Featured here is a fine looking 1968 AMC Javelin. Javelin development began in 1967 and became a model that entered AMC into the pony car, muscle car era of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The model was produced for two generations, 1968–70 and 1971–74. American Motors Corporation was somewhat late entering the pony car / muscle car wars but the automaker built an impressive lineup of performance cars in a relatively short time.

68 javelin specs
1968 AMC Javelin

The AMC Javelin was every bit as fast and quick as it’s pony car competitors performance car offerings but was also a more spacious vehicle. AMC billed it’s Javelin as a “full 4-passenger sporty car.”

With that being said, performance car buyers of the latter 1960’s were most likely more concerned with horsepower and styling than spaciousness. It’s important to point out the main difference, aside from engine HP, between the Javelin and AMX model which came out in mid year 68  was that the Javelin was a four seater and the AMX model a two seater.

A Good Looking Car

You have to give credit to the AMC design team led by Richard A. Teague. Javelin had good looking clean lines with fastback styling.  Door handles were flush, had vent-less side windows and sweeping ”C” pillars..The front chrome-plated metal bumper combined to form the underpan. This was a design from American Motors that represented a big departure from previous designs.

Racing Competition Was Important

AMC joined the pony car wars with the 1968 Javelin which offered fastback styling and several V-8 engine options. Prior to the introduction of the AMC Javelin, American Motors Corporation hadn’t considered racing competition a priority. Performance cars simply were not the type of vehicles they produced. With the Javelin coming out and with Ford and Chevy deeply involved in racing, AMC had to jump in if they wanted to remain relevant. With the 68 Javelin, AMC was coming a bit late to Detroit’s pony car party but joined in nevertheless.

1968 amc javelin picsThe American Motors Corporation for 1968 joined with Kaplan Engineering to enter two Javelins in the SCAA Trans Am series. The drivers for these two Javelins were George Folder and Peter Revson. Revson however was let go halfway through the season and was replaced with Lothar Motschenbach.

Even with the mid season driver changes, the AMC Javelin found good success. For 1968 the car placed third in the over 2-liter class. This ended up being somewhat of a surprise to Javelin’s competition. Here you had a car that was not widely known and the team consistently ended up near the top of the leader board.

AMC’s Javelin and the Automotive Press

AMC’s Javelin was given high grades by Detroit’s automotive press. This is especially noteworthy since AMC had a reputation of building economical (Rambler) and many times smaller  automobiles. In fact, at one time with George Romney as CEO ( he departed from AMC in 1962) , AMC billed itself as the opposite of the “Detroit dinosaur” size car automakers. During his tenure at AMC, the Big Three were using much more sheet metal building their cars than American Motors..

The Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro had already become popular pony cars and the Javelin which came out later was a car the automobile press was not too familiar with. So receiving those high grades for styling and performance was something altogether new for AMC, if not a bit surprising.

1968 AMC Javelin Specifications

68 pony carThe AMC Javelin for 1968 offered two engine choices.

One was a 232 cubic inch straight six and the other a 290 cubic inch V-8. The six delivered 145 HP and the V-8 200 and 225 HP.

Transmission choices were three and four speed manuals and a three speed automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

Javelin’s suspension was conventional, with coil springs and wishbones up front, semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear.

Dimensions included a 109.0 inch wheelbase, overall length 182.2 inches, width 79.9 inches and curb weight of 2,930 lbs.

The AMC Javelin was dropped from the lineup after 1974. For AMC, economics dictated which way the company went. AMC, without deep pockets, could not tie up a production line with an automobile which was experiencing declining sales. By the mid 1970’s the pony car market was deteriorating, partially due to the federal safety and environmental regulations that came out in 1971.

The Javelin was replaced by AMC’s new Pacer model.

Below are links to related Auto Museum Online articles..

1968 Pontiac GTO

1968 Chevy Camaro SS

Reference material for this article includes..AMC Muscle Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide...American Motors Corporation: The Rise and Fall of America’s Last Independent Automaker by author Patrick R. Foster.

1968 AMC Javelin Collector Popularity

amc muscle carsAMC’s  muscle cars are among the fastest appreciating performance vehicles in today;s market. It’s relatively low production numbers have kept these models from being household names, but on the flip side, those low production numbers, excellent performance and beautiful styling have caught the eye of collectors and auction houses.

At  the current time, these AMC cars have become more valuable than ever before. Current asking prices for 1968 AMC Javelin’s of course vary due to condition, originality and mileage, but the general range for restored examples in excellent condition appear to run from about $25,000 up through about $39,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)