to find a more suitable and lower priced alternative to the traditional large-sized police cruisers, the Alabama Department of Public Safety (ADPS) first took a basic 304 cu in (5.0 L) V8 as a test vehicle, found its power lacking, then sampled a vinyl roofed AMX with a 401 cu in (6.6 L) engine from the local dealer, Reinhart AMC in Montgomery.

Javelins equipped with the 401 cu in (6.6 L) engine proved their performance and beginning in 1971, the Alabama Highway Patrol used them for pursuit and high-speed response calls. The bid price was $3,047 for the 1971 police cruisers, and $3,242 for the 1972 model year versions.

The 132 Javelins purchased during 1971 and 1972 were the first pony cars to be used as a normal highway patrol police car by any U.S. police organization.

The last of ADPS Javelins was retired in 1979. One of the original cars is now part of the Museum at ADPS Headquarters.

International markets



 Right hand drive 1968 Javelin made in Australia

Australian Motor Industries (AMI) assembled right hand drive versions of both the first- and second-generation Javelin models were in Victoria, Australia from CKD kits. The right hand drive dash, interior and soft trim, as well as other components were locally manufactured. The cars were marketed under the historic Rambler name. The AMI Rambler Javelins were the only American “muscle cars” of that era to be sold new in Australia. The Australian Javelins came with top trim and features that included the 343 cu in (5.6 L) 280 bhp (210 kW) V8 engine, three-speed “Shift Command” automatic transmission, and “Twin Grip” limited-slip rear differential. They were more expensive, had more power, and provided more luxury than the contemporary Holden Monaro.



 AMC Javelin by Karmann 1968 brochure cover

Javelins were built in Europe, primarily because they had the largest and most usable rear seat of the American pony cars. The German coach builder, Wilhelm Karmann GmbH assembled 280 complete knock down (CKD) Javelins between 1968 and 1970 that were marketed in Europe. This was a significant business relationship because the Javelin was a completely American-designed car that was made in Germany. Karmann’s “Javelin 79-K” could be ordered with the 232 cu in (3.8 L) six, the 290 cu in (4.8 L) 2-barrel or 343 cu in (5.6 L) 4-barrel V8 engines. About 90% of the parts and components came in crates from the United States. At Karmann’s facility in Rheine the cars were assembled, painted, and test-driven prior to shipment to customers.


Vehículos Automotores Mexicanos (VAM) assembled Javelins in Mexico under license and partial ownership (40% equity share) by AMC from 1968 through 1973. The VAM versions were equipped with different, locally made components, trim and interiors than the equivalent AMC-made models. The Mexican built Javelins came in only one version and had more standard equipment compared to U.S. and Canadian models.


The Javelin was introduced in Mexico by VAM until April 1, 1968, making the model a “1968 and half” similar to the February 1968 debut of the two-seat AMX. The Javelin represented a third line within VAM’s product mix for the first time and the first regular production sports-oriented model. It would eventually become the only AMC muscle car to be available in Mexico. Other AMC muscle cars were equivalents built by VAM or as special editions. The Javelin introduced many firsts for VAM, such as a standard four-speed manual transmission and the option of a three-speed automatic transmission. These were the only transmissions available on the Javelin and only with floor-mounted shifters, just as on the two-seater AMX. Cars with the automatic included a center console with locking compartment, as well as power drum brakes.

The 1968 VAM Javelin featured the 155 hp (116 kW; 157 PS), 8.5:1 compression ratio 232 cu in (3.8 L) six-cylinder engine with two-barrel Carter WCD carburetor, a 3.54:1 rear differential gear ratio, 12-inch heavy duty clutch, manual four-wheel drum brakes, quick-ratio manual steering, electric wipers, electric washers, 8,000 RPM tachometer, 200 km/h speedometer, AM monaural radio, cigarette lighter, front ashtray, locking glove box, courtesy lights, day-night rearview mirror, padded sun visors, two-point front seatbelts, low-back reclining bucket seats, rear ashtray, dual C-pillar-mounted dome lights, dual coat hooks, sports steering wheel, driver’s side remote mirror, side armrests, vinyl door panels with woodgrain accents, bright moldings on top of the doors and rocker panels plus hood and fender extension edges, wheel covers, 7.35×14 tires, protective side moldings, and front fender-mounted Javelin emblems.

The standard trim and features make the VAM Javelin equivalent to the U.S. and Canadian AMC Javelin SST. Factory options included power drum brakes with manual transmission, power steering, heater, center console for the manual transmission, passenger’s side remote mirror, remote controlled driver’s side mirror, custom sport wheels and rear bumper guards. Dealer installed options included side decals, light group, map pouches, vinyl roof, locking gas cap, license plate frames, mud flaps, AM/FM radio, front disk brakes, heavy duty adjustable shocks, and many others.

A unique dealer-installed option also VAM’s own “Go Pack”. This consisted of manual front disk brakes, heavy duty suspension with front sway bar plus rear torsion and traction bars, aluminum four-barrel intake manifold with four-barrel Carter carburetor, headers with equal-length tubes and dual final outlets, dual exhausts, ported head with larger valves and heavy duty springs, 302 degree camshaft, Hurst linkage for the manual transmission, “Rallye Pak” auxiliary gauges on dashboard (different from AMC’s original units), exclusive steering wheel, exclusive dual remote mirrors, and exclusive turbine wheels. The performance upgrades of the Go Pack represented a 40% increase of engine output making the VAM Javelin far more competitive against its V8 rivals from Ford de México,General Motors de México, and Automex (Chrysler de México).

Despite the lack of a V8 engine, the VAM Javelin was a success in both sales and among public opinion.


The 1969 VAM Javelin obtained the previously optional heater as standard equipment, the foot pedals received bright trim and the accelerator was changed into a firewall-mounted unit, a support pull strap was applied on the passenger’s side dashboard above the glove box, the center cover with the radio speaker grid changed into a woodgrain unit. A unique aspect of the 1969 Javelin is that it kept the same gauge configuration as the 1968 models in contrast to AMC’s modifications to the Javelin (and AMX) instrument panel for 1969 with a larger 8,000 RPM tach on the right pod, leaving the smaller left pod exclusive for the clock. The VAM Javelins exterior now had bright trim package with new moldings starting at the corners of the tail lights running on the sides all the way to lower rear corner of the side glass and drip rails plus all around the rear glass and top edge of the C-pillars. The new Javelins looked more luxurious, even though a factory vinyl roof was not available. The front fender emblems were relocated to the base of each C-pillar and were accompanied by red-white-blue bulls eye emblems. A third Javelin emblem was applied near the lower right corner of the grille. The 1969 model year was also VAM’s first self-engineered engine, the 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS), 9.5:1 compression ratio 252 cu in (4.1 L) six-cylinder engine with a two-barrel Carter WCD carburetor and a new VAM-engineered 266 degree camshaft. In both standard and Go Pack versions.


The VAM Javelin saw considerable aesthetic changes with only minor technical ones. The VAM models included the same novelties as its AMC counterpart, such as new headlight bezels and grille, smooth front fender extensions and bumpers without divisions, larger tail lights without wraparound portions and a single central back-up light, larger side marker lights with both light and reflector sections in both amber and red, and new wheel cover designs resembling Magnum 500 wheels. The discontinuation of the central rear reflector in favor of the back-up light resulted in the addition of a fourth Javelin emblem placed on the right corner of the trunk lid. Two hood designs were available, the one with the Ram Air-type scoops at the front center, and a smoother one with the two rectangular stripped bulges. Despite this, no Ram Air system was ever offered for the car, at least at a factory level. In the interior, a new collapsible steering column with built-in ignition switch and anti-theft lock plus a new simulated two-arm three-spoke sports steering wheel with a central bulls eye emblem were present. A secondary anti-theft mechanism was present in the form of the floor-mounted shifters being linked to the ignition switch regardless of the transmission type. AMC’s new dashboard design included full woodgrain surfaces, complete with a new center console and shifter design for the automatic transmission. However, all three gauges were still the same as in the previous two years. New door panels were also included.

The 1970 VAM Javelins received a new front suspension design with dual control arms and ball joints. Units with four-speed manual transmissions incorporated a Hurst linkage as factory-installed equipment, which was previously available only with the optional Go Pack package and separately in certain dealerships. A mid-year change replaced the imported Borg-Warner T10 manual transmission in favor of the Querétaro-produced TREMEC 170-F four-speed model to comply with the percentages of both local and imported equipment mandated by law.


The year of 1971 was vital to VAM as it represented a complete turn around for the company. The new Camioneta Rambler American based on the Hornet Sportabout was introduced, the Rambler Classic obtained all characteristics of AMC’s new Matador, and the Javelin was restyled as a new generation. On the outside, the car was exactly the same as its AMC counterpart with the only exception of the wheels and the lack of factory stripes and decals. A unique characteristic of the second generation VAM Javelin was round porthole opera windows mounted on the C-pillars that made by some VAM dealerships either with or without vinyl roofs.

The standard engine was the new 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS), 9.5:1 compression ratio 282 cu in (4.6 L) six-cylinder engine with Carter ABD two-barrel carburetor. It was VAM’s second self-engineered engine, and taking the Javelin up to performance levels against its V8 competition. The Go Pack version of this engine took the car to its maximum height in terms of performance. The new engine was announced by two “4.6” emblems on the side of both front fenders. The only other technical difference of the new version was a 3.07:1 rear differential gear ratio for units equipped with automatic transmission. The interior saw more changes starting with all-new non-reclining high-back bucket seats with built-in “J” emblems on their seat backs which also appeared at the center of the back of the rear seat. The dashboard was restricted to the unit with woodgrain overlays only; the instrument cluster was once again completely different from everything seen on the AMC Javelins. The right pod housed a clock and tachometer hybrid with exactly the same design and appearance as the US Rallye Pak units, except that it was tuned for six cylinder engines. The center pod had a 240 km/h speedometer, a range that puts it on par as an equivalent to AMC’s 140 MHP unit of the Rallye Pak; but the colors, graphics, and typography of the dial were the same as the standard gauges. This created a high contrast on plain sight between the speedometer and the clock/tack hybrid. On the left pod were the fuel and water temperature gauges with no oil pressure and ammeter gauges to be present. Like the AMC Javelins, the car now held a single dome light at the center of the headliner and a new brake pedal design for units with automatic transmission.


All the quality and engineering upgrades and revisions seen on AMC cars for 1972 were also present in Mexico. The 1972 VAM Javelin saw considerable improvements in terms of both performance and sportiness. Heavy duty springs and shocks along with front sway bar were passed on to the standard equipment list, as also were power front disk brakes and power steering, all regardless of transmission. Units equipped with the four-speed manual transmission changed to a rear differential gear ratio of 3.31:1 and included a center console with locking compartment as standard equipment. The “Shift-Command” Borg-Warner automatic transmissions were replaced by the new “Torque Command” Chrysler-built A998 TorqueFlite. The chromed grille applied on the tail light lenses and the new rectangular grid front grille of the AMC Javelins arrived for the VAM ones. The exterior included for the first time factory stripe in-house designs. The interior saw new seat pattern designs and a new three-spoke sports steering wheel with an “American Motors” legend on the transparent plastic cap of the horn button. A new steering column design with a built-in safety lever to engage the steering lock came and the mechanism blocking the shifters to ignition switch departed.


For the 1973 model year, the VAM Javelin received cosmetic changes. The car incorporated the new smaller rectangular grille design with integrated rectangular parking lights and mesh grille, open air vents under the front of the fenders for cooling the brakes, the “TV screen” tail light design with a larger central bulls eye emblem between them and new original seat patterns. Mechanically, the car was the same as in the year before with the only exception of a new engine head design with larger valves and independent rockers without flute-type shaft. Except for the lack of intake porting, these heads were same units used in the Go Pack engines. These were the most powerful VAM Javelins ever made in stock condition. Similarly to the Mexican originals, the second-generation Javelins were not available with cowl induction hoods as the AMC Javelins in any form. Sales of this year went down from the previous seasons and the beginning of engine emission certification scheduled by the Mexican government the following year would take toll on all high-compression gasoline engines produced in the country. This started to threaten not just the Javelin, but all performance cars produced in Mexico. All this plus the need to open a space to introduce the Gremlin line and the company’s perception that new Matador coupe model could take the position as the image builder and enthusiast generator of the marque prompted VAM to discontinue the Javelin at the end of the 1973 model year production, one year before AMC’s production of the Javelin ended in the U.S.


Constructora Venezolana de Vehículos C.A. was a subsidiary of AMC. The firm assembled AMC Javelins from 1968 to 1974 in its Caracas, Venezuela facility.

The Venezuelan 1968 Javelin was equipped with the 290 cu in (4.8 L) V8 engine. In 1969, it came with the 343 cu in (5.6 L) with automatic or four-speed manual transmission. 1970 saw the Javelin with 360 cu in (5.9 L) automatic or four-speed manual, while the optional 390 cu in (6.4 L) was only available with the four-speed transmission.

For the 1972-1974 (second-generation) Javelins, the only powertrain available for the Venezuelan market was AMC’s 360 cu in (5.9 L) with 4-barrel carburetor coupled to the Chrysler automatic transmission.

These were the fastest production cars in Venezuela, and were also used for drag racing and road racing in local racetracks.


The Javelin is among the “highly prized” models among AMC fans.

The Chicago Sun-Times auto editor Dan Jedlicka wrote that the Javelin, which he describes as “beautifully sculpted” and “one of the best-looking cars of the 1960s”, is “finally gaining the respect of collectors, along with higher prices.” The first generation Javelin has also been described as a “fun and affordable American classic with a rich racing pedigree and style that will always stand out from the omnipresent packs of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler pony cars.”

The AMC Javelin does not command the high prices of some other muscle cars and pony cars, but offers the same kind of style and spirit for collectors. However, in its day the car sold in respectable numbers, regularly outselling both the Plymouth Barracudaand Dodge Challenger that are popular with collectors today.

The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) divides the “muscle” AMC Javelins into two categories: Class 36-e for 1968-69 Javelin base and SST models equipped from the factory with 343 cu in (5.6 L) 4-barrel or larger V8 engines; and Class 36-j for 1970-74 Javelin, SST, and AMX models equipped from the factory with 360 cu in (5.9 L) four-barrel or larger V8 engines. Javelins built with smaller engines compete in the regular AMC classes according to their respective decade of production.

According to estimates from the 2006 Collector Car Price Guide some of the desirable extras include the V8 engines, particularly the 390 and 401 versions, as well as the “Go” package, and special models including the “Big Bad” color versions. The 1971 through 1974 AMX versions also command higher prices, according to several collector price guides. The 1973 Trans Am Victory edition also adds a premium in several classic car appraisal listings, but the distinguishing decal was readily available and it has been added to many Javelins over the years.

The book Keith Martin’s Guide to Car Collecting describes the cars as providing “style, power, nostalgia, and fun by venturing off the beaten path … these overlooked cars offer great value” and includes the 1971-1974 Javelins as one of “nine muscle car sleepers.”

Some owners use the second-generation Javelins to build custom cars.

There are many active AMC automobile clubs, including for owners interested in racing in vintage events. The Javelin shared numerous mechanical, body, and trim parts with other AMC models, and there are vendors specializing in new old stock (NOS) as well as reproduction components.

Collector and custom Javelins
1969 “Mod” Javelin with AMX grille
1970 Goodwood_Breakfast_Club_-_AMC_Javelin_-_Flickr_-_exfordy
1970 Javelin in England
1973 Javelin AMX with 401 V8
1971-74_purple_blown_custom AMC_Javelin_
Custom supercharged AMC V8

AMC Matador

AMC Matador

1976 AMC Matador coupe
Manufacturer American Motors Corporation
Also called American Motors Matador
Rambler Matador (export markets)
VAM Classic (Mexico)
Production 1971–1978
Assembly Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA
Port Melbourne, Australia (AMI)
Mexico City, Mexico (VAM)
Thames, New Zealand (CMI)
Designer Richard A. Teague
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size (1971–1973 and Coupes)
Full-size (1974–1978 sedans and wagons)
Personal luxury (Oleg Cassini and Barcelona)
Body style 2-door hardtop (1971–1973)
2-door coupe (1974–1978)
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Related AMC Ambassador
Engine 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6
258 cu in (4.2 L) I6
252 cu in (4.1 L) I6 (Mexico only)
282 cu in (4.6 L) I6 (Mexico only)
304 cu in (5.0 L) V8
360 cu in (5.9 L) V8
401 cu in (6.6 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed manual (1971–1976)
4-speed manual (1971 only)
3-speed Shift-Command auto (1971 only)
3-speed Torque-Command automatic
Wheelbase 114 in (2,896 mm) coupe
118 in (2,997 mm) sedan and wagon
Length 209.3 in (5,316 mm) coupe
206.1 in (5,235 mm) sedan
205 in (5,207 mm) wagon
Height 51.8 in (1,316 mm) coupe
53.8 in (1,367 mm) sedan
56.4 in (1,433 mm) wagon
Predecessor AMC Rebel

The AMC Matador is a mid-size car that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1971 to 1978. The Matador came in two generations: 1971 to 1973 and a major redesign from 1974 to 1978. The second-generation four-door and station wagon models were classified as full-size cars and did not share the distinctive styling featured by the Matador Coupe that was introduced in 1974.

Factory-backed AMC Matador hardtops and coupes competed in NASCAR stock car racing with drivers that included Mark Donohue and Bobby Allison winning a number of the races. The new Matador Coupe was featured in The Man with the Golden Gun, a James Bond film released in 1974. AMC Matadors were a popular vehicle in the police market as it outperformed most other police cars. It was also featured in many television shows and movies during the 1970s.

The Matador became AMC’s largest automobile following the discontinuation of the flagship AMC Ambassador that was built on the same platform. Premium trim level Oleg Cassini and Barcelona versions of the Matador coupe were positioned in the “personal luxury car” market segment. Matadors were also marketed under the Rambler marque in foreign markets, as well as assembled under license agreements with AMC that included Vehículos Automotores Mexicanos (VAM), as well as built in right-hand-drive versions by Australian Motor Industries (AMI) and by Campbell Motor Industries (CMI) in New Zealand.


The Matador replaced the AMC Rebel, which had been marketed since 1967. With a facelift and a new name, the AMC Matadors were available as a two-door hardtop as well as a four-door sedan and station wagon. The Matador was based on AMC’s “senior” automobile platform shared with the full-size Ambassador line.

The sedan and wagon models “offered excellent value and were fairly popular”, including as a prowl car. Matadors were offered to fleet buyers with various police, taxicab, and other heavy-duty packages. Government agencies, military units, and police departments in the U.S. equipped Matador sedans or wagons with 360 cu in (5.9 L) or 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 engines.

The Matador received a redesign in 1974, in part to meet new safety and crash requirements, as well as a completely different model “to contend with the bull market for plush mid-size coupes that sprang up after the end of the muscle car era.”

First generation


 1972 AMC Matador station wagon


American Motors advertising assured that the new Matador was not just a name change and facelift, but in reality, it was the 1970 Rebel restyled with a longer front clip and a new interior. The 1971 model year Matadors acquired a “beefier” front end look for all three body designs: 2-door hardtop, 4-door sedan, and station wagon. The AMC Matador shared its basic body design from the firewall back with the Ambassador, which was built on the same platform, but had a longer wheelbase and front end sheetmetal, a formal grille and luxurious trim, as well as more standard equipment that included air conditioning.

While “Matador” may have been a move away from connotations of the Confederacy inspired by the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, it did not help solve the obscurity problem, as AMC adopted a “What’s a Matador” advertising campaign. This self-disparaging marketing campaign “turned the styling of anonymity into an asset.” Consumer-research polls conducted by AMC found it meant virility and excitement to consumers. However, American Motors ran into problems in Puerto Rico. Matador turns out to have connotations for “killer” on the island where bull-fighting was abolished when the U.S. took control of Puerto Rico.

The Matador station wagons had an available rear-facing third row bench seat increasing total seating from six to eight passengers. In addition, all wagons included a roof rack and a two-way tailgate that opened when the rear window was down either from the top to serve as an extended flat surface that was even with the load floor, or to swing open like a regular door hinged on the left side.

The Matador came with straight-6 or a number of V8 engines. Transmissions for the Matador included the Borg-Warner sourced “Shift-Command” 3-speed automatic, and a column shifted 3-speed manual or a floor shifted 4-speed manual.

Matador Machine

Continuing the muscle car trend, The Machine was moved from being a distinct AMC Rebel model to the new Matador only as a performance package option on two-door hardtops. The performance options could also be ordered individually making it possible to “Go Package” equip a four-door Matador sedan or station wagon. The 1971 “Go package” Matador coupe version lacked the optional bold red-white-blue striping of its AMC Rebel-based predecessor, and also had no special identification or badging. Less known than the 1970 original, around 50 Matador Machines were produced for 1971. The package featured 15 x 7 inch slot-styled steel wheels with white-lettered “polyglass” belted tires, dual exhaust system, a heavy-duty handling package, power disk brakes, and a choice of either a 360 cu in (5.9 L) ($373 option) or the 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 engine (for $461) with either a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission.


1972 AMC Matador

 1972 AMC Matador two-door hardtop

Changes to Matadors were minor until the 1972 model year when the innovative AMC Buyer Protection Plan was introduced. This was the automobile industry’s first 12 month or 12,000 miles (19,312 km) bumper-to-bumperwarranty. American Motors started with an emphasis on quality and durability by focusing on its component sourcing, improving production that included reducing the number of models, as well mechanical upgrades and increasing the level of standard equipment. This was followed by an innovative promise to its customers to repair anything wrong with the car (except for tires). Owners were provided with a toll-free number to the company, as well as a free loaner car if a warranty repair took overnight. The objective was to reduce warranty claims, as well as achieve better public relations along with greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The previous Borg-Warner sourced “Shift-Command” 3-speed automatic transmission was replaced by the Chrysler Corporation-built TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic that AMC marketed as “Torque-Command.” The column-shift 3-speed manual continued as the standard transmission, but the optional 4-speed manual was discontinued.



 1973 Matador wagon with tailgate down

The 1973 model year brought new U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations that required all passenger cars to withstand a 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h) front and a 2.5-mile-per-hour (4 km/h) rear impacts without damage to the engine, lights, and safety equipment. Matadors gained stronger front and rear bumpers. The front bumper included self-restoring telescoping shock-absorbers and more prominent vertical rubber guards, while the rear bumper gained vertical black rubber bumper guards that replaced a pair of similar and previously optional chrome bumper guards.

A comparison of 1973 Matador owners conducted by Popular Mechanics indicated increased satisfaction and fewer problems than was the case with the owners of the essentially similar 1970 AMC Rebel three years earlier.

Automobile Quarterly reviewed the 1973 cars and summarized that “AMC actually has a very strong product line, but public awareness of it seems so feeble as to be negligible. … The Matador became a typical intermediate, an exact counterpart of the Satellite/Coronet or Torino/Montego“, and ranked AMC’s car as a “good buy.”

Second generation (1974–1978)


 1975 Matador base model sedan

 1978 AMC Matador sedan

A major design change was introduced with the 1974 models for both the sedan and wagon, while the two-door became a separate and radically styled coupe. These could be considered the “second generation” Matadors. New passenger car requirements set by NHTSA called for the front and rear passenger car bumpers to have uniform heights, take angle impacts, and sustain 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h) impacts with no damage. The 1974 AMC Matadors accomplished this with massive bumpers. The four-door sedans and wagons received a new front fascia with a hood and grille featuring a prominent central protrusion that followed the front bumper shape. Matadors with this front fascia are sometimes nicknamed “coffin noses”.

Second generation sedans and station wagons continued over all the model years with only minor trim and equipment changes. Powertrains were basically unchanged for all the 1974 to 1978 Matadors. Either an inline six orV8 engines were available with a three-speed automatic transmission. A three-speed manual column-shift transmission was also available with the six-cylinder engine from 1974 to 1976. For 1977 and 1978, all Matadors came standard with the automatic transmission.

A road test by automobile journalist Vincent Courtenay of the 1974 Matador station wagon “praised its performance, handling, and fuel economy considering its size and 360 CID engine.” He described it as “a real sleeper on the market. Its performance ranks it in the first line of cars, yet it’s reasonably priced.”

Changes for the 1975 model year were minor as AMC focused on the development and introduction of its innovative Pacer, but Matadors now included a standard “no maintenance” electronic ignition developed by Prestolite. All U.S. market Matadors featured catalytic converters that required the use of unleaded regular-grade fuel. New “Unleaded Fuel Only” decals were placed by the fuel filler door and on the fuel gauge. Steel-belted radial tires were now made standard equipment on all Matadors.

Matador Coupe

1974 AMC Matador X Coupé 1

 1974 AMC Matador X Coupe

 1976 AMC Matador Brougham Coupe

American Motors’ executives saw an opportunity to replace the “uninspired” Matador two-door hardtop with a new design to capture people looking for exciting, sporty styling in a market segment that was outpacing the rest of the automobile market; and were looking to answer the demand for plush mid-size coupes after the end of the muscle car era.

The 1974 model year introduced an aerodynamically styled fastback coupe with pronounced “tunneled” headlight surrounds. The Matador coupe was the only all-new model in the popular mid-size car segment. The coupe was designed under the direction of AMC’s Vice President of Styling, Richard A. Teague, with input from Mark Donohue, the famous race car driver. AMC’s Styling Department had greater freedom because of a decision to design the new Matador strictly as a coupe, without the constraints of attempting to have the sedan and station wagon versions fit the same body lines. Reportedly Teague designed the coupe’s front as an homage to one of the first AMCs he designed, the 1964 Rambler American. Many were amazed that AMC came up with the fast, stylish Matador, considering the automaker’s size and limited resources.

The coupe’s wind-shaped look was enhanced by a very long hood and a short rear deck. The Matador coupe stands out as one of the more distinctive and controversial designs of the 1970s after the AMC Pacer and was named “Best Styled Car of 1974” by the editors of Car and Driver magazine. In contrast to all the other mid-sized and personal luxury two-door competition during the mid- to late-1970s, the Matador coupe did not share the requisite styling hallmarks of the era that included an upright grille, a notchback roof, and imitation “landau bars” or opera lights. A Popular Mechanics survey indicated “luscious looks of Matador coupe swept most owners off their feet” with a “specific like” listed by 63.7% of them for “styling”.

Sales of the coupe were brisk with 62,629 Matador Coupes delivered for its introductory year, up sharply from the 7,067 Matador hardtops sold in 1973. This is a respectable record that went against the drop in the overall market during 1974 and the decline in popularity of intermediate-sized coupes after the 1973 oil crisis. After it outsold the four-door Matadors by nearly 25,000 units in 1974, sales dropped to less than 10,000 in 1977, and then down to just 2,006 in the coupe’s final year. Nearly 100,000 Matador Coupes in total were produced from 1974 through 1978.

American Motors executives, including Vice President of Design Richard A. Teague, described design plans for a four-door sedan and station wagon based on the coupe’s styling themes that did not reach production.

James Bond movie

As part of a significant product placement strategy, an AMC Matador coupe played a starring role in a James Bond film that was released in 1974.

The Man with the Golden Gun features the newly introduced coupe – along with Matador 4-door police cars (painted in the black and white livery used by the Los Angeles Police Department) and a Hornet X hatchback. This was Roger Moore‘s second appearance as the British secret agent. The Matador is the car of Francisco Scaramanga, and along with Nick Nack, they use the “flying” AMC Matador to kidnap Mary Goodnight and make their escape. “Bond is foiled by perhaps the best trick a getaway car has ever performed” as the Matador transforms into a plane to fly from Bangkok to an island in the China Sea. The whole automobile is turned into a light airplane when wings and a flight tail unit are attached to the actual Matador coupe (that served as the fuselage and landing gear). The idea was based on the Taylor Aerocar design of a roadable aircraft. The machine for this Bond movie was 9.15 metres (30 ft) long, 12.80 metres (42 ft) wide, and 3.08 metres (10 ft) high. A stuntman drove the “car plane” to a runway. The machine was not airworthy and could only make a 500-metre (1,640 ft) flight, so a meter-long (39-inch) model was used for the film’s aerial sequences. The scenes show the remote controlled scale model built by John Stears.

According to some critics, the movie “didn’t offer much to recommend it other than the clever use of cars” such as the conversion of car into an airplane. The “flying AMC Matador” machine was exhibited at auto shows. It was part of AMC’s marketing efforts for the aerodynamically designed coupe, as well as publicity exposure for the concept of unique flying machines.

Oleg Cassini


 Cassini showing off the interior trim he designed

A special Oleg Cassini edition of the Matador coupe was available for the 1974 and 1975 model years. American Motors had the famous American fashion designer develop a more elegant luxury oriented model for the new coupe. Cassini was renowned in Hollywood and high-society for making elegant ready-to-wear dresses, including those worn by Jacqueline Kennedy. Cassini himself helped promote the car in AMC’s advertising.

The special Oleg Cassini Matador was positioned in the popular and highly competitive “personal luxury car” market segment at that time. The Cassini Coupe was unlike all the other personal luxury competitors. The new Matador did not have the typical vintage styling cues of formal upright grille and squared-off roof, though the rear quarter windows were restyled to resemble small opera window openings. The new “smooth and slippery” two-door featured “marks of haute couture” with the “upholstery, panels and headliner done in jet black, with carpets and