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A “Mini” Austin: 1969 Austin America

austin shorty 1

If you all can’t tell, we have been on a bit of a “shorty” kick. This “Mini” Austin America fits in with our recent “shorty” trend nicely. The seller claims this tiny Austin ran when parked over 4 years ago. The proportions are interesting but aren’t that strange looking compared to some of the other “shorty’s” we’ve seen lately. According to the seller, this Austin is rust free, and the paint and body work look acceptable from what we can see in the photos. This America has the familiar “A” series engine that is found in many British cars included the iconic Mini. Although we aren’t crazy about the semi auto gearbox, the $1,500 price tag is cheap enough for the amount of fun this Austin offers. Find it here on craigslist out of Los Angeles, California.

Photo Credit: MiniTEC

We think this America could be a poor man’s miniature Mini. The Standard A series works, but this America would be fun and quite interesting with a Honda engine swapped into it. Or Even a Suzuki Swift GT engine would propel it pretty quickly. On the other hand, the A series would be a cheap and different gas sipper.

austin shorty 2

This Austin America looks like it could be a fun car to play with, but what could be done with? We think it could easily become a driver or a clown car for the local circus. This Austin would also be a hoot with a Honda engine swap in it, adding to the surprise factor of this car. What would you do with this “Mini” Austin America?


  1. MH

    I would say 1K is good money for this car. I normally like 100% stock but I think I would swap motors for a Suzuki Hayabusa motor. That little thing would fly. Scary fast.

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  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    One of the things that’s great about the real Mini is the space utilization. I’d be hard pressed to put any work into this when what you end up with is a poor imitation–it’s not like Mini’s are unbelievably expensive. Nice find, though, and good write up!

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  3. Howard A Member

    Yes, we have noticed. A few like these shorty’s, but most, me included, don’t. Ok, this car is kind of a victim less crime here, but like the ’55 Chevy, it ruins a perfectly nice car. I know, most car builders today strive for something a little different, but I wish they would do it differently. Hey, I know, why not make it entirely stock looking? That’s different today.

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  4. That Guy

    I’m not a fan of “shorty” customs, but this one works better than most. I think it’s because the car has minimal overhangs both front and rear, so it doesn’t look like a 45-inch waist squeezed into 32-inch jeans.

    I think it would be a death trap with extra power, though. The handling must be unstable already with such a short wheelbase. An A-series with automatic seems perfect for anyone who wants to survive.

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  5. Chebby
  6. Chebby

    I saw a Honda 600 shell that was converted to bicycle pedal power, that might be the way to go here.

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  7. Bill the Engineer

    Looks like a sprite with an odd-ball roof.

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  8. BMW Racer

    Enough with the “shorties” How about some “Chopped tops”? Equal time demanded

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  9. rob pearcey

    It was the worst car I ever owned. You will die if you put anything but 1100 cc engine it.
    Slow ugly dangerous , crush it and turn into razor blades

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    • TJ

      +rob pearcey–I don’t get your statement of slow and dangerous when you also say “you will die if you put anything but 1100 cc engine in it”. I had one with the1275 cc engine in it. It didn’t kill me. It was a blast to drive in the twisties. I would have loved 100 more hp! Mine was bright yellow and I blacked out the all the chrome bits; it was pretty sharp looking. If I had a warehouse full of parts I’d still have it today. It should come with a trailer full of parts for when you what to drive it out of town, tho. hehe. I had a Fiat 850 spider that also was a blast but untrustworthy, btw.

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  10. John

    I’m likely the only person in America to have owned two Austin Americas. One automatic, one stick. They were not good cars. The stick was better, especially after putting a Weber carburetor on it. The 12 inch wheels were a pain to find tires for.

    But I drove the stick about 60k miles. My wife drove the automatic about 50k. They were great winter cars. With a set of studded snow tires, they would go anywhere. I had head gasket issues with both of them and they both needed a valve job at about 40K. The hydrolastic suspension always worried me but it never failed. The stick climbed Pike’s Peak. But they had Lucas electrics, not air conditioning or power steering. I think they did have boosted brakes. I cannot imagine driving a shortened wheelbase version. Think “twitchy”. But it would stay upright, I bet.

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  11. angliagt

    Looks like it’s been a “short” week here.

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  12. Van

    Really silly
    Paint it black
    Add Rolls-Royce grill
    Tag would say
    Bumper sticker
    “One million Opps billion dollars.”

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  13. Joe Nose

    “Ran when parked”? I think the owner ran, out of embarrassment…

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