Land-speed legend Craig Breedlove set a production car record in this 1968 Javelin
A Bonneville-veteran 1968 AMC Javelin is headed to Mecum’s Indianapolis sale, May 13–21. This car previously sold for $85,000 back in 2012, but Mecum has much higher expectations this time around, with an estimated sale price of $150,000-$175,000. What kind of pedigree does it take to warrant such a premium? Claiming a land speed record while being piloted by the first person to reach 500 mph and 600 mph on land certainly helps.
This car and two nearly identical siblings were built by AMC for a promotion with Car Craft magazine and Edelbrock. Nine entrants would be selected via mail-in entry to make up three, three-person teams that would tune and crew three specially-prepared 1968 Javelins. Craig Breedlove would then race them on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Just a few years prior, Breedlove had been in the midst of a land-speed-record spree with brothers Walt and Art Arfons, who each built and campaigned cars to claim the title of world’s fastest. Breedlove’s 600.601 mph record, set in 1965, was still holding in November 1968 when the “Javelin Speed Spectacular at Bonneville” was held. Breedlove drove each car across the salt and this one, the middle of the three, was the fastest, claiming the C/Production record with a flying mile speed of 161.733 mph.
Despite the listing claiming that the car is powered by a 304-cubic-inch V-8, the car’s emblems, number, and engine class say otherwise. The SCTA’s “C” engine class is for engine displacements from 306–372.99 cubic inches. AMC’s 304 V-8 would have competed in the D engine class, and it didn’t debut until 1970.
The SCTA’s “Production” class requires modifications for safety and allows lots of engine modification, but they’re strict on what’s allowed as far as aerodynamics. A vehicle’s factory spoilers and air dams can make a world of difference, and competitors have selected some interesting cars based on what slides through the air without becoming unstable at speed. One of the most successful cars in the Production class right now is a Chevy Monza campaigned by John Cohn and Bob Jucewic; it currently holds three records as high as 228.140 mph set back in 2008. The C/Pro record is currently held by Ed Voss, who piloted his 1973 Mustang fastback to a two-way average of 221.871 mph in 2020.
We’re not exactly sure what the AMC team did to squeeze extra power out of the AMC 343 V-8, but the sponsor lettering on the door gives us a pretty good idea. “Mondello Porting” points to cylinder head modifications by Joe Mondello, the southern California engine builder who became synonymous with high-performance Oldsmobile V-8s. There are also “Doug’s Headers” and “Crower Cams” which speak for themselves. Obvious upgrades in the engine bay include a beefy ignition system and cross-ram intake from Edelbrock, topped by a pair of Holley carburetors. That intake, Edelbock’s STR-11, is a sought-after piece and they’re in short supply today, with prices in the $3000 range.
Considering many of the most high-profile race cars of the muscle car era were road course or drag strip vehicles, this land speed promotion makes this Javelin a bit of an oddity. For the collector that values land speed racing royalty, however, it doesn’t get much cooler than Craig Breedlove, and AMC’s early Javelin is arguably the best-looking pony car the brand ever built. Combine that with one of the best paint schemes in racing and this might be the hottest AMC this side of a Mark Donohue-driven Trans Am Javelin.
But Donohoe’s Javelin never had a parachute on the back, that’s for sure.