This was the AMC Javelin that won the “Bonneville Speed Spectacular,” setting a new C-Production class record of 161.733 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats with Craig Breedlove at the wheel in 1968.

The competition was sponsored by AMC and CarCraft Magazine. They took three Javelins and assigned them to three separate three-man teams who had applied to enter the contest. The team with the fastest car then won all three cars – one for each man.

Fast Facts – A “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” AMC Javelin

  • The name Craig Breedlove needs to introduction to anyone even vaguely familiar with land speed record racing. He’s a five-time world land speed record holder and the first person in history to reach 500 mph and 600 mph on the ground.
  • The car you see here is the winner of the 1968 “Bonneville Speed Spectacular,” a competition that was held at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This car set a C-Production class record of 161.733 mph.
  • Three 1968 AMC Javelins were entered in total, each was modified by a team of three contestants, the winning team with the fastest car then won all three cars – one each.
  • The AMC Javelin was developed as an answer to the Ford Mustang and the wildly popular “Pony Car” genre. The Javelin was released in 1968, and the “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” was developed to drum up publicity for the new car.

The 1968 Bonneville Speed Spectacular

In 1968 with the release of the Javelin, AMC set to work creating a publicity stunt that would win the company coverage from coast to coast, and permanently link the new pony car challenger with two things: a world speed record at Bonneville and the Craig Breedlove – the national hero and famous land speed record setter.

1968 AMC Javelin “Bonneville Speed Spectacular”

Image DescriptionThis image shows Craig Breedlove (front) with the contestants and their cars. From left to right, Team #2: (winners) Charlie Seabrook, Pete Darnell, and Matt Strong; Team #1: Carl Tracer, Alynn Luessen, and Bruce Nottingham; Team #3: Bill Tinker, Jim Riley, and Larry Lechner. Image courtesy of Car Craft Magazine.

This competition was co-sponsored by Car Craft Magazine. Readers of the magazine were invited to enter a competition to join one of three teams that would be modifying three Javelins in the hope of setting a new C-Production class record.

The Three Teams

Each applicant had answer some true or false questions and write a paragraph selling their mechanical aptitude. Nine winners were selected and divided into three teams, they were: Carl Tracer, Alynn Luessen, and Bruce Nottingham on Team #1.

Charlie Seabrook, Pete Darnell, and Matt Strong on Team #2, and Bill Tinker, Jim Riley, and Larry Lechner on Team #3.

Interestingly, Pete Darnell of the winning team was flown in from the Vietnam War to compete.

Each of the teams modified their AMC Javelins to the best of their abilities and Breedlove drove each of them down a marked course on the Bonneville Salt Flats in November of 1968.

1968 AMC Javelin “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” 23

Image DescriptionThe engine remains in original condition, still including all of the modifications made to the car by the team who won the competition and set the new record.

Team #2 would end up winning, with a combined top speed of 161.733 mph, setting a new C-Production class record that stood for many years. The three cars were then given to the members of Team #2, the winning car (shown here) has remained in private hands ever since.

The 1968 Record-Setting AMC Javelin Shown Here

The car you see here is the Team #2 car that set the new C-Production class record in 1968. Interestingly it’s only ever done 19 miles of driving – all of which occurred on the salt.

The car was new when the project began, it was trailered to and from Bonneville, so the only miles on the odometer were put there by Breedlove himself.

A number of modifications were made to the chassis and some safety modifications were added by Breedlove’s garage. The car is powered by a modified 304 cubic inch AMC V8 engine fitted with a Vic Edlebrock-designed special prototype 2 x 4-barrel aluminum intake manifold.

It has special heads built by Joe Mondello, a 4-speed manual transmission, and a signature Red, White and Blue exterior with a Back interior.

This car was featured in several issues of “Car Craft” magazine in 1968, the April 1970 issue of “Hot Rod” magazine, and later in the October 1998 issue of “Car Craft” magazine.

It’s currently due to be auctioned by Mecum at the Indy Auction in mid-May, and at the time of writing there is no price guide listed, you can click here to visit the listing.

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Images courtesy of Mecum

1968 AMC Javelin “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” 1

Published by Ben Branch -