WE LOVE a good detective story here at Unique Cars.
Back in the early seventies, the awesome 6.4-litre AMC Javelin was an oddity and crowd favourite in the British Saloon Car Championship and Special Saloons series. Owner/ driver David Howes’ luck ran out in 1975 when he was injured in a road accident and, as a result, ‘The Beast’ was put into storage.
For the next four decades, the car was never seen.
Internet forums offered finder fees for information, while others speculated that it had been broken for spares.
Nevertheless, the car was right where it had always been; under wraps in Howes’ garage.
Despite the odd inquiry from close friends, Howe was never interested in parting with the car. That changed at the end of last year.
Belgian car collector and racer Marc Devis has purchased the car and its public debut is at this year’s Silverstone Classic event. “We collected the car together with a huge number of spares, original parts and documents,” Devis said. “Having been laid up for so long, both the engine and mechanicals were in need of a full rebuild and overhaul, but I was adamant those now overseeing the project at WDK Motorsport were sympathetic and didn’t do anything to change the appearance of the original car – it must look exactly like it did before being parked in the garage in the mid-seventies.
“I’m pleased to report that even though it has been tricky to track down some of the AMC engine parts from the States, it’s all coming together now and our fingers are firmly crossed for the Classic. The plan is to get David Howes back to Silverstone and reunite him with the car – that would be really special.”
Introduced in the late sixties, the two-door Javelin was AMC’s challenger in the US ‘ponycar’ sector.
This particular model was originally imported into the United Kingdom as a road car by John Burke, a US serviceman posted to UK shores. Although perhaps lacking the development to challenge for outright BSCC victories, Howes notched up several top ten finishes and won two Special Saloons races at Silverstone in 1972 – enough, it see ms, to secure some factory support direct from American Motors in Detroit for the following season. It’s time to re-engage Beast mode.