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Original 390 V8: 1970 AMC Javelin SST

The AMC Javelin SST is the hidden hero of the classic world. With the right engine under the hood, it can match more popular models like the Mustang, Camaro, or Chevelle, but it has failed to generate the same interest levels in the market. However, with values climbing, a solid restoration project at the right price could be a wise investment. That perfectly describes this 1970 SST, which comes with its original 390ci V8. It needs work, but its strong bones make it an ideal project candidate. It is listed here on eBay in Manahawkin, New Jersey. Bidding has passed the reserve and sits at $6,000.

The styling of the 1970 Javelin is typical of the “long hood, short deck” approach, and I find it quite attractive. This one must have been eye-catching in its prime, wearing Lime Gold paint with a Black landau-style vinyl top. Those glory days are behind it, but it hasn’t deteriorated beyond the point of no return. The vinyl is past its “best before” date, and the panels wear some bumps and bruises, but rust seems pretty limited. There is some visible in the lower rear quarter panels and an area in the battery tray. However, the trunk pan and shock towers carry little more than surface corrosion. If the story with the floors is similar, it will require little work with a grinder and welder to consign the problems to a distant memory. Most of the exterior trim looks pretty good, and the tinted glass shows no evidence of damage.

One aspect of this Javelin demanding attention is its interior. It looks like a few components are missing, while the upholstery and carpet will probably find their way to the trash. Several companies produce high-quality seatcovers and other parts, but their prices are higher than those of classics like the Mustang or Camaro. That is a bullet that the buyer must bite if they crave a top-end restoration, but it is also a one-off expense where a repeat performance won’t be required for decades. It is worth noting that the dash pad is excellent, which is a blessing. Replacements are horrendously expensive, so that is a ray of light with this tired interior. The interior is nicely equipped, with a console Rally gauges, a factory tachometer, and air conditioning.

Although the seller includes this Javelin’s numbers-matching 390ci V8 in the deal, it is out of the car, and its condition is unknown. It would have sent 325hp to the rear wheels in its prime via a three-speed automatic transmission. The original owner’s decision to tick the boxes for power steering and power brakes should enhance the driving experience. In its prime, this SST would have smashed the ¼-mile in 14.5 seconds before winding its way to 137mph. To place those figures into perspective, a 1970 Mustang Mach 1 could eclipse the ¼-mile figure at 14.4 seconds, but buyers needed to hand over the extra cash for the 428 to achieve it, and it still lagged behind the Javelin with a top speed of 129mph. The story was almost identical for the Camaro SS 396, although its top speed was another two mph lower. Therefore, once returned to its original best, this Javelin should lose nothing to its more revered competitors.

I previously referred to the 1970 Javelin SST as a forgotten hero, and one look at the value of it and its logical competitors helps explain that statement. You will struggle to find a tidy 1970 Mustang Mach 1 for under $45,000, although most seem to hover beyond $50,000. The same applies to any Chevelle or Camaro with a 396 under the hood. However, even the tidiest Javelin SST will struggle to pass $35,000. Times are changing, and values have begun climbing noticeably. Therefore, if a project is on your radar, candidates like this deserve a closer look before they move beyond the financial reach of mere mortals.


  1. Melton Mooney

    I personally like this car a lot. Probably the sweetest color/vinyl/graphics combo I’ve ever seen on a Javelin, and it would be a knockout when restored…but I don’t think I’d even bother with learning the ins and outs of the AMC driveline. I’d just go straight to an LS/t56 swap, and never open the hood in public.

    Like 4
    • John Guthrie

      Ford chrysler donated many parts engines especially not much different than workin on an older ford dodge chevy wait a minute from what you wrote ahh a dedicated GM guy sorry. If I like the result I’ll work on anything, only real problem I found with late 60s early 70s AMC cheapest door handles I ever saw but chrysler didnt do much better till mid 80s lol

      Like 1
      • Chris

        Are you high?
        AMC produced their own engines for these cars. The transmission for a 70 would have been made by borg warner, the rear end was an AMC 20. A lot of parts came from other suppliers like Motorola, Motorcraft, Saginaw, Prestolite, ect, just like every other manufacturer.

        Like 8
      • Melton Mooney

        LS is the king of affordable, reliable, swappable power, baby. If you want to call me a dedicated GM guy, fine; I’ll just jump in one of my Challengers and leave.

        Like 1
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Have to agree, this was a good looking car new, still not too bad. These Javelins we’re so much better looking than the 2nd version. Pretty sure you can open that up to 401 spec and have something really potent, easily get 400 HP for your right foot. Keep the paint color, stripe and vinyl top and show it off.

    Like 4
  3. Howie

    Seller has 7 other hot cars listed.

    Like 1
  4. Themayor

    Runs and drives good?

    Like 0
  5. Pat.

    Potential Trans Am clone.

    Like 0
  6. Jeff Member

    Roller cam in that 401 and your in the low 12’s………..with 3:15 highway gears

    Like 2
  7. John C Chapman

    Owned one in the late 70’s. Same color as this one. Used to love blowing the doors off Trans Am’s, Camaros, amd Mustangs. Mine had the factory dual 4bbl intake and carbs. The best thing was that nobody knew what it was until i showed them my taillights.

    Like 4
  8. JLHudson

    The tach is a nice feature that cost an extra $50. This car does not have the rally-pac gauges. The holes in the dash are for A/C, as one can see the controls on the left side of the dash…..also, A bone stock Javelin or AMX cannot reach 137 mph even with 2.87 gears & a Javelin or AMX with 2.87 gears will not run a 1/4 mile in 14.5. Road tests from the period showed that with 2.87 gears the top speed for a 390 javelin or AMX was around 125. 1/4 mile times of 14.5, or lower, were accomplished with cars that have 3.54 or 3.91 gears. Those cars have a top speed of around 105 mph. The fact is that the 390 had valve float around 5200 rpm. As i have said before, AMC engines were in a mild state of tune compared to the performance V8s: smaller carb, restrictive exhaust manifolds and grocery-getter cam timing…..put on some headers, a bigger carb and install a cam with more timing, lift and stiffer springs and you will have a car that absolutely requires one to go to the bathroom before driving.

    Like 2
  9. Ronald Russell

    I had a 69 SST. Amazing car. 290 automatic and dual cherry bombs. What a sound. I always had big blocks in my rear view . I’d pop the hood and showed the 290 and those big block guys were always stunned.

    Like 1
  10. Andy Lafontaine

    Had a 70 SST back in the day. Sill one of the best cars I’ve ever owned…

    Like 1
  11. David Miles

    I had a 1969 bitter sweet orange, 390 4 speed, 391 gears, hounds tooth and leather interior. Blew the doors off of a 1969. 440 Charger R/T.

    Like 2
  12. Matthew V. Bonofiglio

    My father born and raised in Kenosha had a ’70 javelin with a straight 6 banger in Beverly Hills, CA.
    It was a great looking car. In ’76 ordered a matador wagon fully loaded 360 4bl dual exhaust rear sway bar and traction bars all power windows ac cruz that mother use to move. That was for mom and us 6 kids which we picked up from the factory. Dad passed 10/30/2017 a world war 2 hero in the navy and the best Italian man you could ever meet and the greatest father too!!!
    Any time I see AMC story’s it takes me back and every day I miss my dad. God rest his soul he died at 93 a full life. Thank you,
    Matthew V. Bonofiglio

    Like 7
  13. JLHudson

    No such thing as a “factory” dual four barrel for AMC. One could purchase an Edelbrock dual four barrel over the counter that had an AMC part number & was listed in Group 19. Only the SS/AMX came with a dual four barrel, but the SS/AMX was not a factory car.

    Like 4
  14. Madmannkc

    I owned a 1970 javelin sst with the go package. It was burnt orange. I believe that’s what the color was called. It was so fast. My friends had dusters and demons. I know a junk yard in Kansas city that has 10, 15 javlins and amx.

    Like 1

    First off in order to create a 401from a 1970 only 390using a 401crank, rods, pistons etc would still not be a easy. Proposition today because pistons have to be custom ordered. Years ago Car Craft magazine took a 401, offset ground the crank, special Honda rod journal size rods. Sheet-metal intake with twin 4 barrell and Indy cylinder heads and got close to 600H.P with approximately 430 Cu. In.
    I had a 1969 SC/Rambler I bought from the original owner. Used a Crane fireball cam, ported 1970 heads and 70 Machine intake. Don’t know what the horse power was but it was scary fast. At 130 mph with 3:54 gears it was still accelerating like a freight train.
    Stock top speed was 115mph.
    With 4:56 drag gears top speed 105.
    And you can take that to the bank as all very real.

    Like 3
    • JLHudson

      Much easier to simply purchase a 401 than “make” one from a 390. Forged pistons for AMC V8s are not that hard to find, especially for the 390 or 401, which have different compression height. Aftermarket forged rods are also available for 304 & 360 and these can be used in 290-343 motors with the appropriate piston for short deck blocks.These parts will cost more than the same items for the big three, but not by a prohibitive amount.

      Like 1
  16. Dan

    Unfortunately that dashpad is shot. It has massively curled up like they all do. My dad bought a 70 jav new, and the dash was starting to curl from day one. It is unfortunate that it has what appears to be the remains of a 1969 interior in it, and that the rim blow wheel is missing. It will be a beautiful car again one day!

    Like 0
    • JLHudson

      That left door panel is from a 68.

      Like 0
  17. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for $7,300.

    Like 0

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