Tom Lodge of Deland, Florida, found this '69 Javelin through a friend. It was being sold at an estate sale for $500. The Javelin is an original SST model with a 315hp 390 engine, A/C, power drum brakes, power steering, tilt wheel, reclining buckets, and an automatic tranny. With 108,426 miles showing, surprisingly everything was there. Although it sat for over nine years in a garage, Tom had it running within an hour of getting the car home. A compression check on the engine showed 186 psi in seven cylinders and 185 psi in one.
Right after Tom got the car running, he put it in storage for the next three years before he started dismantling and categorizing every part. According to Tom, "I took over 200 photos showing how everything came apart. Why is it, that we forget to take pictures of something really important?" For the next three years, Tom ordered parts, searched for remanufactured ones, and even made many himself. A friend, Scott Buckingham mini tubbed the rear fenderwells to make room for the anticipated big ol' tires. Tom also moved the shock and leaf-spring mounts inside the framerails. He replaced the rear shackles with sliders, which are used mainly by circle-track racers who use leaf springs to help plant the tires out of the turns. The sliders also helped lower the car 2 inches in the rear. Scott and Tom narrowed a 9-inch Ford rearend in his carport, and the guys installed Moser axles and a new 3.89 gear set on a stock Ford posi unit. In Tom's words, "We will see how long that will last."
While the drivetrain was being tended to, the body went to be media blasted. To Tom's surprise, it had very little rust, except for the hood and the battery box area. He then contacted another friend, Dennis Rainville. Many weekends were spent in Dennis' garage straightening the 30-year-old body. From there, the body went back to Tom's garage where the undercarriage was cleaned and painted. Tom rebuilt the suspension and replaced the front drum brakes with a disc setup salvaged from a '81 Concord station wagon. To compliment the new/old brakes, custom front coil springs were used to lower the frontend 2 inches. Tom chose a GM 200R4 in order to have an overdrive transmission. Another friend, Bill Read, helped with the rebuilding of the transmission so it could survive the rigors of life behind the 390 engine. He then installed a 2,600rpm stall converter with lockup and reworked the shifter and linkage for the four-speed automatic. An adapter from Trans Adapt was utilized to adapt the AMC engine to the GM transmission.
The engine was rebuilt with 10:1-compression pistons and file-fit moly rings, and the block was decked .010 inch. Tom ordered a custom solid cam from TFX with a duration of 240 degrees at .050, and .512 inch lift. The heads are '72 models that were modified with a 2.08 intake, and 1.74 exhaust valves and were mildly ported. Next, Tom installed a vintage Edelbrock R4B dual-plane intake, topped with an Edelbrock 750cfm carburetor. Ceramic-coated Hedman Headers expel the spent gasses, which flow through 211/42-inch exhaust pipes to Flowmaster mufflers.
Did you notice the sano engine bay? All the wiring was hidden within the front fenderwells. When the car was finally running, it was loaded on a trailer and taken back to Dennis' garage where the final sanding was done. Tom located a N.O.S. hood and a pair of reproduction AMC hoodscoops that were optional only for '69 Javelins. Originally, they were bolted on by dealers and blacked out. Dennis molded the scoops into the hood. Tom and Dennis then applied a covering of PPG Ford Ultra-White paint, and then four coats of clear over them. The guys then sanded and buffed the paint to a mirror finish. Tom then brought the car back to his garage for the final assembly. The original metallic blue interior was changed to black. The seats and headliner were recovered, and Legendary reproduction doorpanels were installed. American Racing Torque Thrust II wheels were ordered -17x11 for the back and 17x7 for the front. The wheels are wrapped in BFG KD tires-P315/35R17 on the rear and P225/45R17 on the front.
To work out a few of the bugs, a shakedown run of 50 miles was done three days prior to leaving for the Power Tour. During the first day of cruising on the Power Tour, Tom broke a rocker-arm stud outside of Memphis, which was easily remedied.
With the attention to detail Tom has given his Javelin, this is definitely one cool Mopar alternative.