Cohort Capsule: 1971 & 1972 AMC Javelin – The Trendsetter

(Posted to the Cohort by Rashad S)  People often claim trends start in California.  That is not always the case.  While much ballyhoo was made about the California Highway Patrol using Ford Mustangs as patrol cars starting in the early 1980s, using pony cars was ancient practice for another state, a state that was the real trendsetter.

That state would be Alabama.

It seems that in the early 1970s the State of Alabama was in a budget crunch yet still needed new cars for their state troopers.  In an effort that was shrewd as much as it was altruistic, Reinhardt AMC of Montgomery loaned a 304 cubic inch V8 powered Javelin SST to the Alabama Department of Public Safety for evaluation.

Intrigued but not yet convinced, primarily due to the 304 being underpowered for their purposes, the Department of Public Safety returned the Javelin to the dealer in exchange for a 401 cubic inch V8 powered Javelin AMX the dealer donated to them.  This particular car came from dealer inventory; it is even claimed to have had a vinyl top.

This AMX proved quite popular with Alabama’s troopers.  While prices were quite favorable in comparison to the traditional four-door full-sized sedan, further cost cutting was needed.  Ultimately the Department of Public Safety ordered 71 base model Javelins equipped with the 401 and rear spoilers as found on the AMX.

The spoilers were needed to mount the “STATE TROOPER” lettering.  From the factory these spoilers had holes fabricated for a badge that said AMX.  In a effort to not sell any entity a seemingly disfigured car, AMC plugged the holes by placing a third “401” badge on the spoiler of Alabama bound cars.  The other two “401” badges were on the front fenders.

Orders between 1971 and 1972 brought about the purchase of 132 Javelins for use by Alabama State Troopers.  The Javelin-AMX registry has documented the existence of 16 of these cars; another source has claimed twenty-four still exist.

These preservationists are to be commended.  Most of the remaining Alabama Javelins are in southern states although the registry has one in New York, one in New Jersey, and two in Ohio.  No true examples have yet been reported as having migrated further west than Texas.

Perhaps the featured one has.

Related Reading:

Unusual or Unexpected Police Cars by JS

1971 Javelin Road Test by GN