One of the first Friday posts on this blog was about American Motors Corp., which built cars in Kenosha and Milwaukee until Chrysler bought AMC in 1987.
We owned one AMC product — a 1973 Javelin that looked something like this …
… except that (1) it was a Javelin, not an AMX; (2) it had a 304, not 401, v-8; (3) it had a fatter gold side stripe that started cracking days after we got it; and (4) being a base model, it had wheel covers and not these wheels. It did have bucket seats, a console and a floor shifter, but that was about the only option. (It didn’t even have a parking brake light, which resulted in a moment when a driver — not me — thought something was wrong with the car instead of merely the parking brake being on.)
The Javelin and our much larger Chevrolet Caprice were the cars in which I learned to drive. The Javelin lacked power brakes, though that actually didn’t take that much getting used to. The 304 provided decent power and predictably bad gas mileage. As a pony car it lacked any kind of room in the trunk or behind the front seats.
The Javelin was also, it must be said, a poorly-screwed-together car. A trip on a gravel road during a Boy Scout canoeing campout shook out nearly every screw that kept interior parts in their place. In addition to the giant space of nothing where the clock went (AMC was far from unusual in that regard), it had a light underneath the heat controls, but no light bulb or socket. It was also predictably nose-heavy given the iron-block V-8 (there is no such thing as a “small-block” and a “big block” AMC V-8; AMC had three different designs of V-8s, but each generation used the same block, in this case from the 304 to the 401) and light in back.
The only other AMC I can remember anyone having is an aunt and uncle’s Cherokee …
… the two-door version of the four-door Wagoneer, one of which I saw strangely on Halloween.
AMCs are hard to find at car shows, largely because not many were made, and most of those that were made rotted away in the lands of winter. For one thing AMC was, under the leadership of George Romney (yes, Mitt’s father; had Mitt been elected president in 2012 his Secret Service code name was going to be “Javelin”), a lower-priced economy car, such as that was in the ’50s and ’60s. It wasn’t until the older Romney became governor of Michigan that AMC started to build more performance vehicles, including the Rebel Machine and the AMX, which simply was a Javelin with the back seats removed and the back end shortened.)
This is all preamble for what a Wisconsin company …
Ringbrothers out of Spring Green, Wisconsin is back with another wild build that was unveiled on Tuesday at the 2017 SEMA show.
The car is a 1972 AMC Javelin AMX that’s been hit up with a Hellcat engine transplant. However, the 6.2-liter supercharged V-8’s 707 horsepower didn’t suffice so Ringbrothers swapped out the stock supercharger for a 4.5-liter Whipple unit that now sees the engine deliver 1,100 thundering horses!
The build was commissioned by antifreeze expert Prestone to celebrate its 90th anniversary, hence the car’s distinct yellow exterior which Ringbrothers likes to call Jalop Gold. That paint, by the way, is applied to mostly carbon fiber pieces. The hood, front fenders, grille, and the front valance all feature the lightweight material.
Other mods include a custom 4-link rear suspension, a 12-bolt axle, side exhaust exits, and a modern braking system.
Jim and Mike Ring, the founders of Ringbrothers, have treasured the Javelin since childhood so they knew immediately that it would be the perfect blank canvas when Prestone first inquired about the build. With only 3,220 ever produced, this car embodies American muscle car history and even in stock form looks darn cool with its low, wide stance.
The build was completed in 12 months, which is relatively quick given the scope of the project. In order to achieve the quick turnaround, Ringbrothers used 3D scanning and 3D printing for the first time, helping them to speed up the development of the plugs and molds.
The 1972 Javelin isn’t the only build on Ringbrothers’ SEMA stand. The company also unveiled a Ford F-100 restomod and a 1969 Dodge Charger dubbed the Defector. The F-100 boasts a 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 crate engine, while the 1969 Charger features a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine.
Clearly I have to check out this place. (For one thing, it’s not far from the two farm markets we visit most falls.) A Hellcat is not an AMC engine, but other than the Indy-car engine (would you believe 1,100 horsepower from a turbocharged 209?), I think it’s impossible to get that much horsepower from any AMC engine. Since Chrysler purchased AMC, it’s more accurate than putting in a GM or Ford V-8.
Given my love for large cars (and the zero legroom of Javelin rear seats), it would be interesting to see the Ringbrothers do a similar project for another AMC …
… the infamous 1974–78 Matador coupe (which, believe it or don’t, was raced in NASCAR). There are some custom Matadors out there …
… but none, I believe, with supercharged Hellcat engines.
Perhaps I could have it painted like the NASCAR Matador …
… which in turn was painted like the racing Javelin: