July 26, 2003: Nothing new to report except that I’ve acquired replacement hood trim, a rear target emblem, a new horn cap, reproduction dash handle, used headlamp bezels and more, all in real nice shape. I’m continuing to gather parts while the car sits awaiting more effort. For the moment, I’m working to get my Spirit-AMX and Eagle SX/4 on the road. Then, I’ll get back on track with this car.
March 10, 2003: One of the things that happen after creating a bigger website like this one is that visitors contact you for advice or other help- and often. This can sometimes be a bother if you’re the only person that works on the site, as I am. But a side-benefit of all this contact is that when visitors are looking to sell something, I often have first crack at it. Of course, more often than not, I’m in no financial position to take advantage of the occasional ‘deal’ that is offered. Yesterday (Sunday the 9th) was not one of those times. Early in the day, I received this Email from ‘Joe’:
I have a '74 401 that needs bodywork. It has a rebuilt engine w/ less than 10,000 miles on it, a good rear,
dash board, & trans. I am asking $1,000 or best offer. I'm from NJ. If you know anyone interested
call JOSEPH at xxx.xxx.xxxx THANK YOU
Looking again at it now, I realize it never dawned on me that it might not be a Javelin- I just assumed. I wasn’t in the market for another Javelin- or any other car- at the moment, but the price screamed ‘steal me’. I called him, asked a boatload of questions. Afterwards, my big fear was that *IF* the car was an original 401 AMX with all the original gear, it was going to be seen as a ‘parts goldmine’ by someone looking to turn over the parts for quick cash, and at the price, a lot of money could be made. I remembered my similar White ’74 AMX 401 of a decade ago- I had sold her for $800 to a jerk… err….’guy’ that swore it would be finished, not parted, only to see his phone number in an ad that was offering all the unique parts my car had only a week later. Another rare bird sacrificed for spending money.
I didn’t want the same to happen to this car if it was all that Joe was claiming, so I arranged to meet later in the day to see the car.
I arrived around 5PM to find the car wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined, and seemed well-worth the asking price. Sure, it’s rough, but this is New Jersey- nothing survives here. However, just about every ‘hard-to-find’ part is still there and intact- the grille box and screen need little to be excellent, same for the spoiler and cowl hood. The AMX-only interior items are all there, as are five 15” Rallye wheels. And, of course, the 401 V8 still lurks below the hood. See below for a list of the car’s gear and it’s condition.
Joe’s uncle had bought the car new in February 1974, and turned it over to Joe in 1989 at age 17. Joe asked ‘What was he thinking!?’ I responded ‘He must not like you- he tried to get you killed!’ Joe’s dad pointed out that Joe’s leather-clad appearance and the car’s bright red paint (combined with Joe’s youthfully exuberant driving style) made him a favorite among the local cops. They got acquainted, often. So each of this car’s two previous owners each had it for 15 years.
Except for the carb, wipers, radio, speakers, tires and other routine maintenance items, the car is unaltered from original form. Joe is quick to state the wipers were never used on the road. A pal installed them as a mocking joke recently as the car sat, stating they were his contribution toward getting the car back on the road. I’m guessing his pal wears one of Joe’s boots in his rectum now.
We agreed on a price, I left a deposit on a handshake (without getting a receipt- some guys you just feel can be trusted) and returned Monday with a flatbed to bring it north to my In-Laws’ property in Morristown. Joe had dug up a fifth 15” Rallye wheel for spare-tire duty, as well as the original plastic Guarantee Card in his uncle’s name, a few embroidered AMC and AMX patches, the original Owner’s Manual, and a weathered-but-complete Technical Service Manual.
Above photo is altered to conceal previous owner names and part of the VIN.
Subject to revision: My preference for her final look (minus the tint job),
wearing ‘G4’ Plum Metallic.
Factory Equipment (see ‘Condition’, below, for current equipment):
‘D7’ Trans Am Red, Black Domino Interior
q 401 ‘Go’ package, includes:
ü 401-cid-4-barrel V8 engine
ü Twin-Grip rear differential, 3.54:1 ratio
ü Dual Exhaust
ü Rally-Pac Gauges, adds:
· Oil Pressure Gauge
· Tachometer/Clock combination (Tick-Tach)
· 140mph Speedometer
ü Handling Package
· Heavy Duty Springs
· Heavy Duty Shock Absorbers
ü Heavy Duty Engine Cooling Package
· Heavy Duty Radiator
· Power-flex Fan
· Fan shroud
ü 15” Rallye Wheels (2 trim rings missing)
ü Hood ‘T’-stripe (removed when painted)
ü Tail panel blackout (removed when painted)
ü Power Disc Brakes
q A727 Torque-Command (TorqueFlight) automatic transmission
q Power Steering
q Air Conditioning
q Rear Defogger
q AM/FM Radio push-button radio with four speakers (removed, saved)
Current Condition (March 2003):
VIN: A4C798Z2785_ _
Door Tag Codes:
029858 [Sequence number assigned at Kenosha Body Plant]
7479-8 [74=1974, 7=Javelin model, 9=2-door hardtop, 8=AMX variant]
421P [Black ‘Domino’ fabric interior trim]
D7 [‘Trans Am Red’ exterior paint]
E123829 [123,828th 1974-model AMC vehicle completed on the East assembly line of the Kenosha Final Assembly Plant,
January 1974 (starting number was ‘000001’)]
Mileage: 78,900.9 (Documented Original)
It remains to be seen if conditions and finances allow me to do all I’d like to with this car. But in the event I reach a point where I decide I can’t do it, I’ll only resell it if the buyer pays a price that equals the value of it’s separate parts. That way, there’s no incentive to break it up. If it doesn’t sell at the inflated price, it’ll rest covered until it does or until I can address its needs myself.