Many years ago, there was the Nash, maker of the Rambler. Nash merged with Hudson in 1954, forming American Motors Corp. That was acquired by Renault in 1982, and shortly afterward, by Chrysler, mainly to get its hands on the Jeep brand.
As you car buffs know, that string of companies made some truly hideous models, but last week’s car is one of the beauties.
Our photo showed the 1968 Javelin, which was AMC’s response to the pony car market that had been created by Ford’s Mustang in April 1964. A great many readers recognized the vehicle, while others guessed the similar AMX, which was a truncated version of the Javelin with a large engine and racier lines.
Chosen randomly from the correct entries was that of Charley Byrd, of Hephzibah, who said:
“In high school, my neighbor was a salesman at the local AMC dealership and got to drive different cars each week. He had a couple of the hotter versions of the Javelin. One had the 390 (cubic-inch), 315-horse version, which was underrated for insurance purposes. They had good body lines to them.”
Byrd wins a prize from The Augusta Chronicle.
Here are the other readers who identified the car. We also are passing along comments from the folks who guessed AMX, although only the Javelin guesses were tossed into the hat for the drawing:
AUGUSTA: Lowell Fritsche said: “The Javelin was a neat, neat car. I rented one when I was out in Kansas. It had a big V-8 in it and it drove just great. I always wanted one but I never did get one. It was AMC’s answer to the Mustang, Barracuda and some of those.”
David Russell wrote: “The vehicle you have a picture looks to be a 1968 AMC.”
Marvey Durden wrote: “My guess is it is a AMC Javelin.”
Carolyn Ogles wrote: “AMC/AMX in the category of muscle car/sports car.”
Rodney Farrer also identified the Javelin.
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “This is AMC’s second response to the pony car wars being waged by Ford, Chevy, Chrysler Corp. – the first being the Marlin, introduced in 1965 as the Rambler Marlin. The Rambler name was dropped after 1965.
“Looking remarkably in profile like the original 1966 Dodge Charger, the Marlin never really caught on to make any dent in any of those sales from the Big Three. AMC cut the line on the flailing Marlin in 1967 and introduced the AMC Javelin in late 1967 for the 1968 model year.
“The Marlin/Javelin are bigger cars than the original intended nemeses of the Mustang/Camaro and are better compared all around to the Big Three intermediates of the Ford Fairlane/Torino, the Chevrolet Chevelle and its GM stablemates, and the Dodge Charger.
“Unlike the Marlin, the Javelin had a unique look and matched its competition across the board with comparable option levels from the base inline 232-cubic-inch six-cylinder with a three-speed floor shifter to the SST model with its 390-cubic-inch, 315-horsepower V-8 and four-speed shifter.
“An interesting option I had forgotten about is the Big Bad option, available in Big Bad Blue, Big Bad Orange or Big Bad Green. This option painted the front and rear bumpers the same color as the body rather than being chrome. I do not know if that was to mimic the body-colored Endura bumper of the Pontiac GTO, but it would not have been enough to sway me away from purchasing my Goat!”
CUMMING, GA.: Chris Rhodes wrote: “The vehicle shown is a 1968 AMC AMX.”
EVANS: Bill Harding wrote: “The AMX was American Motors Corp.’s attempt to create a relatively inexpensive rival for the Corvette. The AMX was available with a 315-horsepower, 390-cubic-inch V-8 and four-speed manual transmission, making it a true muscle car. Straight-line acceleration was strong for the time, with 0-to-60 times of around 6.5 seconds, but handling was not up to sports car standards because of the AMX’s extreme front-end weight bias.
“It was produced for model years 1968 through 1970 as a two-seat, two-door hardtop. Because of low production numbers, around 19,000 total during its three-year production run, and the fact that most were sold in road-salt-using Northern states (AMC was based in Kenosha, Wis.), finding an original-condition mint AMX is nearly impossible, making the car highly collectible. The 1971 model year saw the AMX label applied to a version of the four-seat Javelin, which continued in production through the 1974 model year.”
Wayne Wilke wrote: “The car is a 1968 AMC. From the view depicted, I think it is impossible to tell whether the 1968 AMC car is a Javelin or an AMX. A wider shot would have revealed the vertical piece of chrome at the center of the grille which the Javelin has and the AMX does not. The AMX was a genuine muscle car, and the Javelin was more of a Mustang/Camaro wannabe. Both cars, however, were a nice departure from the rather bland other AMC cars.”
HEPHZIBAH: Larry Heath said of the Javelin: “This was the AMC answer to the pony cars already introduced by the Big Three. It had various engine/transmission options, with the top engine being a 390-cubic-inch V-8. It was a reasonable alternative to the Big Three competition.
“A fellow car enthusiast at the time purchased a Big Bad Orange version with a 290 V-8 engine. It provided decent performance and was relatively economical. Eventually, this car was traded away for a new Monte Carlo.
“AMC also introduced the AMX during this time, which was essentially the same car with no back seat and a shorter body. Though fairly rare, I do see these occasionally at auto shows. They are a reminder of the original muscle car era enjoyed by my generation.”
Ralph Whitton wrote: “If that is the correct wheel cover on the car, then it is an AMC Javelin. American Motors Corp introduced the Javelin to compete with Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro. Their first year of of the Javelin sales was also the biggest sales year (about 55,000, give or take).”
Leo Bennett said it was the Javelin.
MARTINEZ: Jeff Miller wrote: “After being left behind in the Mustang and Camaro pony car/muscle-car explosion, the Kenosha, Wis.-based American Motors Corp. decided to dive into that slugfest with this week’s car – the 1968 AMC Javelin. I believe you had three engine options – a 290, a 343 and a 390, all V-8s. Then shortly thereafter, AMC morphed the somewhat popular Javelin into a 1-foot-shorter, sleeker version renamed the AMX.”
Jim Muraski wrote: “This week’s car is a 1968 AMC Javelin. My buddy Danny had one back in high school, and he and I would cruise the mean streets of northeastern Wisconsin in that Calcutta Russet-hued, 343-cubic-inch-powered hot rod.”
Christopher C. March Sr. wrote: “The Javelin came with a standard engine 232-cubic-inch, straight-six with 145 horsepower to a 343-cubic-inch V-8 with 235 horsepower in the first generation. Later, you would be able to get a 401-cubic-inch with 335 horsepower. Transmissions were three-and four-speed manual. There was also an automatic.”
Joe Bert also identified the Javelin.
NORTH AUGUSTA: David Frazier said the AMX was “AMC’s answer to the Corvette; not a real good answer, but an answer nonetheless.”
Harry S. Rachels, Rick Robinson and John I. Clemens also identified the Javelin.
ORLANDO, FLA.: Hugo deBeaubien wrote: “I recognized that car as a 1968 American Motors Javelin, which was AMC’s answer to the very popular Camaro and Mustang in the late 1960s. It was AMC’s best effort to attract younger, fun-loving drivers. Mitt Romney should be proud, since his dad was once president of American Motors!
“I was in college when the Javelin came out and am a car guy so I had to look on the Internet to make sure it was not a trick ... The front end on both (the extent you showed, anyway) are essentially identical. The AMX was a shortened Javelin.”
WARRENVILLE: Jim Covar said: “My dad used to work for AMC motor cars. He drove a Javelin home all the time.”
NO CITY LISTED: Bruce Reddy identified the Javelin.
Don Glymph also recognized the Javelin and said: “I always thought they were good-looking cars.”