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Selling performance and peace of mind – 1972 AMC Javelin AMX ad

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1972 AMC Javelin AMX print ad, courtesy Production Cars.

In 1971, Mark Donahue delivered American Motors’s first Trans-Am championship behind the wheel of a Javelin AMX. The manufacturer wasted no time in promoting this, and a 1972 print ad proclaimed the new Javelin AMX was “The closest you can come to owning the Trans-Am champion.” More revolutionary, however, was the year-long “Buyer Protection Plan” offered by AMC for the 1972 model year.

AMC wasn’t the first manufacturer to offer a warranty to consumers, but it was the first to offer such comprehensive protection for such an extended duration. Excluding tires, the manufacturer agreed to pay for repair or replacement of any part found defective in materials or workmanship, for the first 12 months or 12,000 miles of operation. If repairs stretched overnight, AMC dealers were even obligated to provide a loaner car at no charge, and customers still dissatisfied were given a name and a toll-free telephone number to discuss the issue with a company representative. In return for this Buyer Protection Plan, customers were expected to have their cars serviced by an AMC dealer in accordance with the provided schedule.

Today, a 12-month, 12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is a given, with limited warranties sometimes stretching out as long as 10 years (typically for rust-through). In 1972, however, long-term accountability was something that automakers on any continent attempted to avoid.

On the performance side, the $3,109 1972 Javelin AMX came standard with a, 150-horsepower V-8, fed by a single two-barrel carburetor. For additional thrust, buyers could opt for a V-8, rated at 175 horsepower with a two-barrel carburetor or 195 with a four-barrel, or the 401 V-8, which put out a satisfying 255 horsepower and 345 pound-feet of torque. Transmission options included a three-speed manual or Torque-Command automatic with most engine choices, but the four-barrel 360 and 401 came with the buyer’s choice of a four-speed manual or Torque-Command automatic.

The Go Package also included dual exhausts, a T-shaped hood stripe, a blackened rear panel, Rally-Pak instrumentation, a handling package, a fiberglass cowl-induction hood, heavy-duty cooling, a Twin-Grip differential, power front disc brakes and E60x15 raised white letter Goodyear Polyglass tires. With the 401, such a car would have stickered at $3,614, about $400 more than a 396-equipped Camaro SS.