The Toronto Fall Classic Car Auction

Lot : SP84
1939 American Austin Bantam

Offered Without Reserve

Auctioned on Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sold at $13,500

  • Transmission: Manual 3 Speed

The American Austin Car Company built small cars in Butler Pennsylvania for the US market, under a license from the British Austin Motor Company. The American company styled automobiles based on the British Austin Seven, but went bankrupt in 1935. A young auto dealer from Florida named Roy S. Evans, along with investors, bought the Butler, Pennsylvania plant, and was taken out of bankruptcy by Evans who renamed the company American Bantam. They began turning out vehicles once again and all formal ties with the British company then ceased. To create the American Bantam, Evans hired racing engineer Harry Miller to consult with his engineers and Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, who designed a new body with a smooth hood, rounded grille and curvy fenders. He charged Evans a mere $300, and the line was retooled for only $7,000. American Bantam began producing cars from 1938 and ended production in 1941. The Bantam was abandoned for Jeep production during World War II and was never revived.
The Bantam was produced in a variety of body styles but never fully caught on with car buyers in the United States at the time, which limited total production for the nameplate to about 6000, making them extremely scarce today. The example offered here is even more rare as it is the 4-seater Speedster version which was only built from 1938 to 1940 with just 1,229 units produced in 1939. It is powered by a 4-cylinder engine pumping out a whopping 20 horse power.