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Thunder from Down Under - Javelin Racing in Australia


Australian Javelin

You might be interested in the 1970 Javelin my brother (owner) and I drive in Tarmac Rallies in Australia. You may have heard of Targa Tasmania. We have competed successfully in this event the last two years having won Targa Trophies and winning our class. We intend to return next year and make it three in a row.

Although it is a street car it must meet international rally rule specifications. The car is all AMC except for the TREMEC 5 speed box and the rear disk brakes adapted from a Ford. The front discs are later model AMC ventilated using competition linings. The engine is a mild 304 but under the rules we can use a 390 if we are game enough to drive it. The car is fully retrimmed and we race it the a 6-stack CD on board. It was green in 1998, then we crashed while I was driving and now it is red, white, and blue metallic, the guy said we could have the parts for free if we painted it that way.

Australian Javelin Racecar

The Targa Tasmania web site is If you have a good look around it you will find some pictures of the car. In 1998 we were car 502 and in 1999 we were car 421. You can do searches on cars and driver name and that sort of stuff. It's the sort of event where you can get out on sections of public road which are closed to the public and drive as quickly as you wish. The roads are fantastic and you just have a ball.

Australian Javelin Racecar

Greg Dickson - Bathurst, NSW "It's not the end of the world but you can see it from here".


What could have been - believe it or not!

From the Javelin Register of Australia

1969 Javelin Race Car - (pictures not available) as told by John Caddy's son Andrew.

In 1968 John Caddy of VIS Con Transport in Darwin talked to Harry Tedstone, the American Motors representative at AMI in Port Melbourne.

Harry Tedstone's long time friend Carl Chuckmakian had been involved with the introduction of Trans-Am racing to AMC. John Caddy's idea was to campaign a Javelin in the Australian Touring car championship as two-door cars were allowed to be used and the engine size limit allowed the 390 to be used. A car duly arrived, supposedly it was prepared by Ronnie Kaplan. Two 20' containers arrived in Perth and were transported by Vis Con's own trailer by road. When the containers were opened container one had a base line Javelin with optional suspension, 390 engine and T-10, traction bars by factory and heavy duty front sway bar but it was not race prepared in any way.

The second container had a Kaplan prepared 390 engine with headers, cross ram etc., flared front fenders, hood to clear the engine, racing brakes for front and rear, Panhard bar, beefed up suspension arms, quick ratio PS, 15" wheels without tyres.

It was all there but not assembled. This was not what John Caddy had expected to arrive. He had expected a turn key car with spare engine ready to race. After many phone calls to Chuckmakian he agreed to have Kaplan help in any way he could across the pacific. John Caddy had his mechanics assemble the car and near the end of 1969 the Javelin was beginning to look like a race car. Then Ronnie Kaplan quit, Roger Penske took over the team to prepare the cars for 1970. John Caddy did not have an agreement with Penske. His agreement for help was from Kaplan, with Kaplan gone, so was the help.

As the 1970 season began in Australia the car that could have beaten the Jags and maybe the Mustangs sat dejected in a corner of the Vis Con workshop in Darwin. Eventually Caddy had the car de-tuned and painted gold for the street and drove it for 10 years around Darwin still LHD, the hot 390 was raced in a boat in NT and Queensland.

FOOTNOTE: This Javelin is now painted Red, White & Blue and being race prepared by its current owner, Ray Sprague, of Melbourne. Actually Ray has been testing her out around the banked track at Calder Park and isn't giving away any secrets.


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