Barn Find: 1971 AMC Javelin SST

Produced by the tiny, yet brave, independent carmaker of days gone by, American Motors Corporation (AMC) introduced the Javelin in 1968 in response to the booming “pony car” market initiated by the Ford Mustang. Although AMC was a little tardy to the party, it was right on the mark with the Javelin, which was amply powered, nicely styled, and priced right against the competition.

By 1971, despite initially entering the pony car/muscle car market to compete with the big boys of the time (GM, Ford, and Chrysler), AMC purposefully set out to separate themselves from the pack by “going all-out” to make their 2nd gen Javelin “a different-looking car. Even at the risk of scaring people off.” Seemingly on a roll, AMC proved a point in 1971 by winning the Trans-Am series championship with Mark Donahue at the wheel.

Fast-forward 45 years, and it takes a special person to recognize the charm of the often unappreciated Javelin—which seems to forever stand in the shadow of the more popular ponies like the Mustang and Camaro. In the case of this 1971 Javelin SST barn find, “a special person” came in the package of a teenage boy named Derek from Connecticut.

According to Cars in Barns, for years Derek had passed the car in his neighbors yard, but never knew what he was looking at until he got a little older and began forming an appreciation for muscle cars. At the ripe old age of 14, the young man finally gathered up the courage to ask his neighbor about the car. Maybe in an attempt to dissuade the adolescent muscle car lover, the man told of all of the big offers he had gotten in the past. Not one to be discouraged, Derek continued to bug the man about the car until he finally gave in and said that $4,000 would make him the new owner of a ’71 Javelin.

After spending a few summers with his father restoring and flipping cars, and to his neighbor’s surprise, Derek showed up to buy the car he had saved his pennies for. With a gallon of gas and a jump-start, the oldie but goodie fired right up and drove under its own power to Derek’s house—making this special young man’s dream finally a reality.  

Having 100,000 original miles on the odometer, a numbers matching 304, and original paint and interior, the car has never been restored. 18-year-old Derek now daily drives the Javelin back and forth to school and enjoys it on the weekends with his friends.  It just goes to show you that a little perseverance and an eye for detail can reap rewards for those who set attainable goals.

 

About the author

Tracy Shayhorn

Tracy began in the automotive industry in 2002 as the marketing manager for a performance shop, which she helped co-found. As a marketing ploy, she found herself piloting high-powered racecars built at their shop. You may recognize Tracy from shows like Bullrun on and Ultimate Car Build Off. Tracy has used her racing career and media platforms to encourage and empower women to feel more comfortable in the automotive and motorsports arenas by starting up all women driving schools and automotive workshops. She now enjoys writing and shooting photos in her spare time for Power Automedia automotive magazines.
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