1973 Javelin/AMX

1973 AMC Javelin/AMX. Yellow with black stripes; inspired by the 1971 Roy Woods Racing Trans-Am Javelins. Here’s a video walk-around of the car in the paddock at Infineon Raceway in the fall of 2007.

History

This is the 3rd Javelin I ever bought and is one of 4 I’ve owned and 2 I still own. In my late teens I started getting interested in cars and specifically muscle cars. I was a Dukes of Hazzard fan and knew the car was a ’69 Charger. I had next door neighbors who built themselves a pretty mean ’67 Camaro street machine. I was into Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers, Challengers, Cudas… all the usual suspects. My first car was a ’74 Charger with a 318 and column shifted auto.

I had no idea what a Javelin was and then one night, I was 19, I saw one in a parking lot on Long Island. It was a ’73, it was orange, it had side pipes, it had louvers, it had a black vinyl top, it had five slot mags on the rear… and it had a FOR SALE sign on the dash. I was blown away. I wrote down the number and ended up buying the car for $1400. It was a disaster and I had a lot of mis-adventures in it, mostly involving a friend and myself pushing it from one location to another. Anyway, despite all the problems I had with the car I was 100% obsessed with “humpster” Javelins and learned everything I could about them. I could write a lot about that 1st Javelin and the 2nd one I bought on Staten Island for $200; but this is supposed to be about the yellow Javelin, my 3rd.

1992 – Early in the year I decide I want a Javelin again and start looking. At this time I didn’t really know a lot about cars from a performance or mechanical standpoint. I just knew the Javelin was the coolest looking car ever created. Javelin’s were rare in the New York area and when you did find them they usually had a ton of rust. I finally found a seller with a ’73 Jav/AMX in Danville, Virginia. The car was $1800 and was pretty rust free, although the drivers front fender was banged up and the cowl hood was smashed up at the leading edge. Getting the car back to Brooklyn, NY was an adventure as I basically had to stay up until 3am helping the seller finish building the car before I could drive it home.

1993 – After driving the car around Brooklyn for 6 months I found a guy in upstate NY to restore it. At the time I lived in Brooklyn, didn’t have a garage and didn’t have any mechanical skills or tools. So this guy, who was president of an AMC club I joined, restored the car for me. It was primarily a cosmetic restoration. He took it apart, painted everything and then put it back together. It took a little over a year to complete the restoration.

1994 to October 1997 – I drove the car occasionally during this time. Took it to an all AMC day at Cecil County dragway (in Maryland). The car did a 15 flat. Mostly the car sat in various places I found to store it while I continued to live in Brooklyn and drive an ’86 Mustang GT 5spd to a job on Long Island.

1997 (Nov) – I move to Novato, CA for a job and rent a house with a TWO CAR GARAGE. This was a major turning point for me as I had been a “car guy” for 10yrs in New York and a garage was something I had desperately wanted for years. I had learned to work on cars by doing a ton of mods to my ’86 Mustang and had also bought and raced a Formula Ford race car. I moved from Brooklyn, NY and brought 3 vehicles with me: my ’73 Javelin, an ’82 Royale Formula Ford race car and a ’93 Ford Ranger (which was my tow vehicle for the race car).

1998 – When I moved out to California my girlfriend at the time came with me. My Ranger was a 5 spd and she didn’t drive stick… So, the Javelin was her daily driver for most of the year.

1999 – I eventually taught her to drive a stick and then the truck became her daily driver and I drove the Javelin daily. In late 1999 I take the car off the road and pull the engine to get it rebuilt and convert the car from automatic to manual.

2000 – I get the car running and drive it briefly before I move back to NYC in Dec. of 2000. The car sits again (outside in New Jersey) for the next 15 months.

2002 – In March I move back to California and have a garage again. I use the car occassionaly.

2003 – I’m saving up to buy a house so I don’t have a lot of cash to spend on the Javelin. But I do complete a few low dollar projects. I install power remote door locks and a power remote trunk relase and I get all new lock cylinders (including ignition) re-keyed to a single key. I also put a Corbeau A4 seat in the car (which, btw, is too narrow even for my skinny ass…).

2004 – I buy a house in Terra Linda and in the summer of 2004 start a number of projects. I rebuild the front suspension, add a WSC coil over kit, add the Wilwood brake kit, the AGR steering box, the power brake booster, new wheels and more.

2005 – That brings us up to date. I’m still working out all the kinks from last years work. The AGR box turned out to have a leak so I’ve pulled it and returned it for a rebuild. I also just placed an order for all the parts needed to swap the tranny to a Tremec TKO 500 5-speed. I got everything from Forte’s Parts.

2005 (march update) – I got the rebuilt AGR steering box back and it’s back in the car. I’ve started the Tremec TKO 500 install. The old T10, clutch, bellhousing and all the zbar linkage is out of the car. I’ve removed the flywheel and had it resurfaced. I have the new dust shield and bellhousing bolted on for mockup and am about to plug in the tranny for mockup (so I can see how I have to cut/modify the trans tunnel. Stay tuned.

  • Engine: 1974 360 cid
  • Tranny: originally a 727 auto, then a t-10 4spd for a few years, now a Tremec TKO 500 5spd
  • Rear-End: stock AMC 20 with 3.15 Twin Grip and stock drum brakes

The engine was originally rebuilt buy the guy I bought the car from and had a 727 auto tranny behind it. It had a cam from a 401 engine in it and stock exhaust manifolds. In 2000 I had the engine rebuilt by John Silva from Fremont, CA. John builds his own racing engines for his dirt late model and builds engines for other people who race late models and modifieds. He did a great job. We added the lifter valley mod to increase oil to the rear bearings. He also tweaked the oil pump. I get GREAT and consistent oil pressue. He used a Comp Cams 268H-10. I also added an Edelbrock Peformer manifold, aluminum water pump, an MSD Pro-Billet Distributor, an Accel coil, headmen headers (which I later had Jet Hot coated), a mini-starter and a Holley 600cfm carb. At the same time I started collecting the parts to convert the car over to a t-10 4spd. I bought a couple of bellhousings, a couple of t-10s, a couple of pedal sets. I picked the better t-10 of the two and had it rebuilt. Johnny Franklin mufflers in Santa Rosa, CA did the exhaust and the driveshaft. In 2001 I had the car dyno’d and it made 267hp at the rear wheels (that’s approx. 300 – 310 at the flywheel) and 400ft lbs of torque.

Suspension

The front suspension has been powder coated. The stock springs and shocks were ditched in favor of the coil over front suspension kit from WSC. I also had the strut rod hardware chromed. I didn’t have them polish the pieces out because I wanted to keep it a little cheaper. It was $50 for the strut rod nuts and washers, with no polishing. I have no other experience with chroming but this seemed expensive to me. I probably won’t be chroming much in the future.

The rear suspension has the stock leaf spring set-up with 2″ lowering blocks. I tried 3″ blocks but that was just too low. I also installed new rear shocks from WSC. I like the car low but the headers do scrape in certain situations. I think Edelbrock has shorty headers now so I may get those.

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