A Visit With Dick Teague
Special Interest Autos Magazine Article, Aug.1986
This is part of the article

We've always admired the Javelin and it's smaller derivative, the sporty AMX. Seeking to learn more about how these two smartly styled little cars came to be developed, SIA called on Richard Teague, recently retired vice president of styling at American Motors.

SIA: Was the Javelin developed parallel to the Mustang, or in response to it?

Teague: It was really a response, to be honest with you. We started on it about '66, a couple of years after the Mustang came out. We originally had a car called the Tarpon-about the time of the Mustang-, which should have been produced. It was a fastback, on the smaller Rambler American wheelbase, and it would have been a far cry from the Marlin. But we had some corporate guys around there who swung some pretty heavy votes, and the Tarpon went the way of all flesh! But it was really a neat car, a tight little fastback. We showed it to the S.A.E. convention and everybody was steamed up about it! But the thing that killed the Tarpon was the fact that we didn't have a V-8 for it at that time.

[AMC president] Roy Abernathy didn't like little cars. Never did. He liked big cars, because he was a big guy-hell of a nice guy. And he felt that this car was too small, so he said, "Well, heck, Teague, why don't you just put it on the Rambler Classic wheel-base? That way you've got V-8 availability and you've got more room inside it." And then on top of that he added an inch to the roof while I was in Europe. I still have never gotten over that!

SIA: And that was the Marlin?

Teague: That was the Marlin. And it wasn't exactly getting "rave" notices, because in my opinion there's never been a successful big fastback. Fastbacks have to be shorter in the wheelbase or the proportions of the car go to hell. You know, if you've got a long roof it doesn't come off unless there's a long hood! But if you do a tight little fastback like the one Mustang did, it doesn't look too bad.

SIA: Is that how the Marlin ended up on the Ambassador chassis in '67?

Teague: Yes. I said, "Well, look: If you're going to put it on the longer wheelbase, why don't you put it on the real long wheelbase? Then at least you've got a hood length that's a little bit proportionate to the long roofline!"

Anyway, the Marlin kind of set the stage for doing something that was a lot better. The Javelin was originally going to be called the "Rogue," by the way. I didn't invent the name "Javelin"; that came out of marketing. But I did invent the name "AMX."

Fast-back Rambler American prototype that American Motors introduced at the Society of Automotive Engineers national convention at Detroit's Cobo Hall on January 17,1964 as seen in two of the pictures above. It was reported to have been built on a 1964 American convertible chassis, with a wheelbase of 106 inches. They made the Tarpon only 52.5 inches high instead of the standard 54.5 inches for an American hardtop. Apparently it was slightly longer, at 180 inches, versus 177.25 for the American hardtop.

1964 Rambler Tarpon

Not Known by Many There Is No Trunk Lid

Wouldn't the lights look nice on a Marlin

1964 Rambler Tarpon

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Chicago 1964 Auto show

Robert Conner was the Photographer

 

TARPON STUDIO PROTO SHOP

 

 

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