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1970 vs 1971: AMC Javelin SST Comparison


The American Motor Company was known for building budget minded cars, even when they built their own version of the Pony car, the Javelin. This 1970 Javelin SST has been parked in this barn since 1980 and has been in the same family since ’78. The family has decided to sell it and have listed it here on eBay. There also happens to be a 1971 Javelin SST barn find eBay, so I thought it might be interesting to compare the two and let you decide which you’d rather have.


The seller of this one claims that it was started regularly until the early ’90s, but hasn’t been driven since it was parked. It appears to be complete, but is going to need some work. The interior looks very solid, but is faded and in need of a cleaning. The pictures aren’t the best, but hopefully this SST is in as good of shape as the seller claims. It has the 360 cui V8, but the seller doesn’t state whether it’s the 245 or 285 horsepower unit.


Now that we’ve had a look at the 1970 SST, let’s take a look at this second generation Javelin SST. For 1971, AMC restyled the Javelin with a more dramatic look. The original owner of this one rarely drove it, but passed it on to their grandson in 1987. Shortly thereafter, the transmission was damaged and the car was parked in this barn.


Unlike the other Javelin, this one has already been pulled from the barn, cleaned, and is running. The transmission has been rebuilt and the rest of the mechanical systems have been gone through and are working as they should. This one is powered by a 210 horsepower 304 cui V8, which is paired to an automatic gearbox.


This interior looks to be usable as is, but the driver’s seat has some tears in it. Overall, it looks solid and could be enjoyed right away. So this leads me to the question of which Javelin you would rather have? The ’70 is still covered in dust and is going to need some work before it will be road worthy. While the ’71 is ready to be driven right now, is it worth not experiencing the rush of unearthing it from the barn? So which one would you go for and why?


  1. scot

    ~ i like the ’68, ’69, ’70 Javelin as well or better than the AMX, but i would never consider the ’71 and newer cars to be even slightly attractive.

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  2. braktrcr

    The 70 Like the body style much better. We had a 68 with a 343 was a fun quick car

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  3. Dolphin Member

    Let’s see, the pictures show that this ’70 Javelin has a R front fender, some seats, a R front fender, and yes!!! that car definitely has a R front fender!!! It also has no rust that the seller is aware of !! and he might be able to find the owner’s manual before ‘pickup’!!!

    All you have to do is:
    1. don’t ask about the reserve
    2. get your ducks in a row, and, oh yeah….
    3. bring money!!!

    Sounds like a deal to me!!!

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    • paul

      But I wish they would have showed a picture of the right front corner of this car.

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    It is no secret from my username of my brand preference. In my many years of driving I have owned almost everything imaginable (and collectable)
    My first AMC was a 1970 Javelin 390/4spd. As a younger man I thought the world evolved around the Chevelle SS 396. Life changed when I traded the pig for a 1970 Javelin…and have had them ever since
    The 1970 is a unique one year only car. The red interior color is a rare option. The 360 4V makes plenty of power.
    Restoring an incomplete AMC is a challenge. Minimal work here. The 70 has all the hard to find parts. The ram air hood is complete, rim blow steering wheel. Factory A/C. This would have the Go package and would have front disc brakes and Twin Grip rear. This would be a great car. Too bad it wasn’t removed from the garage and some attempt to see what you are buying.
    1970 is a special year for the Javelin. It is the year that Roger Penske and Mark Donohue turned the racing world upside down when they parked their winning Trans AM Camaro for the new for 70 Javelin.

    The 1971-74 Javelin is a love it or hate it car. AMC knew that the radical styling would turn some buyers away. The truth is that AMC was very serious about winning the Trans AM series. AMC had planned on updating the Javelin for 71 and it has been said that Donohue had a very big say in the design.
    The Javelin ruled the Trans AM from 71-74 The roof even has a built in spoiler. You really have to get behind the wheel and drive it to understand it. Looking over the front and the wrap around dash. Fantastic. This 71 is a clean original too. The rim blow steering wheel is the same on the 70. It is a two year only steering wheel and mint can go for $1000. I could go on and on. If you want a unique ride don’t over look either car,
    My choice is easy. I’ll take both!

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    • paul

      Question, did AMC ever replace the vacuum wipers with conventional wipers on any of their products?

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      • jjacob

        Yes, I believe it was in 1972. I had a 1971 Gremlin with the vacuum wipers (worked fine until you accelerated), and I replaced them with a later model year Gremlin electric wipers.

        Like 1
  5. whiskey runner

    i have always been a fan of the amc cars.. after owning several rebels, javelins, hornets, gremlins and even 2 pacers thru the years.. i have a 73 javelin amx clone in the shop right now, doing a mild custom with a 1970 matador “cop car” 401 for power.. i still have a gremlin, matador,hornet and pacer out in the yard, i will never have the time to restore but love it when some kid says “what kind of car is that?”… these cars never received the respect they deserved in my opinion. when i still had my 390-4speed powered javelin back in the 70’s the camaros, mustangs and cudas always knew amc was there to compete.

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  6. Chris J.

    I prefer the earlier body style, it seems a bit cleaner. I have a Trans Am Javelin, in the racing red white and blue colors. I don’t fit inside as it’s the 1/24th scale AMT kit that is still in the box. I often wonder how AMC would have made out if the company had hired Penske and Mark two years earlier. The Trans Am series was my favorite spectator racing. If there ever was “win on Sunday and sell on Monday” racing, Trans Am was it.

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  7. paul

    I learned to drive on my mothers very old 59 Rambler American.

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  8. Rene

    wonder why the transmision went bad, shortly after the grand son started driving it. Coinsidence?

    Like 1
  9. Randy

    In 1970/71 I was 22/23 years old and had a friend that I would go cruising with that owned a 69 or 70 Javelin . I really had a lot of fun with that car and it brings up a lot of memories. It was Dark green and an black interior, Stick shift and a 390 motor. what a blast it was!!!

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  10. Blindmarc

    My dad was a service manager for AMC 71-73. I rode in allot of models, and I’ll take both.

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  11. AMCFAN

    Chris J, To answer your question ” What if AMC hired Penske and Donohue two years earlier?
    AMC would have dominated the Trans AM series. There is NO other answer.
    In 1968 American Motors took a brand new car with a brand new team made up largly of engineers and personal who worked at AMC No one had any racing experience. The drivers George Folmer and Pete Revson were in a sense new drivers at the time as well. The crew chief was Ronnie Kaplan. No one had any experience with an American Motors race car. There had never been any. Imagine how many laughs the poor guys heard behind their back? To let everyone know they had arrived the cars were painted Red/White/Blue and were unmistakeable on the track. Just how serious and dedicated the men were The performance director Carl Chakmakian was right there in the pits. The reality was the team had very little money. The racing jacket Carl was wearing was a R/W/B AMC jacket like the dealers gave away. Carl wrote his name on one side with a marker and on the other a Racing team decal! This was at Sebring.
    Every race was a testing facility. The Javelin was an honest car and turned out a serious threat that almost knocked Ford out of second place! The team did it all with a single carb and the smaller cubic inch 290 when almost everyone had multiple carbs and more cubes. The team never had the option of the factory handing out expermental parts out the back door like other factory backed teams.
    The Javelin did not win a race but amazingly came in second and third enough times to make everyone take notice. They set a record that still stands today. They finished EVERY race that was entered.
    AMC earned their respect. In 1969 was a different story for AMC. It has been said that the BOSS 302 was a result of the Javelin. There were alot of setbacks for the team. Penske had a serious dispute with Chevrolet. AMC found about it and approched Penske and made him an offer that went something like this; Race for us and we will pay you $. Win the championship and we will pay you $$$$. Donohue was very impressed with the new car and felt with some development they would have another winner.
    AMC went from zero to the Trans AM Champion in less then 4 years.

    Fantastic story that is true

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  12. Chris A.

    Thanks AMC Fan. The standing joke is: “You can’t make a race horse out of a pig, but you can make a very fast pig”. Good for Roger and Mark.

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  13. phillip thompson

    got a1973 looks just like it need parts striped the distribotor gear and the 1 on the cam they are awsome cars ours has a 360

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  14. Robert

    My first car was a 1971 Javelin SST with the big block 360. I do not know which 360, it did not have an indication of which. It was stock except for mag wheels and headers, which added 45 hp. Factory red paint and red dashboard with the simulated wood grain. Factory red seats which I have never seen on any other Javelin: not vinyl or a typical fabric but soft like velour. Beautiful. AT, AC, fantastic handling like a true sports car. Mint condition, zero dents or rust with 74,000 miles.
    I bought it in 1979 for $900 cash. The only problem was it had crank windows and sometimes when it rained the windows fell into the door. Someone at AMC decided to save a dollar and created a cheap mechanism to hold the door up which worked if it was not raining. I understand this is common on Javelins. Power windows were an option but nobody ordered them Less than 1% of the Javelins I have seen had power windows.

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