Real Or Clone? 1970 AMC Javelin SST Mark Donohue

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If you’re an AMC fan, you’ve heard of these cars and you’ve probably wanted one for a few decades; here’s your chance. This is a 1970 AMC Javelin SST Mark Donohue edition and it’s on eBay with a current bid price of $5,450 with six days left on the auction. This will be one to watch. It’s located in Brockport, New York so you can figure out the shipping when you win this auction and become the envy of your friends.

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Mark Donohue, a driver for the Penske team who also held an engineering degree, came to AMC from Chevrolet along with Penske Racing and their combined efforts were legendary on the race track. AMC added a Mark Donohue package to the already hot SST model, which added $1,100 to the price and added some oomph and the famous Donohue spoiler. This great looking example in Matador Red was in storage from 1992 until recently and it looks like it’s in great shape. The seller says that it has some rust, but I don’t see too much of it from the photos. It looks solid, being in storage for the last 24 years sure helped preserve it more than most. The hard part about these cars is that they’re almost impossible to authenticate whether they’re truly a factory-produced Mark Donohue edition or a fake. The seller says that they don’t have any paperwork confirming that it’s a real one, but they say that a former owner confirmed that it was real when he bought it in 1971 as a used car. If that doesn’t give you something to think about as your head hits the pillow tonight, I don’t know what will.

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The seller says that this car is “loaded with options including the top 390 engine, automatic transmission, twin-grip rear, 140mph speedo / 8k rpm tachometer, air conditioning, tinted glass, power steering and disc brakes, radio, etc.” The Mark Donohue edition SST Javelin had a base engine of a 360 V8, no six-cylinder was available as it was with the regular Javelin. AMC is probably my favorite American car company, maybe because they thought outside the box more than the other companies did. They really had some fantastic, or maybe fantastical, cars: the Hornet Gucci Sportabout, the Levi’s Gremlin edition, the Rebel Mariner. And, the Javelin line had a couple of them all by itself, with the Mark Donohue edition and the Pierre Cardin edition. Here’s a photo of Mark Donohue and AMC President William Luneberg standing in front of a rare 1970 Javelin Trans-Am edition.

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This car has the optional automatic, which from what I’ve read is the best choice for this engine / suspension package. The manual can be a bit notchy, or not too user-friendly in every day driving, which obviously these cars were mainly used for. I’m guessing that not too many buyers paid for the Mark Donohue package Javelin and used it for track duty, but I’m sure that a few of them made their way onto race tracks. This interior will need some work, as you can see. The seats are a bit cracked as is the dash, although that may be able to be realigned, possibly? The rear seat looks great, that should be able to be cleaned up.

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This would most likely, normally, be the optional 390 V8 which was the only engine option above the base 360 V8 for the Mark Donohue edition. AMC built 2,501 of this edition but I’m not sure how many came with the 390. I’m sure that it’s the engine to have in this model. It has 325 hp of goodness. Although, the seller says that “the biggest bummer is that the original 390 engine was replaced circa the 80’s with a 290 which appears to be seized today.” Ouch. Double ouch! That will obviously hurt the value and it may keep this one from winning best of show, unless you can source a correct 390. But, stranger things have happened. For such a rare and desirable car to have it’s original engine missing, when the engine is most of the mystique and possibly most of the value, is depressing. But, other than that, what do you think of this car? Have any of you owned a special edition AMC Javelin?

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Comments

  1. Rustowner

    WOW! Nice car, especially for NY state. I like the looks of these early Javelins very much. Shame about he original motor. Not sure if this is real or a clone……I’ll leave that to the hardcore AMC freaks. Lots of good stuff to work with on this one. If the price was a bit lower, I’d buy this in a NY minute.

  2. Racer417

    How much less would a clone be worth? Would it really matter? These are not big dollar cars.

  3. Axel Axmann

    it could potentially be the real deal. Its build date is March 1970 which corresponds to the time that the Donohues were built. Mine is also a March build date.
    Without build sheet its hard to authenticate these.

  4. AMCSTEVE

    There is no difference in any 390 engines because there are no numbers to match. AMC didn’t have numbers stamped in the block but on a valve cover tag, which is easily reproduced.
    Any AMC guy knows this and it doesn’t matter to us. These cars can be easily cloned so no one will ever know. I have a nice 401 that will drop right in. You can’t tell a 290 from a 390 or a 401 as they all use the same block. You have to crawl underneath the car and look for the stamp on the side of the block.

    It looks like a decent example but I don’t want the slush box Borg Warner auto that’s in it. It’s air cooled and not that strong. You need to drop a 727 in it which AMC switched to in 72. 4-speed and it would be in my garage already…

    • Randy

      “It looks like a decent example but I don’t want the slush box Borg Warner auto that’s in it. It’s air cooled and not that strong.”

      from Ebay ad: ” The original M12 transmission appears to be present.”

      nothing air cooled about the M-12………there’s a guy on the AMC forum who races a Hornet SC/360 with the Borg Warner has hundreds of runs on it, but he has a transmission guy who actually knows something about the Borg Warner automatics….which is no doubt rare today.

      All the AMC engines use a flex plate for that CID engine…..only the 290/ 2bl. and 6 cylinders originally came with air cooled version of the Borg Warner if memory serves me correctly.

      I have a frost white ’69 Javelin base model…..with it’s original 343/ M-11 automatic and factory air.

      • Randy

        Correction….only the 6 six cylinders came with the air cooled aluminum Borg Warner.

        The 290/ 2bl and 304 came with an aluminum oil water cooled version.

        The larger engines had the cast iron oil water cooled version.

        Like 1
    • Lee Malaspina

      The statement “they all use the same block” is not correct. Each AMC V8 displacement had it’s own block casting, except service replacement blocks. The cubic inch displacement was cast into the block. It was not a “stamp.”

  5. JW

    I like it and if I was to buy it and the price was right I would just find a correct 390 and drive it, don’t care about numbers matching when you drive them.

  6. Howard A Member

    I think it’s a clone. A few things on a “Donohue” edition that are missing ( but could have came and went over the years) Dual exhaust with chrome tips, and a front spoiler below the bumper. Eddie Stakes, THE foremost authority on AMC’s, has a great article on the “Donohue” Javelins. The “Donohue” spoiler could be ordered separately for $58.30. It, according to Eddie, was a hodge-podge of options in 1970, and there’s no real way to know if it is a real one, but still, one of the nicest AMC’s to be offered. http://www.planethoustonamx.com/stuff/mark_donohue_javelin.htm

    • Lee Malaspina

      The front spoiler was not part of the Mark Donohue package. It would be a dealer installed Group 19 piece. It was on the Javelin Trans Am package in 1970. NOT the same package.

  7. edh

    That fake wood on the dash is way better than the sparkly crap they usually stuck on them.

  8. Joe

    A front spoiler was not a part of the Donohue package.

    Like 1
  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    like…

  10. Jeff

    I’ve only ever seen a couple of these, but they were both blue with white “Mark Donahue” cursive script on the quarters (????).

    Am I off base here?

    • Lee Malaspina

      The Mark Donohue decal was on the rt corner of the rear deck “Duck Tail” spoiler.

      Like 1
  11. Alan (Michigan )

    Saw an AMX today…

    All of the AM factory hotrods have a lot of appeal.

  12. Steve

    Wow you sure don’t see these every day! Seems like at the very least, a pretty neat and FUN car to restore. I don’t know much about these Javelins but this one would surely be a blast once you replace that seized motor with a fresh 390. Love it!

  13. Ranco Racing

    Don’t recall ever seeing one of these in red. As Jeff commented, white with blue seemed most prominent. Donahue signature was on the rear spoiler. I think it is a clone.

    Like 1
  14. Eric Murray

    I think it’s real. You could actually order the mark donohue package without ordering an SST javelin, you could take a base javelin and order the donohue package (which did happen in some instances). While the 390 and 360’s were originally intended as the two engines for this car, some came with 343’s. As previously mentioned, AMC didn’t keep very good records of their parts or cars, so it’s impossible to tell what’s a real mark donohue javelin and what’s a fake. Also, as far as the paint scheme, not all mark donohues came with those wraparound C stripes down the side. Some came without any graphics.

    • Lee Malaspina

      343 engines were not available in 1970.

    • Dan

      Had one but had fake side pipes on it pretty sure they were standard

  15. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: this Javelin sold for $7,100!

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