Although the AMC Javelin may not receive as much attention as its pony car counterparts, the recent appearance of a 1970 AMC Javelin Mark Donohue Edition on Jay Leno’s Garage highlights why it should not be overlooked. The Javelin was created by AMC as a competitor to the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Barracuda, not only in terms of sales but also in the SCCA Trans Am series, where they achieved success.

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In this episode of the show, Mark Fletcher, co-author of “1970 Maximum Muscle: The Pinnacle of Muscle Car Power,” proudly displays his unrestored 46,000-mile Javelin. AMC entered the racing world in 1968, initially with Kaplan Engineering, but Roger Penske took over the program for the 1970 season, with Mark Donohue as the driver.

Donohue was already a well-known name, having won the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award in 1969 and enjoying substantial success in both sports car racing and Penske’s previous Camaro Trans Am program.

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AMC decided to capitalize on Donohue’s star power with a special edition Javelin. Based on the Javelin SST, it featured a rear spoiler designed by Donohue for use on the race cars. AMC built 2,501 Donohue Editions to meet homologation requirements for that part, according to Fletcher. Under the Ram Air hood sits a 390-cubic-inch V-8, couple to a 4-speed manual transmission. When new, it made either 325 or 340 hp. A 245-hp 360-cubic-inch V-8 and 3-speed automatic were also available.

Leno spotted this Javelin outside Autobooks-Aerobooks, the bookstore in Burbank, California, that specializes in automotive topics. As he often does, Leno tracked down the owner Fletcher, and asked him to appear on the show.

Watch the full video to see Leno take this racing-inspired muscle car for a spin. For a more extreme take on the Javelin, check out the 1,100-horsepower Ringbrothers build featured on a previous episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.

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