THE ENGLISH AUSTIN 7. Like the Model T Ford and the later Volkswagen these English cars were the first to be designed for the rising working and middle classes of the late industrial revolution. Not only are the A7’s extremely important as passenger cars, they form the very backbone of British racing history and design. In addition to all pre-war Austins, licensed or modified sister cars such as Dixi, Swallow and Rosengart as well as the modified competition cares are welcome in the ABS. The first BMW (Dixi), the first Nissan (Datsun) and the first Lotus (Series I-III) were all Austin derivatives or modifications.
THE AMERICAN AUSTIN. As the American derivative of the English A7, the American Austin used a licensed mirror image version of the A7 engine and more Americanized coachwork by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. Promoted as America’s first economy car over 20,000 units were produced in the Butler, Pennsylvania factory from 1930 through 1935. This figure however fell far short of breakeven for the company, launched as it was at the outset of the Great Depression. It went into receivership in 1935.
AMERICAN BANTAM. Revitalized by Roy S. Evans, a very successful Florida entrepreneur, the Company was renamed the American Bantam Car Company. Engineering legend Harry Miller was named Vice President, and a modified engine and a new "streamline" Sakhnoffski body update debuted in 1937. Although the engine was clearly derived from the A7 it was different enough to escape licensing fees. Further styling refinements were provided by Alex Tremulis. A total of about 6700 cars and trucks were produced until 1940 when civilian production ceased. America was not ready for an economy car.
THE BRC. Along with the original Austin 7, the jeep justifiably makes everyone’s list as one the 5 or 6 most important cars in the history of the world and is often considered the best all around vehicle ever made. What is less well known is that it was conceived, designed, built and developed in Butler PA at the Bantam factory. Although mass production of the type was given to larger manufacturers, the first jeeps to be commissioned into Army service were Bantams and 2675 units were produced and delivered before the attack on Pearl Harbor. These were the last motor vehicles to emerge from the Bantam factory.