There was a time when the automobile manufacturers in Detroit weren’t known as the “Big Three” – It was the “Big Four”, back before American Motors went belly up. I have a soft spot for American Motors products. Not so much for the Pacer or Gremlin, although I didn’t mind cruising my big brother’s Gremlin when I was fifteen. My soft spot is due to the metallic green ’72 Javelin. It was my mom’s car. My parents picked it up second or third hand in 1975.
I was in middle school, so it was an impressionable time in my life. Once that old American Motors car’s title got transferred into my parent’s name, its days on easy street were over with.
My dad piled the miles on the Javelin when he was working out of town for a couple of years. When he was in town on the weekends my brothers piled more hard miles on the V-8 powered Javelin.
One fine evening my brother Bobby was pushing the Javelin when he happened upon a city cop. When the flashing lights came on, since he already had max points on his driver’s license, he fled. The cops didn’t want to wreck their squad car jumping dips in the little lake town. Bobby got away, but so did the front shocks, right through the top of the Javelin’s front fenders.
A short time later after some repairs, he got in a wreck with another vehicle. With only liability insurance to cover the other people, the Javelin got a long rare break while my parents saved enough money to get the Javelin fixed, again.
Once the mended Javelin was back on the road, it made the move to Phoenix, but not too many miles more. The hard miles caught up with the Javelin’s engine and it gave up the ghost. My brother rebuilt the engine in ’77, but one of the rings never did seat properly.
About a year later my dad surprised my mom with a new Buick and we sold the old Javelin to one of my best friends that lived next door to us. By then, I had already bought my own first car.
My buddy was following me in my mom’s old Javelin around a ninety-degree corner at sixty miles an hour. I made it in my Mercury Cyclone. He didn’t. He stacked up the Javelin again.Sometime later, I bought the old Javelin back from him. I slapped more Bondo and another junkyard fender on it. Painted it and bolted some Cragar Super Sport rims with fat tires on the back.
Not long after I got rear ended sitting at a traffic light and sold the beat up Javelin.
I have a lot of memories with that old car, but when I see a Javelin I don’t think about the wrecks or mishaps. The first thing that comes to mind is my mom… then Neil Diamond… then her driving me before I could drive as we listened to her eight track.
I wonder what things you and I were a part of that born a soft spot in others.
I loved that car because my mom did.