Teen project car: 1972 AMC Javelin SST

Farm Forum

Paul Bagnell had just turned 16 years old in the summer of 2012 when he and his father began shopping for his first car. Young Bagnell had set his sights on a muscle car, as well as a pony car. Eventually, a 1972 AMC Javelin SST was located in Pennsylvania.

Father and son went to investigate and were told the car had been languishing inside a garage for a couple of decades. As soon as the garage door opened Bagnell experienced the “wow” moment. Right then he knew the old AMC was the car for him.

“I’ve got to have it,” he thought.

The odometer showed the 1972 Javelin SST had been driven only 51,000 miles. Originally, the car had worn a coat of copper brown paint, but somewhere along the line had been resprayed a metallic green paint. Father and son sealed the deal, but they returned home without the car. A week later the father returned with a trailer to retrieve the Javelin while his son was in school.

When new the AMC Javelin could have been ordered equipped with one of two six-cylinder engines or one of four V-8 engines. This car came equipped with the smallest 304-cubic-inch V-8 engine that develops 150 horsepower. That power is transferred to the rear-drive wheels via an automatic transmission. The gear selector handle, resembling something out of an aircraft cockpit is mounted on the floor between the bucket seats. For that matter, everything the driver sees or touches is designed to appear as if it came out of an airplane.

Once the 3,118-pound Javelin was at his home, Bagnell began researching its past. He discovered that the base price of his 1972 vehicle was $2,901 and that it left the factory equipped with power drum brakes and power steering. Between the bumpers the car stretches just a hair less than 16-feet-long. It is 6.25-feet-wide and the entire vehicle rides on a 110-inch wheelbase.

The inside of the Javelin seems to be covered in either vinyl or carpeting in a dark tan color. Bagnell has already replaced the heater core, the two-barrel Autolite carburetor and two new front tires. As his finances allow, improvements will be made to his car he says.

Each door has a removable litter bag, which was standard equipment on the 1972 Javelins.

While seated behind the slotted three-spoke steering wheel Bagnell has a clear view of the instruments, including the optimistic 120-mph speedometer.

He has installed an aftermarket tachometer attached to the steering column in order to keep an eye on the performance of the engine.

Bagnell has learned that his Javelin SST drinks fuel from the 13.2-gallon gasoline tank at the rate of 13 miles per gallon in the cooler winter months and improves to 16 mpg during the summer. Refueling the Javelin is done through the filler pipe that’s hidden behind the rear license plate beneath the rear bumper.

After almost 54,000 miles on the odometer the young owner remains pleased with his Javelin. He knows that both rear quarter panels are plagued with rust and need to be replaced, but that fact is fine with him.

“I wanted a project car,” he says, “and I got myself one.”

In the meantime, as a senior in high school this year, Bagnell will drive to school in his AMC Javelin SST with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

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