One of 24 Left: 1971 AMC Javelin Police Car

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

For once, I agree with a seller’s hyperbole: this AMC Javelin is far more special than the garden-variety Camaro and Mustang police cars that show up with some frequency on classifieds sites. Said to be one of just 24 left in existence, this police-spec Javelin is a project worth rescuing and bringing back to the condition seen here in this photo. Find it here on craigslist in New Jersey for $12,000. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Brian Seagrave for the find. 

As seen here, the AMC reveals a common plight of police cars turned into civilian vehicles: all the gadgets and period-correct police accessories are gone, with a VIN number the only way to confirm this Javelin’s prior duties. The seller claims it is well known in the AMC community, with the nickname of Dixie seemingly indicating a curious past where everyone knew it should be decked out in police regalia but the restoration never commenced. The engine turns freely, but that also means it’s a non-runner at the moment.

The original picture shows a cool, steel-gray Javelin with Alabama State Trooper stickers on the doors and a flashing siren on top. The white letter tires further toughen up the look, and like all police cars, I suspect this Javelin features heavy-duty suspension components, additional cooling capacity and a thoroughly utilitarian interior. It’s a shame that it’s been painted purple in the meantime; perhaps the original paint is still visible underneath. It’s said to be “nearly straight and rot-free”, which makes you wonder where the rot is hiding.

The seller claims to have a large parts stash to go with the Javelin, and given the one, solitary picture of the iconic roof-mount siren, I’m hopeful he has other police-spec bits in his store. For any police car restoration, that’s the hardest part – finding that CB radio from the era in which the car was sold, or special spotlight that shined the light on criminals of every stripe. This Javelin absolutely needs to regain its status as a genuine highway patrol car, so I hope the next owner can see the restoration through to completion.

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Comments

  1. Tailgate Jeff

    Here is a link to a history of the Alabama Highway Patrol fleet of Javelins:

    http://www.javelinamx.com/javhome/copcar/alabama1.htm

    9+

    • Mr. TKD

      Sounds like you really didn’t want to see one of these in your rearview mirror.

      2+

      • GOPAR

        No, you didn’t. I grew up in Montgomery, so I speak from experience.

        2+

    • Howard

      Very interesting article Jeff. Thanks for the link. Howard.

      4+

    • Michael F Antaki

      I love you techie guys that find and educate us non geek motorheads.
      Thank you.

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    • Lord Humungous

      I have question for you seem like you could answer. I remember back in the 80s reading about a police car nicknamed the “Blackbird”. I believe it was used by the Nevada State Police. It was a flat black Dodge or Plymouth, Superbird used for high speed pursuit and to transport court documents between municipalities.
      The car was purchased at an auction and ended up in a junkyard in Texas. The magazine had a very sad photo of the car. This is a gearhead urban legend. Send me a message if possible to help me track this cars history. I know it had a 440 and was geared for the highway.

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  2. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Ad doesn’t say, but if this is a true “cop car” spec it will have a 401 in it mated to a 727. That, my friends, is the Holy Grail of the Jeep crowd.

    Check that…it has a 401 badge on it. Someone needs to buy this! Great find guys!

    8+

    • eddie stakes

      The 727 did not appear until 1972 production, in 1971 it was a Borg Warner M-12 automatic

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  3. Don

    In my younger days I have gotten to ride in Chevy Ford and Dodge police cars not to fun ,but riding in an javelin police car would be great lol😄

    3+

    • Jeffro

      Younger days being…last weekend? Lol. Just kidding. I too have appreciated the spacious room in back seats of various police vehicles.

      3+

      • Don

        Haha😁🤔

        2+

      • KeithK

        If you were chased down by an officer in any coupe interceptor you didn’t ride home in the back seat. That’s what the paddy wagon was for. Just like most of you guys I speak from experience.

        3+

  4. Coventrycat

    That would look sooooo good with today’s low profile roof lights. That blue light looks like a big zit on a supermodel.

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  5. Jeffro

    Apparently, there was alot of flooding in Alabama. That troopers pants are high waters. Just a tad short.

    3+

  6. Drew V

    Yeah, these were outfitted with 401 cu-in engines with tourqeflite trannys. Rumor has it that when Alabama done away with them, that all 200 of the cars were bought by the troopers that had been assigned the cars..

    14+

  7. Wade Anderson

    I read that only 5 are left and Birmingham Police Sargent had 3 of them trying to restore them but passed away before they were finished Alabama chose the Javelin because they didn’t like the Matador same package as the Matador

    3+

    • James

      For the umpteenth time. THERE IS NO WAY TO KNOW HOW MANY OF ANYTHING EXISTS UNLESS YOU HAVE SEARCHED EVERY BARN, GARAGE, FIELD AND BASEMENT. These type of claims are laughable. There are some exceptions of course, like the 48 Tuckers because they only made 52 of them and the ones that were destroyed are well documented. But with these Javelins and most other cars, there is no way to ever know.

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  8. Dan

    Still 24 left? That is an amazingly high number considers how few 1971 Javelins there must be left in the world.

    1+

  9. Woodie Man

    Funny how time changes one’s perspective. Once this cars’s days chasing down miscreants was done, someone decided that it should be painted almost a Charger purple. Then being a cop car was less important than having a period interesting color. Now we all want to go back to as built in terms of inherent value. The more things change……….

    1+

  10. 67rebelsst

    That would look good beside my 73 AMX. Now how to convince the wife it would look good beside the 73. She puts up with my gun and car hobbies but she hates her car sitting outside.

    3+

  11. Howard A Member

    Pretty cool. indeed. Probably the coolest police car, as long as it wasn’t in your rear view mirror. Hemmings did an article on these cars. Just about every trooper that drove them, liked them. They had their problems, though. The 401 under long periods of full throttle, would starve the rods of oil, the handling was twitchy at high speeds, they switched tires several times, and some were wrecked, and troopers preferred 4 doors, for crash protection and more room, a complaint of the SSP Mustang, as well. I’m sure this is the real deal ( instead of “AMX” on the spoiler, they put “401”) Unless you’ve got something for police cars, I’d just fix it as is. Very cool find.

    1+

  12. AMXSTEVE

    Umm that’s not a “siren” on the roof it’s a gumball light. Sirens make noise.

    I have one of the last 401 4-spd Javelin/AMX on earth, under 30 left by all accounts. Finding these missing parts will be a major undertaking.

    5+

  13. Brian

    When you click on the link that Tailgate Jeff put on his comment, that website for the Alabama Department of Public Safety has a lot of information on it, including this Javelin. Near as I can figure this one was one of the unmarked cars used so it could of been in the purple. Click on the vin xxxx9538 and you can see the pictures and the history from 2005 and 2006. Really cool wish I had money, time and knowledge to bring her back.

    3+

  14. Boyd

    Here in North Georgia the Catoosa County Sheriffs department use to run Trans Am’s

    5+

  15. DavidLMM

    I remember seeing these around Huntsville as a kid. I am pretty sure I also remember seeing an E-Type in Trooper livery. Pursuit cars were needed, given all the hotshoes around Redstone at the time. I remember seeing a street-legal Lola T70 in front of Dunavant’s Mall in the early ’70s, and Super Bees, Super Birds, and Mach 1s were a dime a dozen.

    1+

  16. Tom in Florida

    Alabama was not the only place that used the Javelin, my home town of Muskego Wisconsin did as well. Not too proud of it but I got a ride on one of them at the ripe age of eleven! LOL

    http://www.javelinamx.com/javhome/copcar/muskego/

    6+

    • Tom in Florida

      Some more pics…

      2+

  17. Tom in Florida

    again.

    2+

    • Tom in Florida

      I always dreamed of making a Muskego Police car like this but I will have to stick with my 70 Javelin Big Bad Blue 390 car instead! Yes, maybe the ride in the back seat of the car made me a fan? Either that or my father working there for 22 years.

      5+

  18. AMCFAN

    Those 15″ Rebel Machine wheels are an option pictured on the car when found (now has a later model ralley wheel) and nice sets can be very pricey $3000-$4000. a set.

    The grill in this car is a 73-74 base Javelin. A nice 71 Grille is one year only and if it isn’t with the stash of parts collected it is anyone’s guess what you would have to pay. $800-$2000 range.

    Early Hi Comp 71’s had the dual snorkle air cleaner. Expect to pay $500-$700 for one of those if it is missing.

    I would hope the original valve cover and door tags are present. Light blue 71 Javelin interior parts are quite hard to find used. Hopefully the original plastic panels are not beat up from being removed and stored as it looks like the interior was gutted. The new owner will have to have deep pockets to bring this back. The reward is defiantly worth the risk. I believe I would restore it without the gumball or HP decals and enjoy it. People who know the car will know what it is anyway.

    Wade, I highly doubt Alabama chose the Javelin over the Police package Matadors simply because they didn’t like them. It was more of a statement that “We do things different in Alabama”

    The 401 Matador was highly regarded as one of the best police cars by the California HP in fact they were kept many years after for training purposes.

    0

  19. AMXSTEVE

    FAN, dual snork $1200, they have started to repop the grills $1400, grill screen $2-500 depending on condition.

    You can dye the interior pieces and a gumball isn’t to hard to come by but pricey. The radio equipment is out there but there are some bits that you would need to fab.

    0

  20. AMCFAN

    Steve this car was and is not an AMX package car. It is a base Javelin with a rear spoiler. They made a non ram air dual snorkle on the early 330 HP cars. I had to buy one for my Sept. build SST 401 4spd. You can put a watch on ebay and they pop up several times a year. I lucked out and got mine for under $200.

    Not familiar with the grilles being re made but if it is like a lot of repro parts for AMC I am sure the look and quality would leave alot to be desired. For this car I would pay double the money for nos. They are out there. This car did not have the screen

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  21. John W Rosa

    As the owner of the car in the ad, some corrections: I have the bulk of parts needed for the car. Correct grille, air cleaner, 6 Machine wheels, etc. Alabama had 71 of the ’71 base model 401 Javelins and 61 of the ’72 401 Javelin SSTs. Of the original 132 cars, about 24 are known to still exist (I have a registry for the surviving cars). The sole reason for the state buying the Javelins was final cost for a vehicle fitting their specifications. Half the fleet was Javelins, the other half Ambassadors (for the officers that demanded a 4-door sedan). These Javelin still hold two records with the state: The only model never outrun in a chase, and the only model to never sustain a trooper fatality in a wreck. All these Javelins got an “AMX Only” spoiler to make the rear police markings easier to read. In 1971, AMC only built 97 base model Javelins with a 301-4v V8. 71 of those were Alabama State Trooper cars. That means only 16 others were built for civilians (all of those without a spoiler).

    0

  22. John W Rosa

    P.S., I have 4 of the correct roof light, as well as the correct two-way radio control head, roof antenna, speaker, mic and siren/light switch box. I don’t have the actual siren unit but they are still pretty common. These cars never had a spotlight.

    CORRECTION: I typed 301 above where I should have typed 401.

    The car is currently NOT for sale, and the interior work is underway.

    0

  23. eddie stakes

    There were only 97 1971 “base” (7179-5 Series) Javelins produced in 1971, with Z code 401V8, and most of those went to Alabama DPS. There were 582 SST 401 Javelins produced in 1971 (7179-7 Series) and on AMX, 582 1971 AMXs got Z code 401V8 (7179-8 Series). You can see the Production Figures on my site at Planet Houston AMX. If you like AMC police, fire, taxi, army and FLEET vehicles there is big file for that with ads, and actual photos http://www.planethoustonamx.com/amc-police/amc-rambler-police.htm

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  24. eddie stakes

    There are a number of American Motors police cars still out there, why I do not know, as rode hard & put up wet. A 73 Ambassador 401 4dr Florida police car sold 5 years ago for $1500 and now in Norway. A Nevada State Highway Patrol police car, 401, 4 door Ambassador 73 sold in O’Fallon Nevada on ebay for $1500, run, drive, stop, just needed restoration on solid car. And more recently a 73 Matador two door California Police car sans antenna, Motorola radio and spotlight but still with 120 ‘police certified speedometer’ was for sale on craigslist in Houston for something like 5 months before a local bought it for $1200 and is fixing it up to be daily driver, 360 4 barrel, automatic (car sounds great) and is looking for the police equipment like spotlight, radio for upper dash, and twin cherries to make it look right again, as those items pulled from it at California auction, and previous owner drove it to Houston. So some of these cars still out there.

    The gentleman above who mentioned a 401/727 setup, the 727 did not see production in AMC cars until summer of 1971 for 1972 model year. So no 1971 AMC anything got a 727, in 1972 the 727 was mated to only 360s and 401s.

    Yes! Some of the “unique to only 1971” Javelin & AMX parts are difficult to find and some obsolete like back up lens. Also high on that list is grille, the dual snorkles which were only used part of production (you could find them on Ambassador also) the horribly designed 71 flying V guitar floor console (mentioned in my PRE PRODUCTION AMX file) http://www.planethoustonamx.com/stuff/pre-production-amc-amx.htm the dash inserts and wiper switch quickly come to mind, as does any of the fake t-top trims (of which not all got in 1971-72) difficult to find. All worth it however to put these boogers back together.

    The 15 inch styled steel wheels (Rebel Machine rims) are hard to find and trim rings obsolete but can use Chevy snap on rings in pinch, look fine. If restored, these rims can easily hit $3000 o a good day. They were made by Kelsey Hayes by the way and while stock on 1970 Rebel Machine also used on 1970-72 AMX, Javelin & could be had on Ambassador & Matador too. Watch for rust under press on ring it can doom a rim http://www.planethoustonamx.com/restoration/machinerim.jpg

    The reason the car is painted purple is probably same reason people painted red, white and blue 70 Trans Am Javelins solid color. Back in the day, if you were driving a r/w/b car you have target on back for anyone with a Pinto with one mag wheel who wanted to make name for himself, or someone with souped up Mustang. Or worse, in Texas here, small town (ok big town too) cops would pull you over as you hippie, drug dealer (in their eyes) troublemaker, and could be beat, corn holed, or both. I have bought DOZENS of AMC ‘hot colored’ cars thru year (of 392 AMCs personally owned so far, 11 currently) that color changed back in 1970s. Not big deal. Anything done can be undone! http://www.planethoustonamx.com/69-bbo-javelin-43.jpg

    Neat thread, ya’ll keep it going, more AMC police photos too! Eddie Stakes’ Planet Houston AMX

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