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VAM Mexican Javelin History and Trivia (Read 2357 times)
VAM Rambler Hunter
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VAM Mexican Javelin History and Trivia
01/14/09 at 07:05:33
 
By popular demand, here's a short history on the VAM Javelin, even though I don't know this line as well as I know the Mexican Spirit (VAM Rally). I will do my best to bring the most accurate information on the Mexican version.  
 
The Seasons - 1968 through 1973
 
Javelins were built in Mexico from 1968 through 1973. I really don't know or understand why the Javelin did not make it to 1974 in Mexico. The Mexican government did have a limit over the amount of car lines a car company could have, and also a limited number of body styles within every especific car line. VAM had three bodies in the Rambler American (Hornet), two bodies in the Classic (Matador) and the stand alone line being the Javelin.  
 
It seems to me that VAM needed to make space for the Gremlin, which debuted in Mexico in 1974, and with the Matador Coupe (VAM-named Classic AMX) being now a reality VAM probably thought they could replace the Javelin with the Mat as the new big sports machine for the company. That didn't happen, Javelin always sold better and was far more popular; in the present, for every Matador Coupe you find, you get six second-generation Javelins at least.  
 
There's something a bit weird, VAM could have introduced the Gremlin since 1973 as they had dropped the Matador two-door hardtop in 1972 due to near-dead sales. This means VAM had an empty spot for 1973 that was not used, the Gremlin could have fit there. Or in the last case, VAM could have postponed the introduction of the Gremlin to 1975 and keep the Javelin for 1974, but in a very small market like the Mexican one it wouldn't have been a common sense move to have both the Matador coupe and Javelin at the same time, something that was not a problem in the larger US market where AMC had no problem offering both cars for 1974.  
 
Cars by Cars - Models by Models - Equipment and Characteristics
 
VAM Javelins were very optimized cars compared to AMC Javelins. The Vallejo Javelin had like 10% of the optional equipment that could be found in an AMC Javelin, however due to the local market circumstances and the lack of the two-seater AMX, the Mexican Javelin had more standard equipment over the AMC Javelin.  
 
The VAM 1968 Javelin came standard with individual reclining seats, sports steering wheel, TREMEC four-speed manual transmission with Hurst mechanism, driver door exterior mirror, manual drum brakes, manual steering, tach-o-meter, dashboard without woodgrain panels, 200 Km/H speed-o-meter, AM monoaural radio, wide tires, ELECTRIC WIPERS (two speed), and the largest powerplant in the house: the 160 gross HP 9.8 : 1 compression ratio 232 six cylinder engine with flat pistons and two-barrel Carter carburator.  
 
The optional equipment consisted of heater-ventilation-front defroster package, Borg-Warner three speed automatic transmission (floor only), power steering, power brakes (I don't know if front disks were available). I am not sure, but I think that's it. As you can see, the Mexican had standard characteristics that were exclusive to the future AMC Javelin AMX, or even the two seater AMX. No column-shift transmissions of any kind were ever offered, as were front bench seats and three speed manual transmissions.  
 
Notable changes came for 1969. The front seats received high backs and headrests. The floor-mounted accelerator pedal was replaced by the firewall-mounted new independent accelerator pedal. The dashboard received woodgrain panels and console became standard equipment with the automatic transmission. Chrome moldings were added to line-up, making new accents in the car's looks. The heating-ventilation-defroster equipment became standard equipment. The largest change came under the hood, VAM introduced the 170 gross HP 9.5 : 1 compression ratio 252 cubic inches six cylinder engine, second hit for Mexican engineering, making new excitement for the car.  
 
Incredibly, the US Javelin had seen corrections that never came in the VAM car. The 1969 VAM Javelin kept the same gauge and dial configuration of the 1968 Javelin, where the US AMC 1969 Javelin had a new 8000 revolutions per minute tach-o-meter on the right pod where the water temperature and gasoline level gauges were relocated to the lower portion. You can find a 1969 VAM Javelin with the recessed small tach-o-meter to the left of the speed-o-meter.  
 
For 1970, the VAM Javelin saw all the body style changes of the AMC Javelin. The new full width tail lights took place, as did the open headlight bezels and front fender extensions with the straight front bumper incorporating semi squared parking lights, having finally adopted the hood scoop. At last came the new larger rectangular side marker lights on front and rear. Mechanically, the Javelin was virtually the same car. As for the interior, the MexJav got the new steering column incorporating ignition key lock and starter. The new flat dashboard design came in as well, but the gauges were once again the same as the last two years.  
 
I have almost ran out of space in this post, I will post all the information on the second generation Javelin in a second post tomorrow. Please stay tuned.
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Mauricio Jordán Márquez

1981 VAM Rally GT - 185 HP 282 Six, Hurst Four Speed, Power Brakes, Power Steering, sway bars,
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VAM Rambler Hunter
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Re: VAM Mexican Javelin History and Trivia
Reply #1 - 01/17/09 at 16:55:03
 
The Second Generation
 
1971 saw what became the favorite AMC car in Mexico until today, the second generation Javelin. With the new looks came the new mechanicals. This came in the introduction of the 282 cubic inches six cylinder engine, rated at 200 gross HP, with 9.5 : 1 compression ratio, flat pistons and two-barrel carburator. However, a very small number of early production models still came with the 252 six cylinder engine. If I am not mistaken, the 1969 and 1970 Javelins offered disk brakes as optional equipment, as far as I know the 1971 Javelin incorporated manual front disk brakes as standard equipment.  
 
Mexican second generation Javelins have a mostly similar look to the US AMC Javelins, probably the most distinguishable styling characteristic of the VAM Javelin is the round porthole opera windows in the C-pillar, which were offered as optional equipment as a luxury accent. They were available in all three years. Another characteristic feature of the Mexican cars is the incorporation of the "4.6" emblem on both fenders regarding the displacement of the engine in Liters.  
 
In the interior all cars had the same style, woodgrain panels on the dashboard around the instrument cluster. There was no plain black plastic or bright aluminum. The instrument configuration is probably the rarest in Javelin history, which can be described as "half-rallye pak". The car came standard with a 240 kilometers per hour speed-o-meter (the most extensive on any VAM car), which translates into the 140 MPH speed-o-meter; the tach-o-meter/clock hybrid was the same as in AMC models. The rarest part is the lack of ammeter and oil pressure gauges, which were not available as optional equipment.  
 
For 1972, VAM Javelins incorporated the updates from AMC. The square-pattern grille made its debut, as did the the tail lights with the chrome grille. All 1972 VAM cars incorporated the quality upgrades and revisions done by AMC, the most noticeable of them is the incorporation of the Torque Flyte / Torque Command automatic transmission replacing the Borg Warner units. The list of standard equipment was improved with the addition of the booster for the disk brakes. Ordering the car with automatic transmission would include power steering.  
 
1973 Javelins were virtually the same as the 1972 models save for the styling changes. The rectangular mesh grille with the two quarter lights was incorporated, as were the "TV screen" tail lights. One strange thing about the 1973 Javelin was the same for the full line of VAM cars, the reclining seats were gone. So far I don't know the reason, no VAM car would offer reclining seats until 1976. This probably had something to do with the importation of accessories.  
 
VAM Javelins in general had no distinguishable trim levels (SST, base), no special editions (Mark Donohue, Trans AM, MOD), no designer interiors (Pierre Cardin), Big Bad colors or the AMX model.  
 
Items not offered in the VAM Javelin: AM FM radio (?), 8-Track Stereo radio, dual exterior mirrors, remote controlled mirrors, tilt steering column, air conditioning, shoulder portion seat belts, inside hood release, tinted glass, light group, among other accessories aside from the ones mentioned in past paragraphs.  
 
Up to this day, the Javelin stays as the grand favorite car of AMC and VAM in Mexico, with the second generation version having preference over the original model. The second generation model is very abundant compared to the original, which is very rare now. Surviving Javelins are very sought after today, by both AMCers and general car enthusiasts, and for the Mexican car hobby they are not far from being considered officially classics. It can probably be considered the most powerful stock six cylinder Javelin ever produced.
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Mauricio Jordán Márquez

1981 VAM Rally GT - 185 HP 282 Six, Hurst Four Speed, Power Brakes, Power Steering, sway bars,
Email WWW VAM Rambler Hunter   IP Logged
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