View Full Version : American Austin

04-19-2004, 12:26 PM
This past weekend I participated in a local car show with my Healey (happy to say that I won in the "best sports car" division)...at the show was a boxy looking car called an American Austin...it looked like an old MG-TD!? It was built in 1939...almost had a look of a military vehicle...after doing some research online...I found that this company...then known as "American Bantam"...claimed to invent the jeep...which they won the contract to build during the war...after the war the car company vanished...around 4,000 cars were ever made...once my pictures get developed I'll post a picture here...it was a very interesting looking car...

Anyone else ever seen one?

[ 04-19-2004: Message edited by: Henri ]</p>

04-19-2004, 12:37 PM

- Saw 35 of them all in one place, at one of their club meets when they held it in southern Ontario two summers ago. I might add that's the only time I've ever seen an example of one too...

- Jeep connection... Bantam did invent the Jeep, when the American military tendered the contract for a new kind of all-purpose type vehicle Ford, Willys and Bantam all made prototypes. Bantam didn't have the capacity to make the volumes the American army wanted so production got farmed out (with some changes) to Willys and Ford. Little known fact... Ford made Jeeps as well right through to 1971, not many people know this.

[I did research history of American Austin/Bantam awhile back for an article I wrote]

04-19-2004, 12:46 PM
Being something of an Austin Seven enthusiast, yes, I know a bit about American Austins and Bantams. Oddly enough, the first American Austin I saw was in Austin..
The early ones looked very much like English Austins, though adapted to Left-Hand Drive. The adaptation was interesting - they even handed the engine, moving the inlet / exhaust to the right of the car.
Later models had a much more modern, somewhat bulbous coachwork that was a little too much for a 750 side-valve!

04-19-2004, 01:34 PM
Re: Bantam inventing the Jeep, but not getting the contract due to lack of capacity:

As a concession, the US government allowed Bantam to build the little trailers that many Jeeps pulled during WW II.

Many of the later Ford-built "Jeeps" were actually called "MUTTs" and had an all-independent suspension. I believe these were used in VietNam.

04-19-2004, 06:04 PM
Willys jeeps, which often have a Willys logo pressed into one of the rear fenders, are usually more prized than Fords, both of which are usually more expensive than the postwar French made ones (Hotchkiss, IIRC).

tony barnhill
04-19-2004, 10:43 PM
In the South, old willys jeeps are hunting vehicles! The later MUTTS - M151's & M151A1's are RARE! Not many escaped the military in one piece...they were supposed to be cut into quarters & sold fo salvage but a few escaped unscathed & others were welded back together....if you find a Vietnam-era 151 or 151A1, let me know!

04-19-2004, 11:18 PM
Regarding MUTT's...

I thought I read somewhere that they won't allow them on the road down there, even now.

I recall seeing one at a car show here in Calgary back in 2000, don't know if it's still around here or not but as I recall it was in very good condition.

04-20-2004, 09:14 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by tony barnhill:
...if you find a Vietnam-era 151 or 151A1, let me know!<hr></blockquote>

There are some for sale here (click on "projects"):


tony barnhill
04-20-2004, 09:42 PM
Yeah, but did you see the prices on those 'projects'?