Steve A’s 1971 AMC AMX 401

1971 AMC AMX

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From Steve A – This is how I found my AMX in PA. back in 2012 in a guys garage. He put it on craigslist and I was searching right after he posted it. I called him and said I’m sending the money and not to sell it. His story was that he bought the car in 1991 off a car lot as is. The color had been changed from wild plum to a 72 color called Sparkling Burgandy. Whomever painted the car blacked out the door jams trunk and hood. The best I can figure is they ordered the wrong color and just went with it rather than pay for new paint, who knows.

1971 AMX 401

Anyway he blew the motor in 1995 then parked it. It wasn’t started till I got it home in Illinois. There was no battery in it so I threw one in and changed the fluids. To my joy it fired right up but smoked really bad. I drove it and it had plenty of power but something was really wrong. It made a terrible screeching noise but that I tracked down to a water pump.

1971 AMX 401 - 6

I pulled the heads off and found that the number 1 piston had a dime size hole in it. I then proceeded to call all of my vendor friends that I have known over the yrs and found a set of NOS Pistons still in the boxes. I tried to buy just one but he said they’ve been sitting on my shelf since 1972 and you have to by all of them. I got a good deal though, and those were probably the last complete set known to man. I still have the other 7.

Steve's 1971 AMX 401 - 9

When I pulled the engine the inside was pristine as a car with 39,000 miles on it should. I put it back together and here we are today with now around 42,000 miles. I cleaned up the engine bay by spraying degreaser and awesome on it and the black paint melted away. I painted and detailed the engine and started fixing odds and ends and gathering parts. I have owned 4 of these cars, so I had a stash of parts.

1971 AMX 401 - 11

The first I owned was a 401 automatic car with a/c and mustard yellow color in high school, first car. This one is a T-10 Hurst shifted 401, both Go Pack cars.

Steve's 1971 AMX 401 - 11

I am now at a quandary on which way I should go with paint. Back to Wild Plum or keep it Sparkling Rose? This rose has really grown on me. Yeah it needs some work but what old car doesn’t. There were only 2,054 Javelin/AMX made in 1971 and out of those only 748 401’s.

Steve's 1971 AMX 401 - 17

Thanks to Chrysler dumping all of the production records when they bought AMC in 1987 no one knows how many were 4-speed 401’s, some guess 150. At last count from varied sources there are only 30 left, so this is a very rare car.

Special thanks to Steve for sharing his find with us! He also mentioned that he is possibly thinking about selling it. If he decides to, we will be sure to let you know!

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  1. Walt

    She’s a beauty ! I would keep her as is. Looks like you did
    a lot of work already, plus a clean engine, scored on the pistons
    big time and all the parts you’ve held onto ! Nice Work

    Like 1

      Thanks Walt, ya know I really struggled with keeping the engine as is condition but since I had to pull it anyway I couldn’t resist. I had an idea in my head and it already had those edelbrock valve covers it was off to the races!

      Like 0
  2. Ron E Bee

    i like it

    Like 1

    Oh and thank you Josh, you rock!

    Like 0
    • JoshAuthor

      No problem Steve! Thanks for sharing it with us!

      Like 1
  4. DolphinMember


    Looks like you got a great car online. It shows that if you’re in the right place at the right time, and if you act quickly, you can come up with a great car—-even on CL.

    You have put 3K miles on the engine after replacing the burned piston, and you probably know this, but just in case…..since those pistons are scarce:

    The usual cause of a dime size hole burned in a piston top is preignition or plugs that are too hot for the engine. I would check on that if you haven’t already because it sounds like the previous owner ran the engine under conditions that weren’t right.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy your AMX for a long time to come.

    Like 1

      I also replaced the heads, plugs, wires intake, carb so yes, all done. I also converted it to HEI with Live wires

      Like 0
  5. Dan

    Nice and a 4 speed too….cool…..

    Like 1
  6. doc

    Great story!

    Like 1
  7. Javelin Jeff

    I want it!!!!!

    Like 0

      I’m thinking about selling. Everything has a number….

      Like 0
  8. RoughDiamond

    She’s a beauty, Steve, and has to be extremely rare equipped with the 4-speed and factory instrumentation. Hope you enjoy your 401 4-speed Javelin for many years to come. Thanks for sending the story and pics to Josh so he could share it with all of us.

    Like 1
  9. American_Badaz

    Nice Javelin! I think these cars look best with classic style aftermarket wheels. ie; the Cragar SS’s like yours, or the vintage ET slots like what I have on my 73.
    I have seen some plum javelins but that burgundy with white stripes is unique and quite eye-catching!

    Like 1

    I’m with ya, I don’t care for machine wheels, I had a set and sold them off. Yes, I haven’t seen any in this color ever and I’ve seen many. Glad y’all like it!

    Like 0

    BTW guys, do you notice anything about those tires?

    Like 0
  12. Javelin Jeff

    Roundy round tires

    Like 0
  13. Javelin Jeff

    I’ll trade you a 2006 harley for it

    Like 0

      Hey Jeff I’m not a bike guy but thanks for the offer.

      Like 0
  14. Kent Pearson

    Wow! Great car. great story. Let us here on barn finds have a wack at it if you decide to sell. A great piece everyone.

    Like 0

    Whack away Kent, I’m entertaining offers over 20k

    Like 0
  16. VetteDude

    I was always a Chevy (I luv my Vettes) guy back in the day, but the lines on this car are really good looking! Good luck on your sale!!

    Like 0
  17. Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

    Beautiful car, Steve, thanks for sharing it with us!

    Like 0

    Thanks! I’m promoting BF all over Facebook now.

    Like 0
  19. 67rebelsst

    That looks great. wish my 73 was a stick.

    Like 0
  20. Nitroamx

    Steve do you have the old piston for The 1971 401, I am in need of one.

    Like 0
    • Nitroamx

      If anyone has a 1971 AMC std. 401 piston I would be interested, Email me

      Like 0

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