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Monday, March 24, 2014

Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning 1971 AMC Javelin AMX

AMC was late to the pony car wars that the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird started in the mid-to-late 1960's, yet arrived with some eye-catching pieces.  The Javelin was the first vehicle from AMC to go after the pony car competition.  The AMX was the high-performance version with rear seat delete and big-bad colors on a monochromatic look.  The AMX was cancelled in 1971, now merged into the rest of the Javelin line as a performance package.

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The classic 1971 Javelin shape

Once regarded as 'futuristic', the 1971 Javelin featured a more pronounced long hood/short deck look with the front fenders having a raised look to match the aggressive front-end with headlights now mated into the grille.  The rear has the one-piece rectangular taillights with the integrated rear spoiler.  The interior still carried the twin-cockpit design of its predecessor, now with the information and switches more tailored to the driver.  The AMX packaged included a fiberglass cowl hood, front and rear spoilers, mesh grille, and a 360 CID V8 producing 285 hp. through a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic.  The slippery shape, with the front and rear spoilers, helped the Javelin dominate the Trans-Am racing circuit, winning the championship in 1971, 1972, and 1976.

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The sleek Hot Wheels version

There have been many variations on this casting, but these three from the 2009 debut are the best.  The orange was the first, with the green arriving later.  The black version is the February 2009 Kmart special recolor.  All three sport the hood stripe in black (silver on the black recolor), badges on the front fenders, and AMX and Javelin on the rear decklid behind the spoiler.  The curves are gracefully done, and the correctly-shaped front and rear bumpers are part of the base.  The base features plenty of details to gawk over, while the interior features the driver-oriented dash and seats prominently.  Sadly this one was detailed with the automatic transmission instead of the four-speed indicated by the square transmission pan underneath and the basket-handle shifter inside.  Other recolors to note is a red, white, and blue side pattern and one based on the Mark Donahue Trans-Am car in 2012.

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The somewhat-confused Johnny Lightning

For it's time, the Johnny Lightning version of the Javelin is very clean-looking in this silver color.  It has the correct shape, curves, front-end detailing, but the rear has the eggcrate taillights of the 1972 model so i'm not sure which model year they're trying to depict here.  The hood opens up to a well-detailed engine compartment, the interior looks pretty good though not as great as the Hot Wheels version, and the Mag wheels look splendid.  This was my first foray into the AMX models, but at the time I've never seen the 1971 body-style before.  Even though I wanted the 1969 AMX, I admired this casting for years until someone (which happens to be Johnny Lightning again) finally offered the proper 1969 casting in my collection, plus the 1968 Javelin to boot.

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I always like the AMX's for their wild Big Bad colors and muscular stance, and these 1971 have no problem showing it off.

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