Muscle Car Review - - Group 19 -

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.

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