American Austin History: The Austin automobile was designed by Herbert Austin who opened the Austin Motor Company in England in 1904 and introduced the Austin Seven in 1922. The Austin Seven was small, with only a seven horsepower motor, but became so popular that Austin expanded to America, opening the American Austin Car Company in Detroit, Michigan, in 1929.
The Austin Seven had a four cylinder engine and the coupe model sold for about $450, less than a Ford V8 roadster. Initial sales were promising but the Depression killed the enthusiasm and production stopped in 1934. In 1937 the company president, Roy Evans, reorganized as the American Bantam Car Company and produced a more streamlined version of the Austin. However, the American Bantam never caught on and production stopped in 1940. American Bantam built some Jeeps for the U.S. Army through 1941 and matching trailers until 1956, when the company was dissolved. Today the American Austin and American Bantam are popular among hot rodders and drag racers.
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