Unique Pursuit: Retired 1972 AMC Javelin State Trooper Car

In the 1970s, a couple of different police departments ordered a number of AMC Javelins as state trooper vehicles, with Alabama being most known for doing so. Having lived with an avid AMC enthusiast, I learned more history about these cars than I ever would have otherwise! Various sources state that these were some of the best, if not THE best performing cars in the department. Though these cars were issued and used, Javelin police vehicles did not become the norm. This 1972 Javelin is a well-preserved example in very much its original police configuration that was once used in Alabama. Find it here on eBay in Maryland with bidding at $25,700 and reserve not met. 

With the exception of some damage to the console lid, likely due simply to age, the interior appears to be in very good condition, especially for a service vehicle of this age. Originally, the seats would have been vinyl but seem to have been recovered. From the ad, “All gauges and tachometer work.” The classic blue plastics are a sure reminder that this is an AMC product, though for a police vehicle this may not have been the most ergonomic setup. Imagine being a state trooper in 1972, and being issued a slick little Javelin like this instead of a Matador or a Polara! No doubt the troopers that drove these Javelins had a good time!

As if there would be anything else here, under the hood is the venerable AMC 401 V8. Though there appear to be a few wires astray, otherwise the engine bay is in good condition. Being a police service vehicle, the 401 is the fleet duty version. The seller states that the engine “has been fully rebuilt as well as the heavy duty suspension and brakes.”

Though these cars are around, there were not very many issued to begin with an as such this is one of 16 known to still exist, as per the ad. According to the seller, “Both door shields are printed on magnets and fully removable.  Also the STATE TROOPER decal on the rear spoiler is adhered by static cling.  The Dietz 2-11 Roof Beacon contains a magnet and is removable.” While this car maintains its original look as well as property number, the static cling and magnets are enough to make one wonder if this car has been restored. Pictured above are photos from Hemmings Muscle Machines showing troopers next to their Javelins. This would be a seriously unique car for a police car, AMC, or any other enthusiast to have in their collection and with 52 bids so far and seven days left in the auction, this Javelin is sure to find a new home.


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  1. Gerry

    I remember those well….mostly on I-20 as it was being built out between B’ham and the state line. lol

    • Mike L

      Check the front fenders for lead. The front end was too light and would not corner. So they packed the the fenders with lead to keep an grip on the road and not slide off the road in high speed turns.

  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Should also (at least) have holes where the patrol equipment
    was attached.Did they originally have “Calibrated” speedometers?

    • Rick

      Calibrated speedos didn’t come in until the ’80’s. There are holes in the center console where the radio and microphone were mounted.

      • Tony

        Calibrated speedos were in 1968 and on Plymouth and Dodges.

    • Andrew Tanner Member

      According to information visible in the Hemmings photo, these Javelins had the AMC Go-Package 140MPH speedometer that was non-certified.

    • wcastor Member

      I scrapped a 63 Studebaker Police car that had a calibrated speedometer. I think I saved the dash, but unsure right now, but they were available as early as that. I don’t know if earlier.

  3. Classic Steel

    Nice but unfortunately the owner has been arrested for impersonation of a peace officer. :-0

    Seriously nice… I saw one on ebay in horrible shape but all there about five years back from Alabama.

    • Wade Anderson

      If you ever want to see one in pristine condition go to the highway patrol headquarters in Montgomery Ala they kept one it oily s all original I don’t think this one of them the all had AMX rear spoilers on the rear and most were silver and blue with a few of the last ones being silver without the blue

      • angliagt angliagt Member


        Like 1
  4. BarnfindyCollins

    What a great looking trooper car!! We did a lot of traveling between Georgia and Birmingham, AL 1977-78 I have never seen this car so these may have been retired by then. I’ve seen Grand Am’s, Le Mans, Diplomats, etc. When BMW came to South Carolina they got a M5 for a trooper car. Maybe Alabama got a super AMG/ Mercedes when the plant opened up. Great submission on this AMC!!

    • Bdub

      When Mercedes first opened, I saw a few sheriff Mercedes SUV’s rolling around Tuscaloosa. Although I was just there last month, I haven’t been there enough to know if they are still rolling Mercedes.

  5. Beatnik Bedouin

    Interesting car. I wonder if the centre console’s condition is a result of the mounting of the car’s communications equipment?

    I’ve just done a search for images of the Alabama State Trooper Javelins, but could find no interior shots. Perhaps someone who’s from the state could provide an answer?

    • Tony C.

      I’d say you’re probably right BB, the radio, etc. probably mounted on the console judging by the shape and position of the holes in the description pics. The siren is still attached in front of the radiator as well.

    • GoBammer

      There was a small shop made box that mounted over the drilled holes and allowed for two toggle switches. One for the blue light and one for the brake light kill switch. The small radio mounted on the console just in front of the shifter right against the dash. The microphone was mounted just left of the word Javelin near the glove box. The interior and carpet is not correct nor the wheels. Should be the machine wheel. It is one of ours. To be specific it was 1 of 12 72 models that Alabama took delivery on to complete the 71 purchase order.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        I remember using the e-brake years ago so the brake lights would not come on for some reason or another, but why would law enforcment need a brake light kill switch?

      • Rube Goldberg Member

        The only reason I can think of for a brake light kill switch would be if a speeder saw the cops brake lights come on, they knew he was going to turn around and come after them.

        Like 1
  6. Rick Gaskill

    There is a Facebook page for these.
    It Looks like the reserve is considerably above the value.

  7. The_Driver

    This thing looks like a Southern fried hoot! :)

  8. KSwheatfarmer

    Good friend has a Plymouth Fury high way patrol car completely and accurately restored as it was in the late sixties. Nothing at the car show gets more attention. He is now retired from the force and displays his uniform along with his car.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      When I was a kid in the late 60’s, a guy across the alley bought a ’65 Plymouth ex-state patrol car. It was the 1st, and probably the only time I can remember, going 120 mph.

  9. Drew V.

    /here’s a nice example…

    Like 1
  10. BarnfindyCollins

    Isn’t that just like real life , we pay attention to the patrol car lighting someone up and when they do show up at a vintage car gathering everyone wants a look. I bet most guys wanted to be a policeman or fireman when they were growing up. Their vehicles still fascinate us all these years later.

    Like 1
  11. Bill

    The museum at Talladega Speedway has one of these, or at least they did when I visited in 2004.

  12. Canadian Mark S. Eh! Member

    Police car aside in my opinion when you see the Javlin you have to wonder why there was such a fuss over the AMX I think that Javlin is a much more stylish car and with a 401 under the hood I’ll bet it could go like a scared rabbit.they are rare I personally have only ever seen one up close and that was in the late 70’s. Because I live in Canada and don’t have a connection with your law enforcement if I had this car I’d loose all the police stuff and get rid of all that blue inside the car and replace it with a gray that matches the seats. Nice find.


    Just itchin’ for a pursuit scenario with Bo & Luke & Dasiy in the General Lee

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I doubt “The Bandit” would have outrun this police car.

      Like 1
      • Troy s

        No, but be probably would have out drove the cop and caused him to wreck. You know how those movies are.

  14. Francisco

    I find it hard to believe that there would be a police car without back doors. How to you carry the perps?

    • Wade Anderson

      Francisco you call for a four door or have a local PD or Sheriff come and get the perp

      Like 1
    • Graeme

      They’d hunt the culprit down on the highway (which probably wouldn’t take too long with the 401!), subdue and secure them, and have officers in a sedan/paddy wagon arrive on the scene to transport them if necessary.

      Like 1
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Same with the Mustang SSP. Was unpopular for that very reason.

    • Tom

      Roadside jury

      Like 1
  15. Frank

    Gorgeous car and great story. This car looks tough! Thanks for the write up.

    • Andrew Tanner Member

      Glad you like it Frank! I agree, this is a good looking car.

  16. Jubjub

    Great looking Javelin. Have been in that early v. late Javelin argument. I like them both.
    Noticed the SST emblems on the door panels. I know AMC shuffled trims around on these a lot during these years. Would those emblems be correct?

    • AMX Brian

      SST was considered the base model in 1972 so yes since the 71 Base Model was now gone.

      Like 1
  17. GoBammer

    Yes, all the 72’s were SST.

    Like 1
  18. Rube Goldberg Member

    Whoa, mama, if there ever was a police car to outbid the Mustang SSP, it was this. We never had these in Wisconsin, that I remember, which is a bit
    unsettling, considering they were made there.( anybody know for sure?) I read, Alabama got the most ADPS units. Troopers routinely reported speeds in excess of 140 mph on chases ( one trooper was clocked at 153 once) so it was a bad axx police car. On our yearly trips to Fla. I remember seeing one once in Georgia. Again, like the SSP, no room for transport, and required another LEO to pick them up, tying up 2 squads, but if there ever was a nomination for the coolest police car, it was the ADPS Javelin.

  19. Ben T. Spanner

    Are my old eys correct; no AC in Alabama? If so, those Troopers were tough.

    My Father special ordered a 1969 Dodge Dart Convertible with a 318. It showed up with a 4BBL,which he did not want, and a certified speedometer. The wiring for the turn signals made the right rear flash with the left front. It was made just after a strike ws settled, or maybe during the strike by the janitors.

    • GoBammer

      They all came with factory air.

  20. craig

    There is quite a web site that tracks examples and history of these cars:

    Like 1
  21. DavidLMM

    I remember these cruising up and down AL 72 near Gurley growing up. Seem to recall state-issued Mach 1s and maybe an E-Type around the same time. Not long after, Catoosa County GA was using Trans-Ams, with a Car and Driver article about the pursuit cars. I was always careful crossing into GA from TN!

  22. Ding-A-Tater

    I think the eBay bids have to be courtesy of that frequent eBay staple, Mr. Hill, S.Hill that is!

  23. Southern Reality

    Back in the day… when they still had the new car smell…. one of these was assigned to the Southeastern portion of the State. There was one highway in particular – Highway 10, which was notorious for racing. Long, straight, and dark. They pretty much calmed it down with the Javelin. I saw it in a city parade about 1973 or so and it was a show-stopper! Beautiful and bad with the light on top. I still want a Javelin….. maybe, someday….

  24. Beatnik Bedouin

    Probably the most unusual cop cars I ever saw were the 1970 Plymouth Satellite coupes that the Beverly Hills (CA) Police Department had as part of its fleet. All were painted the gaudy colours that were available at the time and, along with a bright yellow convertible, were used as undercover cars.

    I remember heading through BH on my way to college in the San Fernando Valley ( which I regularly traveled to via Coldwater Cyn Dr). When I stopped at traffic lights next to the convert. I smiled at the driver and said, “Good morning, Officer.”

    He looked a bit surprised, and asked, “How do you know I’m a cop?”

    “I’ve seen your car parked outside of the Police Station,” I replied, “along with the Plymouth hardtops. You guys really need to ditch the whitewalls and full wheel covers for some raised white letter tires and mags, as they’re a dead giveaway that they’re cop cars..!”

    The cop, laughed in response, smiled and said, “Thanks…”

    • Tony C.

      And then did he book you for being a smart arse? (Just joking).

  25. Jeff Brown

    From February WOW Car Show

    Like 1
    • Jeff Brown

      All about the 1972….

      Like 1

    I know the owner of this car. Hes a real AMC guy and has had it for many years.

  27. John Leyshon Member

    Huge fan of the SSP mustangs…dime a dozen compared to this ! Had this article not been shared, who would know the role of the Javelin in law enforcement ? Aware of Ambassador/Matador sedans. AMC made good cars to be sure.

    The market will bear it out. Love the car !

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