Keith Rohm, head judge for the Mopar Nationals, and his judging staff, had been told that a "high quality" Mark Donohue Javelin would be entered in the Mopar Nationals OE Certified competition for 1999. This marked event would be the first time that an American Motors product would be placed under the scrutiny of the veteran judging team. Jeff Kennedy, an AMO club member from Ohio who helps with traffic control at the 'Nats, had already mentioned the car to Rohm, and his staff spent months researching AMC for the Challenge ahead.
The owner, H. DeWayne Ashmead, is the CEO of Albion Laboratories by day. In his spare time, he attends to his passion-sports cars. However, the term "sports cars" is used to describe a group of performance vehicles-a group that is as diverse as the moniker is generic. In DeWayne's stable, the 30 vehicles include an Allard, an MG-TC, a Jaguar XKE, and a '66 Pontiac GTO. Also in his collection is a 1916 Dodge Brothers Speedster and a 1920 Dodge Brothers Racer with a small Roots-type supercharger originally prepared for cross country and dirt tracks.
Each car is "a rolling sculpture," DeWayne explained, and each is exquisitely restored. His 1925 Kissel Speedster, for example, is a world class winner. It won at Meadowbrook, Pebble Beach, and numerous other concours shows. It has also been a calendar car.
It is no small wonder, then, that Ashmead's '70 Javelin should be so well-restored. What is most curious is that the Utah sports car collector had such a passion for this AMC product. "When the Javelin came out [in 1968] it didn't impress me, so I just dismissed it," he said. "Then, about 311/42 years ago I saw a 1970 Mark Donohue Javelin in a restoration shop. The rear spoiler perfectly balanced the bulging hood and air scoop, and it just made it look like a different car than what a Javelin normally looks like. I really liked it and decided I had to have one."
DeWayne went looking and started discarding "run-of-the mill" Donohue Javelins. AMC made 2,501 of these cars in order to comply with the requisite build of 2,500 to homologate the Donohue-designed rear spoiler for the Trans Am Racing Series. For the record, in 1970 AMC pulled off a tour de force when they signed the hottest manager/driver team in the world of racing, Roger Penske and Mark Donohue, to a three year contract to race Javelins in the popular Trans Am sedan racing series.
In reality, all these pony cars are special signature editions as the rear spoiler so proudly indicates. "Big Bad Blue" paint is what really caught DeWayne's attention. About 100 of them came in this eye-searing cyan. The car is equipped with very rare Rally gauges and leather seats. Equally as rare are the Rebel Machine wheels.
As for motivation, this car also has the top dog 325-horse 390 engine, 4-speed manual transmission, Twin-Grip differential, and dealer-installed side pipes.
This was the car DeWayne wanted in a Donohue Javelin, and he set about to restore it to concours perfection. The main obstacle appeared to be rust. However, rust was not as much a demon to deal with as was parts availability. Ashmead discovered the hard way, through personal experience, that this car was more difficult to restore than his pre-war '25 Kissel Speedster!
For such a large stable of vintage iron, DeWayne uses a small shop, Meadowbrook Restorations in Kaysville, Utah, to restore and maintain his sports cars. He turned most of the restoration work over to Brooke Pitt. This was Brooke's first AMC assignment.
One day, Brooke received his copy of Mopar Muscle in the mail. In his words, "The magazine showed Roger Gibson with a picture of this Hemi and transmission sitting on this dolly. I copied the idea and made a dolly with the AMC 390 engine and 4-speed tranny."