What It’s Like to Drive a 1,000-HP AMC Javelin That Cost a Half-Million Dollars


Manufacturers go from boom to bust. And sometimes, in a matter of just a few hours, things can go from burnouts and giggles to pleading mea culpa to two very uninterested Forestry officers, as was the case when we got behind the wheel of the Ring Brother’s hyperbolic 1,000-horsepower 1972 AMC Javelin.

The day started on a high. My wife and I are almost done with the adoption process and that morning we had signed our last piece of paperwork. The final hurdle before we would begin to receive calls for a bouncing bundle of joy being placed in our warm care. My wife left the meeting for work, while I rode a new Indian Scout back home for a cup of coffee, a quick snuggle with our dogs, and to switch shirts from tastefully dapper to “let’s get this party started!” as was obviously necessary for the drive.

An hour later with my coffee finished, the dogs thoroughly snuggled, and my t-shirt (a Team O’Neil-sourced shirt labeled “Blah, Blah, Accelerate!) bitchin’, I hopped back onto the Scout and headed off on a hundred-mile journey to my date with the Ring’s latest creation.

For those unaware of the Ring Brothers and their body of killer creations, the brother’s hail from Spring Green, Wisconsin, a town no bigger than a Costco parking lot. There’s maybe 600 people total. A number that’s routinely outsized by the power of the machinations that streak and smoke the streets of their tiny hamlet. And while horsepower continues an upward trajectory on each build, so does the anal retentiveness of the most minute details. As is the case, every new build is greater than the last, and the Brother’s Ring’s latest sculpture, a 1972 AMC Javelin dubbed “Defiant,” isn’t about to buck the trend.

According to Jim and Mike Ring, nothing on the car is stock. Everything has been touched in some small, or in the case of its engine bay, large way; the latter of which now houses a Wegner Motorsports 6.2-liter Dodge Hellcat motor.

 Still, because the Ring’s penchant for prodigious power, 707 horsepower isn’t enough and the stock 2.4-liter supercharger has been replaced with a bowel-evacuating 4.0-liter Whipple supercharger. On low boost, which was run that day, the engine is good for “only” 1,036 horsepower. High boost is closer to Chiron territory. Woof.

But as eluded to earlier, time is fickle. Case in point; the American Motors Corporation. The company would attempt to fight Detroit’s Big Three but it never really figured out what it wanted to be or how to adapt to changing times. Over the course of its short 30-year history, it made some historic, and some butt-of-the-joke, automobiles. The AMC Javelin was the former.

The Javelin was built at the end of the muscle car era and as the fuel crisis hit, it killed the Javelin line. While AMC soldiered on for a few more years, the Javelin fell into a state of obscurity that still continues. Not, however, in the minds of the Rings. When a friend mentioned he had one, the Brothers picked it up on a lark. No one would’ve bet they’d spend half-a-million dollars building it for Prestone’s SEMA exhibition just a short time later. Time is fickle.