1970 JAVELIN SST CHRIS COWX
AMC did not build many serious performance machines. One of the fortunate survivors of the street wars is this 1970 Javelin SST. Early on it picked up many of the key Group 19 options. It is a factory 390 Go Package car, which gave it the 390 engine, handling package, dual exhaust, power disc brakes, and that cool ram air hood. Other factory add-ons were a four-speed transmission, a 140-mph speedometer/8,000-rpm tach, heavy duty cooling, and a limited-slip differential. It is a well-optioned performance machine that has been with me for 30 years.
The Group 19 items took it up another notch. It has the camshaft kit, R4B intake manifold, Holley 780 carb, Mallory ignition, Thorley headers, torque links, and 4.10 gears.
The engine is stock down to the OE cast pistons, with no porting, polishing, or port matching internally. It starts easily and settles fairly quickly into a high idle, although it’s a bit cold-blooded. It is generally a bit soft in the bottom end, feeling uncomfortable below about 2,000 rpm, surging and hesitating. At 2,500 rpm it gets comfortable, and above 3,500 it starts to pull! As a short-stroke engine it revs quickly, all the way over 6,000, though it makes best times with shifts in the 5,500 range. Traction is good for the day, though it will easily overwhelm its F70s at any speed up to about 50 mph. The low weight of the AMC V-8 makes it feel lighter on its feet than many muscle cars.
The Javelin is consistently a low-14/high-13-second car, with a best of 13.77 at 102.04. That’s with an amateur driver, stock tires, and no fiddling with tire pressure, timing, or belts. With slicks and some trackside tweaking, you could easily be knocking on the 12s.
n While not quite a sleeper, this relatively unassuming Javelin can surprise the top dogs of the Big Three. It resides in the far north of Canada, where it sees road timein the summer and takes part in autocross and other club events.
n The engine is largely original and has been assembled using almost entirely N.O.S. and good used parts, with some repros forced by the realities of a regularly driven vehicle. While not detailed for show, it is largely correct and represents what a Group 19–equipped engine likely looked like shortly after delivery.
n The Javelin is equipped with the optional tach and speedo cluster and the very rare Rally Pack instruments. The real surprise is the small switch under the dash. That cuts out the extra ballast resistor and gives a hotter spark from the Mallory Rev-Pol dealer-installed ignition.