Everybody remembers the Mustang SSP. A few might have seen a Camaro B4C, with a lightbar and everything. If you lived in California, you might have seen one of the Camaro Z28s that the CHP was testing out in the late 1970s. But one car started the trend of a muscle car as a service vehicle, and neither Mustang or Camaro was first. That distinction goes directly to American Motors. Between 1971 and 1972, the Alabama Department of Public Safety ordered up 401-powered AMC Javelins for fleet use. Yeah, it actually happened. Why? As the story goes, the Fords that the department had been used to buying had lost a fleet purchase incentive and Alabama didn’t have the coin to pony up for a whole new fleet of Blue Oval boxes to replace the old ones.
Meanwhile, at a Montgomery, Alabama AMC dealership, the vice-president was more than well aware of the state’s funding problems…as well as the financial issues surrounding American Motors. Because the VP was friends with the director of the Department at the time, a kind of good-old-boy deal happened: the VP suggested trying out some AMC products to see what worked and the director made the call and brought in two test cars: a 1971 Javelin SST with a two-barrel 304 and a 1971 Javelin AMX with a 401. Both got blue lights and just enough state trooper markings to be official and got put to the test. It was later documented that the AMX was “the most abused police car in the history of Alabama.” Look…between you and me, readers…if your work-day job put you behind the wheel of one of these cars, would you resist the urge? Didn’t think so.
To shorten the story up some, after the second engine was put into the test AMX, ADPS put in orders for Javelins. The plan in 1971 was for a base-model car with the 401 and automatic, but fitted up with some (but not all) of the Go-Package. The full gauge kit, power disc brakes, suspension, radiator, Machine wheels, power steering and air conditioning made it in. The 3.91 gears were ditched in favor of 2.87s, the Twin-Grip was not kept, and the cowl-induction hood was replaced with a flat unit.
For 1972, 62 Javelin SSTs were ordered. Other than a slight color alteration (blue-over-silver instead of Quick Silver Metallic), steel wheels in lieu of the Machine units, a Chrysler transmission instead of the Borg-Warner automatic, and a slight price bump, the cars were the same. The rear spoiler found on the AMX was used only for a place to put the State Trooper decals and the holes for the AMX logo was filled with a 401 callout instead. If you were stupid enough to try to run, failure was your only option. How the hell are you going to sprint from a 401 Javelin with flyer gears and a country boy behind the wheel?
How many ADPS Javelins are left? “A handful” is a very good guess, maybe less than twenty real-deal cars. And this is one for sale for a modest sum. You want to have one of the baddest service vehicles ever crafted? Here you go…
eBay Link: 1972 American Motors Javelin SST 401 ex-Alabama State Trooper
That’s got to be an AMC lovers dream find.
I bet the Rung brothers wish they could have made theirs this cool