401/4-Speed: 1973 AMC Javelin Pierre Cardin Edition

Ah, 1973. Fashion trends for that year included bell-bottom jeans, tie-dyed t-shirts, earth shoes, and gypsy dresses. AMC decided to cash in on the world of fashion by introducing the Javelin Pierre Cardin Edition. Available during both the 1972 and 1973 model years, it brought distinctive colors and trim together in one package. Our feature car is a 1973 model, and not only does its unique upholstery remain intact, but it features the most desirable and potent drivetrain combination offered by the company in that model year. The Javelin has recently come out of long-term storage, and after working through the process of reviving it, the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. The AMC is located in Melbourne, Florida, and while the owner has set a BIN of $19,995, he offers the option for interested parties to make an offer. Once again, I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D, who has demonstrated the uncanny knack of spotting classics like this Javelin for us.

The owner found this Javelin hidden away in a barn in Alabama. It had occupied that spot since 2003. When he dragged it into the light of day, he found that it was a surprisingly solid and complete classic. The original owner performed a color change many years ago to its current Black. When it was shiny and new, a  shade called Fresh Plum graced its panels. In typical Pierre Cardin Edition style, it used to feature white hood and side stripes, but these were removed during the repaint. Given the relative rarity of these vehicles, it would be worth the effort for the buyer to return the car to its original appearance. They will be doing so working from what appears to be a structurally sound base. I believe that there might be a small amount of Bondo in the driver’s side lower rear quarter panel, but there is nothing else visible. The panels have a few marks that the buyer will tackle as part of the restoration, but it looks like rust might be minimal. There may have been some in the area that I just mentioned, but the remaining panels look clean. The owner doesn’t mention any problems under the vehicle and supplied photos of the trunk pan reveal it to be rock solid. The glass looks good, as does most of the trim and chrome. The distinctive Pierre Cardin badges have been removed, but the owner has sourced a new set that goes with the car. The wheels are most obviously not original, and while they impart a muscular appearance, I would replace them if I were to buy this gem.

While some may call it classy and others label it as gaudy, there’s no denying that the Pierre Cardin Edition brought an unmistakable interior trim combination to the Javelin. It included seats upholstered in black cloth with stripes in plum, white, and orange. These stripes continued onto the door trims and the headliner. Our feature car’s upholstery remains intact and free from rips and tears. However, there are a few items that the buyer will choose to address if they want it to “pop” once again. The seats are pretty dirty and would benefit from some careful cleaning. The material is faded, and for buyers seeking perfection, this could be a drama. Replacement trim is hard to find because AMC didn’t make it in huge numbers. Some companies specialize in restoring the existing cloth to its original vibrant appearance, but the average cost that I’ve found in my online searches seems to land at around $2,000 for the seats alone. Whether the next owner decides to go that way will depend on how everything presents once they’ve received a deep clean. The headliner is sagging, and I’m unsure whether the buyer could successfully stretch this back into shape. Apart from a JVC radio/cassette player occupying the spot where the factory radio used to be, there appear to be no other aftermarket additions. The rest of the interior seems to be in good order, and the original owner chose to equip it with desirable options like a console and a Tic-Toc-Tach.

The 1973 model year may have marked the start of The Malaise Era, but potential buyers could still order a Javelin that offered impressive performance credentials. That is what the original owner did with this car because it features a 401ci V8, a four-speed manual transmission, a Twin Grip rear end, power steering, and power front disc brakes. That V8 would have produced 255hp in its prime, which was enough to launch the vehicle through the ¼ mile in 14.7 seconds. After sixteen years of inactivity, the current owner went through an exhaustive process to revive this classic. The fuel tank was flushed and cleaned, and he treated it to new lines, a new pump, a filter, and a rebuilt Holley 750 Double-Pumper. This carburetor sits atop an Edelbrock intake, while all belts and hoses were replaced as a matter of course. The transmission had a bad input shaft, so the owner sent it off for a rebuild. Before he reinstalled it, he fitted a Centerforce clutch assembly. The list goes on and is enough to fill a small book. The result is that the Javelin runs and drives, and the owner has been using the car locally fairly regularly. He suggests that the buyer may find other items that require attention, but this car seems to be well on its way towards being ready for some long journeys.

As restoration projects go, this 1973 AMC Javelin Pierre Cardin Edition looks like it could be a good one. Production figures for this variant and model year are hard to determine, but it is known that a total of 4,152 buyers ticked the box for this option across the two model years. Today, a car with all of the features intact will command a premium of between 10% and 15% in the classic market. With a fresh coat of the original Fresh Plum paint and the interior returned to its former glory, the vehicle should be capable of commanding a sale price of over $30,000. Even if the buyer chooses to bite the bullet and send the upholstery to a specialist for restoration, it is a project that appears to make financial sense. Thirty-five people are watching the listing, and I won’t be surprised if one of them hits the BIN button. Are you tempted to beat them to the punch?


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  1. Doug from MD.

    This is a perfect example of how not to build a 70s muscle car. The wheels and tires need to go. The exhaust pipes are terrible the stance is wrong ect. I could go on but you get my point. Return to stock may help but right now I’ll pass on this one.

    Like 9
    • AMCFAN

      Um…..No I don’t get your point. This is a car that was built from a certain time period. To me looks like the 1980’s or 90’s. Certainly not fresh. The car looks to be AS FOUND. Wheels don’t define a car. Most Javelins back in the day had monster tires in the rear and skinnys up front. One of the few cars that did look at home with them.

      Wheels and paint condition notwithstanding this car has everything right. 401 4 spd says it all. M and Z code in the vin is correct. The AMX rear spoiler and AMX hood and emblems are not correct but look good. It is a non AMX car. The trim tag will spell it out. I would need to see. The steering wheel and woodgrain dash overlay give it away. The Black exterior was an upcost and non standard color. The production numbers of a non AMX 401 4 spd is super rare. The previous owner upgraded it to an AMX with the super rare ram air cleaner. No harm no foul.

      This car is a basis of everything someone would want in a very desirable Javelin. Very nice find.

      Like 8
      • Sam Shive

        Did you look at the E-Bay pictures, You can see that this car didn’t start out Black. I grew up in a family that had Ramblers and AMC’s. This is going to need a lot more work than it looks like.

        Like 1
  2. Racer-X

    Wheels in picture are not included in sale (thankfully). Included and more ugly, but better offset wheels are shown in one of the ebay pictures.

    Like 2
    • AMCFAN

      Sam, I did look at the pics. I stated the black color was a cost option. Never said it was original to this car. The trim tag is important here if the original door wasn’t changed to see exactly how it is optioned. The Plum color the car was new is just as desirable and was available with Cardin interior.

      This Javelin doesn’t need anymore work than the many featured on here. The motor and transmission interior and exterior color is an important factor in determining a restoration. Finding say a green 304 auto car wouldn’t add up because both a 401 and 304 would cost the same to restore.

      Like 1
  3. Steve Brown

    That 750 double pumper is probably too much fuel for that 401.

    Like 6
    • AMCFAN

      Curious as to how would you determine that statement? Old AMC/Jeep threads posted on the internet? I did have a 1050 CFM on my 401.

      Like 1
  4. Howie Mueler

    They lowered the price, and only one day left, i can see why they still have it.

    Like 3
  5. Bigbird

    It is a rare one for sure. All the visual comments made can be changed. The only real hitter maybe rust, if not bad enough to where panels need replacing, I think it will sell. These cars had very little rust prevention when built (along with Chrysler products) so best check this one close.

    Like 2
  6. Rj

    The Deak has speak-ded, exhuating the tailpipes.

  7. edmond

    Back in 1974 in L.A, I would walk past one of these every day on my way to and from High School. It was a purple Javelin, white Vinyl Roof, White Stripes, etc. Was purple to me, but I guess plum like this car’s original paint. Anyways, I fell in love with the looks of the car. Javelins were muscle cars but were uncommon, and unique, unlike the many Mustangs, Camaros, and Mopars. This appealed to me, and I always wanted one. Would love to see this car restored to its original look.

    Like 1

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