Urban Legend

Parents bought this Javelin for their Viet Nam veteran son.

Urban legends are not new. Some have been around for a very long time and one has to wonder how they keep getting passed on to the next generation.

One of the more common having to do with muscle cars that was making the rounds back in the mid-to late 1970s was the one about the young man that was drafted to fight in Viet Nam.  After graduation he purchased Shelby, Z28, or Hemi Cuda (pick one or imagine your own version) and didn’t get to drive it much before he went off to war. When he didn’t come home alive the grieving parents couldn’t bear to sell the car so it sat for years until something changed their minds and now it just had to go quick so it was for sale super cheap.

Of course no one telling the story knew where it was or how to find out.  And so the legend continues. Well here’s perhaps what really happened and this is the car that it happened to.

Yes, the son went off to Nam and served his country faithfully but he came home after his tour of duty. The parents wanting to surprise their son and do something great to reward him and celebrate his return bought him this ’70 Javelin. The son however rejected the car telling his parents that he wanted a BMW. You want a what?

So the car sat in the garage for several years with literally no miles on it. Perhaps the parents thought he’d eventually change his mind but that never happened. What could have possibly happened over there to this young man from Georgia to cause him to reject true American muscle for a… BMW?  It brings shudders to even think about it.

Fortunately this story doesn’t leave the car in urban legend limbo forever. Turns out that the current owner’s father lived next door to these grieving and confused parents and was eventually able to talk them out of the Javelin for a mere $1800. That meant that his son, Lewis Schwartz, was able to drive it during his high school years and beyond. Pretty cool wheels for 1976!

Of course life happened and the Javelin got parked after about 29,000 miles but it was not forgotten. In 2004 it made its way up to MCR for a full restoration. Because it was properly stored, it was still in pretty good shape. Not totally rust free but much better than most. Lewis was having it redone for his class reunion. Classmates likely remembered the car more than they did Lewis but that’s the point.

Jumping ahead to 2020, Lewis hasn’t been able to drive the car as much as he’d have liked to so he sent it back to MCR for some general service work to be sure it’s ready for the road again. Some 17 years later, it still looks as good as it did the day MCR delivered it to Lewis.

No urban legend here. This car is for real and the story is not over yet.

Matador Brown was not an offered Javelin color but American Motors would let you order any color from any other model for an additional $35.
The scoop is functional. There is a foam ring under the hood that seals it to the top of the air cleaner providing a cold ram-air induction system.
Functional side exhaust was an available option but it wasn’t enough for the son to accept the car as a gift.
The interior for 1970 was a one-year design featuring a wood-grained dashboard on SST models. Note the high school tassel still hanging from the rear view mirror.
The 360 V-8 was ordered with power brakes and steering, A/C, ram air hood and side exhaust but the parents wouldn’t spend the extra $15 to get the 390 option. Supposedly something about lower gas mileage. Go figure. Would that have made it acceptable to the son? We’ll never know.

Sources

Muscle Car Restorations, Inc.https://www.musclecarrestorations.com

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