1971 AMC Javelin – The Lost Pony Car

The history of about the American “pony car” are often dominated by discussions about Ford’s Mustang – the pony that started it all – and Chevrolet’s Camaro, GM’s incredibly successful response that pumped up performance and took the automotive class to a whole new level. Chrysler got involved, of course, and had tremendous success as well with its Barracuda and Challenger models. Frequently overlooked, though, is a car that generally received very good press at the time, AMC’s Javelin.

AMC’s eventual market failure might be partly to blame, but the Javelin deserves its place among its better-known peers. First built in 1967, the model survived through 1974, with a variety of available performance packages that could easily move it out of the pony car class and place in solidly in the muscle car class.   With successful titles in the Trans-Am Series, the Javelin’s racing bona fides were well established.

Other notable items in its history include models with interior designed by Pierre Cardin (available in 1972 and 1973) as well as the distinction of being the first pony car to be used as a police car in the U.S.¹

A variety of engines were available in the Javelin over the years, from a 232 cubic-inch 6-cylinder producing 145 hp up to a four-barrel 401 cu. in. V-8 with 335 hp.

These photos show a very clean example of a 1971 Javelin SST, a step up from the base model.

This SST features a 304 cu. in., V-8 motor (note the badge on the front fender), pushing 210 – 255 hp (research varies). This configuration gave it an estimated 0-60 mph time of 8.9 seconds and 1/4-mile time of 16.9 seconds² – neither blazing fast nor anything to disregard.

The Javelin shows signs of coming into its own in terms of collectibility, a sign that it could eventually take its rightful place among its more well-known pony car brethren.

¹ “AMC Javelin”. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2014-09-22.

² “1971 AMC Javelin V-8 304 detailed performance and accelerations review”. Automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2014-09-22.