Part 1: Ask the Man Who Owned OneThe enthusiasm you see in AMC Javelin owners…
AMC Javelin values are steady as a rock
In the sometimes-volatile collector car marketplace, recent 1968–74 AMC Javelin values have been as steady as a surgeon’s hand. The car’s popularity relative to the rest of the market, on the other hand, is what you would expect from a ride on a Six Flags roller coaster: lots of ups and downs.
Javelin values have been a picture of consistency for the last five years, remaining largely flat, with the median #2 (Excellent) value up only 1 percent during that time. A 1968 Javelin carries an average #2 value of $17,900 and a #3 (Good) value of $13,700, while a final-year ’74 Javelin is valued at $14,300 (#2) and $11,500 (#3). Cars with an automatic transmission are worth 20-percent less, on average.
While Javelin values have been steady, the model’s market temperature has taken some big swings. The car’s current Hagerty Value Rating is 63, down 12 points from its previous rating but way up from an awful 20-24-20 run in late 2018–early 2019. What does that mean? The higher the number, the “hotter” the car is in the marketplace.
[The Hagerty Vehicle Rating uses insurance quoting activity, the number of newly issued policies, sales data, auction activity, and other metrics to rank vehicles compared to the overall collector car market. Based on a 100-point scale, a vehicle keeping pace with the market will score 50. Ratings above 50 show above-average interest; vehicles with a sub-50-point rating are trailing in the market.]
“Other than a recent surge in the number of people quoting Javelins, they’re holding steady like they have for years,” says Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton, noting that quoting activity is at 81, while insurance activity (policies) is at 57.
The vast majority of Javelin insurance activity comes from older enthusiasts. Baby Boomers account for 43 percent of quotes, while Gen-Xers are responsible for 39 percent. The number of overall quotes is up 12 percent in the past year after being down during the previous two years.
The Javelin was American Motors’ entry into the pony car race, four years after the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda got things started. The Javelin, designed by Dick Teague and unveiled for the ’68 model year, had clean and understated lines along with a back seat big enough for adults and hidden beneath a swooping tail. Javelins could be ordered for around $2500 (about $18,500 today) and outfitted with all manner of engines, from an economical 232-cubic-inch six-cylinder powerplant to 290-, 343-, and 390-cu-in V-8s. The premium Javelin SST came with reclining bucket seats, wood-grain trim, and unique wheel covers.
AMC sold 55,000 Javelins that first year, which was more than the Barracuda (45,000) but far behind the Mustang (300,000) and Chevrolet’s Camaro (235,000). Unfortunately, that was the high-water mark of the Javelin’s seven-year run.
Special versions included the 1970 Mark Donohue Signature Edition and the ’70 Trans-Am Edition, a cool red-white-and-blue tribute to AMC’s success in the SCCA Trans-Am Series. Only 100 Trans-Am versions were built, and they’re easily the most valuable: $125,000 in #1 (Concours) condition, $87,000 in #2 condition, $66,000 in #3 condition, and $45,000 in #4 (Fair) condition.
The popularity of those rarer cars relative to the rest of the market never seems to waver, unlike the ebb and flow of Javelins overall. The pony car’s values don’t play favorites, though; they’re steady as a rock.
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