- Joe Petralia
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1972 American Motors JAVELIN SST 401 1 OF 82 "POLICE SPECIAL"
HERE WE GO FOLKS, THIS IS CONSIDERED THE "HOLY GRAIL" OF THE AMC JAVELIN, THE RARE ONE OF 82 FOR 1972 POLICE SPEC' ADPS 401 JAVELIN BUILT FOR THE ALABAMA STATE TROOPERS FOR HIGHWAY PURSUIT, THESE CARS WERE BUILT IN LOW NUMBERS AND ONLY IN SERVICE FOR 2 YRS APPROX THEN SOLD OFF AT POLICE AUCTION, VERY FEW SURVIVE TODAY AND THIS IS 1 OF 12 IN ALL SILVER FOR 72'. CAR IS UNRESTORED AND A COMPLETE SURVIVOR WITH BOOKS AND DOCS , POWERED BY ITS ORIGINAL 401cu P/S P/DISC BRAKES,A/C, RALLY PACKAGE WITH GO-PAC THESE CARS WERE NEVER OUT RUN ON THE HIGHWAY BACK IN THE DAY.
LOOK AT PICS CLOSELY, YOU WILL SEE ORIG MOUNT HOLES FOR RADIO AND MIC IN INTERIOR I PUT PIC OF ONE WITH ORIG MOTOROLA RADIO IN FOR REFERENCE, ALSO LOOK AND SEE ORIG MOUNT POINTS ON FROM BEHIND GRILL FROM SIREN AND LOUD SPEAKER MOUNTS!! A TRUE UNMOLESTED SURVIVOR!!
THIS CAR HAS ALL ITS ORIGINAL INTERIOR, WINDSHIELD AND GLASS, AND SHOWS WELL FOR A UNRESTORED CAR, A/C BLOWS COLD, CAR RUNS AND DRIVES VERY GOOD, SHOWING ONLY 73000 ORIG MILES ITS A TRUE TIME CAPSULE, YOU NEVER SEE THESE COME UP FOR SALE AND THE ULTIMATE JAVELIN FOR THE AMC COLLECTOR, SEE HISTORY BELOW,,,
This 1972 AMC Javelin SST is powered by a 401ci V8 engine backed by an automatic transmission. This was previously an Alabama State Trooper vehicle. This is one of 83 ordered by the ADPS in 1972 and rides on 8-slot Rally wheels.
Normally, the ADPS sourced its vehicles from various US car makers through a ‘lowest bid’ procedure every two years (Whichever maker could provide vehicles within the ADPS specifications, for the lowest price, won). AMC, like the other major auto builders, produced special 'fleet' vehicles for use by businesses from Taxi/Limo companies to Police and Fire departments. These were usually big, four door sedans, like the Matador and Ambassador. But, in a budget crunch, the ADPS was looking to save money on its upcoming patrol car order, so smaller cars would be considered. AMC was looking to promote sales anyway they could, and Police service, especially for Javelins, would offer great public exposure, so AMC made huge price concessions to make this sale happen.
In 1971, Reinhardt AMC of Montgomery, Alabama, loaned the ADPS a Javelin-SST for evaluation:
Supplied thru Reinhardt AMC of Montgomery, the AMX was silver and adorned with standard ADPS markings, and given the usual roof beacon (Dietz model 7-11), antenna and radio. As this car was 'on the lot' and not ordered specifically for the ADPS testing, it's has some equipment not normally found on a police car...the most obvious of which is the vinyl top! The black tail panel and Machine wheels indicate this is a ‘Go’ package-equipped car, meaning it also has the Rallye gauge package, functional cowl induction system and more. Further, other photos of this car, not included here, show it also wore the optional black ‘T’-stripe on the hood! One way-cool cop car!
This car was sent to tour the various Highway Patrol posts around the state to be field-tested by State Troopers, in real-world usage. One such trooper was Lieutenant (then-Corporal) David H. Parker, now retired, of the Dothan post. On his first night using the AMX, he was involved in the pursuit of a fleeing suspect, bent on crossing the border into Florida. Parker states that speeds were in excess of 120mph and his confidence in the Javelin's brakes, handling and power was such that he was willing to bring his car bumper-to-bumper with the suspect car at those speeds. He was that sure the Javelin would be able to react to anything the other guy did.
Headquarters had been impressed with the AMX's abilities, but further cost-cutting was needed on the cars, so the decision to go with plainer, base model Javelins was made... though the powerful drivetrain remained essentially unchanged. It was now late in the 1971 model year, but still an order was placed. They received 71 base-model Javelins. Of this total, 61 were all-silver while 10 were unmarked cars in various colors. The cars were supplied by Reinhardt AMC of Montgomery.
These pictures (submitted by Larry Daum) and the photo at the top of this page (submitted by Lloyd Culp) show one of the 1971 Javelin Pursuit cars. According to an ADPS Sergeant, the trooper's uniform is of 1971 vintage also, as in 1972, they switched to the 'Smokey Bear campaign hat' and a rectangular shoulder patch. The door decal also changed for 1972, and this car wears a correct '71 shield. 1971's shields read 'Alabama State Trooper' while 1972's shields read 'State Trooper Alabama'
In the rear angle picture, notice the '401' emblem on the spoiler where 'AMX' appears when the spoiler is used on a JavelinAMX. This use of the rear 401 emblem is unique to the ADPS Javelins.
Each '71 Javelin was a base-model wearing 'Machine' 5-slot mag wheels with Good Year Polyglas raised-white-lettered tires. They were powered by a special 'fleet service' version of AMC's new 401cid 4-barrel V8 engine, backed by a Borg-Warner automatic transmission. Other 'fleet service' items were underneath, like brake and suspension components. Each also received a full 'Rally' gauge package, including tachometer and 140mph speedometer (this speedometer was NOT a ‘certified calibration’ unit as found on Matador and Ambassador police cars.
While the bulk of the Javelins were indeed intended for Highway Patrol use, a little 'string-pulling' facilitated a few Javelins being ordered for use by some of the more 'privileged' members of the force. These cars remained 'unmarked' and had their antennae and radios mounted a bit more stealthily.
All ADPS Javelins got a rear spoiler, normally available only on a Javelin AMX model, but not for the usual reason, which is improved high-speed handling. Instead, it was needed to better display the "STATE TROOPER" markings on the rear of the car that would otherwise be unreadable due to the decklid's extreme angle. To fill the holes in the spoiler normally filled by an 'AMX' emblem, these cars got a third '401' emblem, to match the ones on each front fender. Oddly, the unmarked cars also got the spoiler and third emblem…strange since cost was a big part of the purchase. If not ‘STATE TROOPER’ marking would be on these unmarked cars, why add the spoiler?
The '71 marked-patrol cars were Silver, the interiors blue and spartan. Unmarked '71s came in several interior and exterior colors. Interiors of the '71s were in the standard 'Tampico' embossed vinyl.
For 1972, the ADPS bought 62 more Javelins: 12 in the all-silver paint scheme which completed the initial ’71 order for 83 cars total, then 42 in the new blue-over-silver scheme, and 8 more unmarked cars in various colors which were a second later order for 50 cars. The '72 Javelins were somewhat different from the '71 versions, just as the '72 Javelin you or I could buy were different from the preceding '71s including a new front grille and tail light treatment, and 8-slot 'Rally' wheels. And since the plainer 'base model' Javelin was no longer available, all the '72s were the more up-scale 'Javelin SST' models. This resulted in the interior trim being wood-grained instead of the aluminum-look of the '71s. SSTs also received rocker and fender well trim, and 'SST' emblems on the rear quarter panels.
The 401-V8 lost about 20HP, but was now backed by the 'bullet-proof' A727 'Torque-Command' automatic transmission, based on the Chrysler 'Torque-Flite' transmissions.
The earliest '72 SSTs were bluish silver all over, while the later ones had dark blue hoods, decklids and spoilers. Some folks at ADPS swear that the blue was put on by ADPS, not by AMC. I believe they painted the hoods and tails of the earlier all-silver cars after the last batch of cars arrived from AMC with the blue already on. This would have been done as each car came into the shop for normal service or repairs, to keep the ‘look’ of the earlier cars consistent with the newest ones.
All '72s received the standard 'Wellington' pleated vinyl seats. Also, some of the ‘72s received upgraded roof beacons, Dietz model 2-11, which was the same as the 7-11, but one of the four lights was angled upward slightly, increasing visibility of the cars.
The ’72 cars were delivered through both Reinhardt AMC of Montgomery and Bill Whitten AMC / Datsun in Birmingham.