Muscle car lovers appreciate the AMC Javelin because American Motors Corp. was much like The Little Engine That Could, and to beat all the Javelin was handsomely styled too.
Once AMC decided to take it racing in the Trans Am series in 1970, the company gained even more respect from racers as it was instantly competitive with the Mustangs and Camaros of the day.
But for 1971 the smooth lines of the original Javelin were lengthened and serious fender bulges appeared over the front wheel wells to give the Javelin a wilder more muscular look that got people’s attention. And Replicarz chooses that model to replicate in 1/18 scale for its exclusive Trans Am model line, mainly because this version was the most successful racer in AMC and Javelin’s history.
After winning two Trans Am titles with Chevrolet, Penske Racing took over the Javelin racing effort in 1970. It went on to win the Trans Am Championship in 1971 with Mark Donohue before turning the Trans Am effort over to Roy Woods Racing for 1972 when George Follmer won the title. Donohue likely needs little introduction as he was a successful road racer that also won the 1972 Indianapolis 500, the first of Team Penske’s now 18 Indy wins.
But George Follmer is less well known yet was a tremendously successful and versatile racer. Our review model is of the car Follmer won the Trans Am driver’s and manufacturer’s championship in 1972. Replicarz also offers this model replicating Donohue’s 1971 championship car, although those may be sold out already, as it was a fast mover in die-cast, just as on the racetrack, Replicarz tells us.
Once AMC committed to running the Javelin in Trans Am it made 2,501 of what it called Mark Donohue Javelin SST models to homologate the model for racing. Rules dictated that a race car had to be part of at least a 2,500-unit production schedule. Under the hood was AMC’s 390 cu. In. (6.4-liter) V8 that was reworked to meet other Trans Am rules.
The result? Donohue won 7 of 10 Trans Am races in 1971 and Follmer won 4 of 7 in 1972, although he only competed in six races as the schedule was cut short that season because the series was waning in popularity. Some say the dominance of AMC in 1971 and 1972 hastened the series demise.
As for Follmer, who raced nearly every type car during his career, he also won the open-cockpit 1972 Can-Am series championship. He raced in the Indianapolis 500 three times and in the IndyCar series for 6 seasons, winning the 1969 race at Phoenix International Raceway. He also competed in Formula 1 with the UOP Shadow team in 1973, netting a podium third place at the Spanish Grand Prix. He also raced in NASCAR and once at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
History is one thing, but stirring looks is another and the Javelin from 1971 and 1972 is iconic in appearance and delivers on the patriotism front too. American Motors was never shy about playing up the “American” part of its name, so going with a red, white and blue color scheme probably was little surprise to the general public.
Yet up to this point AMC had not been a big participate in auto racing, and here it was competing in the highly competitive Trans Am series, along with drag racing. This Replicarz model beautifully captures its red, white and blue finish and its shape is well replicated in resin. Note this is a sealed body car, so the hood, doors and trunk lid do not open. But exterior detail is fine, as you’d expect from Replicarz.
The 1972 cars were still relatively clean with minimal sponsor stickers. This one has “American Motors Dealers” emblazoned on the rear quarter panels, Roy Woods Racing logos on each door and the nose, and just five other logos on the front quarter panel in front and behind the wheel well. George Follmer’s name appears in red script on the roof over each door. The nose spoiler also has Javelin imprinted on it, plus on the tail along with the AMC logo and another Roy Woods logo.
Nose and tail are accurately depicted with chrome bumpers and realistic lights. Remember these weren’t like today’s “stock”cars with fake bodies laid over a special race chassis. There are metal-look hood and trunk fasteners, plus a gas cap and fuel filler that jut from the car’s tail, just below the rear wing.
I like the photo-etched metal trim on the windshield and rear window and the PE strips that cover the edges of that rear window to hold it in place if the wind were to pop it out while racing. There are small metal tabs to keep the windshield in place also.
Tires are Goodyear labeled and the wheels white racing models with black caps and silver lug nuts. Down low on the body, just below the doors are twin silver exhaust outlets to vent that powerful V8 you can imagine being under the hood.
Inside you see the black racing seat with a blue roll bar that crisscrosses the roof, and a well-shaped blue air scoop to deliver fresh air to the driver during a race. A Goodyear logo graces that too.
This racer has a light blue-faced instrument panel with the basic gauges, a black steering wheel with three silver spokes and a big shifter with black ball knob atop the transmission hump. There are a couple silver canisters on the passenger’s side floor and wiring running back to the fuel cell in the trunk.
The only thing that could make this model better is an opening hood to reveal the AMC V8, but that no doubt would run up the cost and let’s be realistic, most of us pose our cars with the hoods and trunks closed. As is, this one is a major attention getter!
Vital Stats: 1972 AMC Javelin Trans Am, George Follmer