The second you see the Prestone Javelin AMX in the flesh, it hits you: Taking a fairly unknown vehicle from the 70s and transforming it into a hulking, gold, 1,000-plus horsepower muscle car is a pretty wild way to commemorate a 90th anniversary.

That is, unless you’re a carmaker or aftermarket company eager to find a unique way to celebrate the major milestone. Even then, it’s an interesting approach to trying to drum up buzz about one’s legacy in today’s competitive world, where instantly recognizable brands and high-tech vehicles tend to soak up all the limelight.

You’ll quickly realize, however, why Prestone decided to do what it did as soon as you hit that red “eject” button to fire up the Javelin AMX. (More on that later.) Just sitting in the car and hearing that supercharged Hellcat engine rumbling is enough to sell you on the Javelin, a beautiful avatar for a company that has spent 90 years keeping some of our most prized possessions cool under pressure.

Then again, most car fanatics would probably argue that simply seeing the Prestone Javelin AMX in person, shining in all its muscular glory, is enough to sell anyone on its worth. That certainly would explain all the gawking that the vehicle got during our photo shoot in Malibu. Still, nothing could convince you of the Javelin’s merits like having a chance to drive it on the road. There’s just something insanely exhilarating about mashing down on the pedal of a classic muscle car that puts out 1,036 horsepower, especially when you realize that 90 years ago the mere idea of doing that would have been akin to dreaming of piloting a rocket ship to the moon.

The Prestone AMC Javelin AMX.

The Prestone AMC Javelin AMX.

Though, after driving the Prestone Javelin, you’re inclined to think that both experiences might share a lot in common, if given the opportunity to fully blast the custom AMC up on some deserted airstrip.

As Steven Clancy, president of Prestone, puts it, it’s “one-of-a-kind.”

Built by Ringbrothers, the custom Prestone Javelin AMX is literally a culmination of some of the best that American muscle had to offer during the ‘70s, recrafted as a more modern-day beast that showcases how far you can actually stretch the limit of heart-pounding performance today. In fact, the idea of using an AMC Javelin as the base car for the Prestone Anniversary project is a nod to what’s possible when one thinks outside of the box. I say that not only because the Javelin is one of the lesser-known classic muscle cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s, but also because it was originally built with parts from a few carmakers, which gives it a lot of unique appeal as a tribute car.

“Originally, Prestone approached us to build a muscle car… a Mustang or Camaro,” explains Jim Ring, one of Ringbrothers. “We recently had acquired the Javelin from a local friend and pitched it to them. We firmly believed the AMC Javelin was a better fit for them. Car people are very polarized—Chevy or Ford. The AMC has a bit of both. We convinced Prestone a Javelin, if done right, could be their brand crossing into all arenas. No one’s done a major resto-mod to a Javelin.”

The goal, Ring tells Playboy, was for the car “to sound angry but look super sexy.” Well, mission accomplished.

Commissioning the gold, 1,000-plus horsepower muscle car is a pretty wild way to commemorate a 90th anniversary.

Commissioning the gold, 1,000-plus horsepower muscle car is a pretty wild way to commemorate a 90th anniversary.

First unveiled at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Prestone AMC Javelin underwent a number of modifications beyond its major 1,000-plus horsepower engine upgrade before finally being crowned as an official tribute car. Cosmetically, the vehicle got a completely new nose and a major body overhaul to give it a more aggressive stance, which is accented by those wide 20-inch wheels. The ’72 muscle car has also been upfitted with a custom four-link suspension in the rear with a 12-bolt GM axle and modernized braking system, which helps keep all of its massive power under control.

Inside, the Prestone AMC Javelin sports details like classic instrument gauges and chrome accents, along with a few modern touches like a Kicker audio sound system. But the raging beast’s most coveted interior feature is the red “eject” button that starts the car, sitting right on the center console.

All and all, the Prestone tribute car took roughly 12 months build, beginning with hi-tech process to map out the reconfiguration of the car’s proportions, explains Mike Ring, the other co-founder of the Ringbrothers team. "The car was scanned, and the front clip along with the back end was redesigned in SolidWorks to accommodate moving the front tires ahead 6.5 inches,“ he says. “Then complex calculations were run to create 3-D modeling programs used to machine plugs to form the carbon fiber body panels or machine parts from aluminum.” 

The red "eject" button on the center console starts the car.

The red “eject” button on the center console starts the car.

Ironically, all the preparation that went into crafting the Prestone AMC Javelin is a far cry from how the antifreeze company began its journey.

As the company tells it, in 1904, three men endeavored to create a compressed gas product, called Prest-O-Lite, that would provide light for vehicles driving after dark. Unfortunately, the testing of the gas failed, forcing the trio to abandon the project. The residue from the development process was then dumped into some water, which subsequently never froze. After realizing what happened, the three men collected the residue into cans and began selling it in 1927, marking the beginning of Prestone antifreeze for automobile radiators.

So, you could argue that the Prestone Javelin AMX is a powerful tribute not only to the company’s long history, but to the wonders of happenstance as well.