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.
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.