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The American Austin Car Company was established in June, 1929, in Butler Pennsylvania, to build an American version of the popular British Austin Seven. The first American Austin made its debut in January, 1930 at the New York Hotel Shelton. The American Austin Coupe seated two and sold for $465. The wheelbase was only 75-inches.
The car was an immediate sensation and within a week, more than 180,000 orders were received. Production began in May, 1930 but the severity of the Great Depression was becoming the dominate force in the American economy. By December, 1930, only 8,558 cars actually found buyers.
To make matters even worse for the American Austin, the tiny car became the butt of many jokes and cartoons. The movies had a field day with the car. Americans were not wanting a small, light-weight vehicle, even in hard times.
In 1931, only 1,279 Austins were built and the company went into receivership. A few cars continued to be built and sold even into 1934.
In 1935, Roy Evans, a successful car dealer in Florida purchased the company, renaming it the American Bantam Car Company.