The AMC Javelin is a pony car that was built by the American Motors Corporation between 1967 and 1974 in two generations, model years 1968-1970 (with a separate design in 1970) and 1971-1974. The sporty Javelins came in only as two-door hardtop (with no "B" pillar) body style, and were available in economical versions or as high-performance muscle cars.
The Javelins competed successfully in Trans-Am racing and won the series with AMC sponsorship in 1971, 1972, and independently in 1975.
The second-generation AMX version was the first pony car to be used as a normal highway patrol police car by any U.S. organization.
In addition to manufacture in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Javelins were also assembled under license in Germany, Mexico, Venezuela, and Australia, as well as sold in other international markets.
The AMC Javelin was restyled for the 1971 model year. The "1980 looking Javelin" design was purposely made to give the sporty car "individuality" and make it look, even at "the risk of scaring some people off." The second generation became longer, lower, wider, and heavier than its predecessor. The engine power changes from 1971 to 1972-74. Actual power output remained the same, but the U.S. automobile industry followed the SAE horsepower rating method that changed from "gross" in 1971 and prior years to "net" in 1972 and later years.
By 1974, the automobile marketplace had changed. Chrysler abandoned the pony car market. Whereas Ford replaced its original Mustang with a smaller four-cylinder version, and other pony car manufacturers also downsized engines, the Javelin's big engine option continued until the production of the model ended in October/November 1974 amidst the Arab oil embargo and overall declining interest in high performance vehicles.
A new a seatbelt interlock system prevented the car from being started if the driver and a front passenger were unbuckled. The functional cowl-induction fiberglass hood was no longer available for 1974, and the output to the 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 dropped by 20 hp (15 kW; 20 PS). Some late-production cars came with hoods made from steel.
Unlike General Motors' Camaro and Firebird, the 1974 Javelin models were not exempt from new stricter front and rear bumper standards. The engineering and design changes needed to meet the new legal standards for Javelin bumpers after the 1974 models were estimated by AMC to cost approximately $12 million. (US$59,305,785 in 2011 dollars)
American Motors also needed a manufacturing line to build its all-new AMC Pacer. Nevertheless, the 1974 Javelin production reached its highest point among the second-generation models with 27,696 units, of which 4,980 (about 15 percent) were Javelin AMX models.