Best Muscle Cars

Old Aussie Muscle: The AMC Rambler Javelin

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1972 AMI-Rambler-Javelin

Dave Ashton

America may be the birthplace of the muscle car, but Australia is probably its first cousin when it comes to powerful muscle machines. Back in the 1960s, during the classic era of muscle cars AMI (Australian Motor Industries) were the first importers of right-hand drive pony cars into Australia.

The company imported the likes of Ramblers, Triumphs and Toyotas tracing its roots back to 1926, but it wasn’t until 1960 when a deal was struck with AMC to import Completely Knocked Down Kits (CKD) versions of their vehicles for the Australian market. To gain tariff concessions, many of the vehicles were supplied with parts from local Australian suppliers such as seats, lights and carpeting.

First came the Hornet, Matador and Rebel, with the AMX and Javelin coming later bringing along the hallowed V8. Originally marketed as “super” personal luxury cars with a 343 c.u./5.6-litre 280HP V8, three speed ‘Shift Command’ automatic transmission, with disc brakes, ‘twin-grip’ limited slip differential and power steering. Paint colors were different from the US models with such colors as Safety Wattle, Columbine Blue, Havana Gold, Willow, Signal Red, Desert Beige, Deep Russet, Cream, Caribbean and Mocca.

The cost was quite high at the time for these vehicles. In 1968 the Aussie javelin cost $7,495 in comparison to a Holden HK Monaro GTS at $3,790 with a 327 cu V8 and a Ford XT GT Falcon at $4,200. Due to the high pricetag only 90 Javelins were produced in 1968, 15 in 1969, 17 in 1970 and only 48 in 1972. There were no Javelins produced in 1971. This makes these vehicles are very rare and highly desirable.

AMI carried on production with the Hornet, Matador and Gremlin up until 1977 before eventually being sold to Toyota, which still uses the Port Melbourne plant. If you are interested in these vehicles, own one or want to find out more about them, check out

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