The Beast is back

Attention Silverstone Classic fans, we have some good news – the iconic AMC Javelin will be racing at this summer’s Classic.

A crowd favourite back in the 1970s, the 6.4L muscle car competed in the Saloon Car Championship and the Special Saloons series, with several top ten finishes and pole position in two Special Saloon races in Silverstone in 1972. Owner and racer David Howe bought the Mustang and Camaro rival in early 1971 from a US serviceman who had been posted to the UK, having witnessed the success enjoyed by muscle cars in saloon car racing.

He immediately set about rebuilding the Javelin to Group 2 specifications, painting it white, fitting a larger 6.4L engine and a manual competition gearbox, as well as a racing suspension and several other upgrades for the track. Its last victory came at Silverstone in August 1975 – Howe suffered a bad leg break in a road accident shortly after, and ‘The Beast’ never raced competitively again.

Marc Devis and David Howes with The Beast
Marc Devis and David Howes with The Beast

Maintained under wraps in Howes’ garage during the past three decades, the Javelin will race again this July in the Tin Top Sunday line-up, having acquired a new owner in the guise of Belgian collector and racer Marc Devis.

“I have something of a reputation for special projects like this, and the fact the Javelin had been sitting with the same owner since the seventies – and had lots of great period history – certainly appealed to me,” Devis explained. “We collected the car together with a huge number of spares, original parts and documents. Having been laid up for so long, both the engine and mechanicals were in need of a full rebuild and overhaul, but I was adamant those now overseeing the project at WDK Motorsport were sympathetic and didn’t do anything to change the appearance of the original car – it must look exactly like it did before being parked in the garage in the mid-seventies.”

Racing at Silverstone in 1972
Racing at Silverstone in 1972

Now, the Beast is ready to roar again, and will be reunited with some of its old foes during the Historic Touring Car Challenge race, taking to the tracks alongside several Ford Capris and BMWs from the same era, on a 50+ grid.

“I’m pleased to report that even though it has been tricky to track down some of the AMC engine parts from the States, it’s all coming together now and our fingers are firmly crossed for the Classic,” Devis adds. “The plan is to get David Howes back to Silverstone next month and reunite him with the car – that would be really special.”

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