The 1970 AMC Javelin SST Trans Am Edition, a distinctive offering among the typical muscle cars from the Detroit Three, is set to be featured at an upcoming Mecum auction in Dallas, scheduled for September 20-23.
Originally introduced in 1968 and substantially revamped for the 1970 model year, the Javelin represented the American Motors Corporation’s response to the popular Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, Dodge Challenger, and Plymouth Barracuda “pony car” segment. The SST variant, in particular, embodied a sportier iteration, featuring a robust 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine that produced 325 horsepower, channeled to the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission.
Much like its competitors, AMC entered the Javelin into the competitive SCCA Trans Am series, which saw its zenith of popularity during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was a time when manufacturer-supported teams, equipped with top-tier drivers, raced cars that closely resembled those available for purchase by the general public.
Initially aligned with Kaplan Engineering, AMC made a significant move in 1970 by securing Penske Racing as its partner, successfully luring them away from using Camaros. To promote their Trans Am racing efforts, the automaker produced 100 Trans Am Edition Javelins, akin to the one presently slated for auction, and also crafted a Mark Donohue Edition as a tribute to Penske’s star driver. Another 2,501 units of the latter were manufactured, primarily to homologate a new rear spoiler for their race cars.
Despite the considerable hype surrounding their participation, Penske Racing finished as runners-up in the Trans Am series’ over-2.0-liter class in 1970. However, the following year, AMC unveiled a redesigned Javelin and joined forces with Roy Woods, ultimately clinching championship victories in 1971 and 1972. These victories marked the culmination of the era characterized by rules that had originally enticed AMC and other American automakers into the Trans Am series.
As the 1970s progressed, AMC faced deteriorating financial circumstances. In a bid to survive, the automaker shifted its focus away from performance vehicles, instead emphasizing models like the AMC Pacer and Gremlin. Additionally, AMC ventured into new territories by acquiring Jeep, forging partnerships with Renault, and introducing the innovative AMC Eagle, a lifted four-wheel-drive wagon that played a pivotal role in shaping the modern crossover. Despite these efforts, AMC’s struggles persisted, leading to its absorption by Chrysler (now Stellantis) in 1987. Today, vehicles like the Javelin SST serve as a testament to a bygone era when AMC, as an underdog, valiantly challenged the Detroit Three both in showrooms and on the racing circuit.
While Mecum has not provided a specific price estimate for the upcoming auction, it is worth noting that a similar model sold for $53,900 at a previous auction in Monterey. However, according to the Hagerty Price Guide, a pristine example could potentially command a value of up to $140,000.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Muscle Car Auction
What makes the 1970 AMC Javelin SST Trans Am Edition unique?
The 1970 AMC Javelin SST Trans Am Edition stands out due to its distinctiveness in the competitive “pony car” segment. It features a potent 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine, producing 325 horsepower, and a 4-speed manual transmission.
Why was the AMC Javelin SST entered into the SCCA Trans Am series?
Like many of its rivals, AMC entered the Javelin into the SCCA Trans Am series during a time of immense popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This allowed them to showcase their performance capabilities and compete against other manufacturer-backed teams.
Who were some of AMC’s racing partners during this era?
AMC initially partnered with Kaplan Engineering and later secured Penske Racing for the 1970 season. This strategic move enticed Penske Racing to switch from using Camaros in favor of the Javelin.
How many Trans Am Edition Javelins were produced?
To promote their Trans Am racing efforts, AMC manufactured 100 Trans Am Edition Javelins, similar to the one going up for auction. Additionally, they crafted a Mark Donohue Edition, with 2,501 units produced, primarily for homologation purposes.
What were the racing achievements of the AMC Javelin SST in the Trans Am series?
Despite the significant attention and partnership with Penske Racing, the Javelin SST finished as runners-up in the Trans Am series’ over-2.0-liter class in 1970. However, AMC clinched championships in 1971 and 1972 after redesigning the Javelin and collaborating with Roy Woods.
How did AMC’s fortunes evolve in the automotive industry?
As the 1970s progressed, AMC faced financial challenges and shifted its focus away from performance vehicles. They diversified by acquiring Jeep, partnering with Renault, and introducing the innovative AMC Eagle, ultimately leading to their acquisition by Chrysler (now Stellantis) in 1987.
What is the estimated value of the 1970 AMC Javelin SST Trans Am Edition at auction?
While Mecum has not provided a specific estimate for the upcoming auction, a similar model previously sold for $53,900. However, the Hagerty Price Guide suggests that a pristine example could potentially be valued up to $140,000.
More about Muscle Car Auction
- Mecum Auctions
- SCCA Trans Am series
- American Motors Corporation (AMC)
- Penske Racing
- Mark Donohue
- Hagerty Price Guide