As American As An Austin Can Be

1969 Austin America

It might bear the name America and was built for the American market, this Austin was all British. Listed here on craigslist, this 1969 Austin America in Minneapolis, Minnesota is priced at just $2,000. The seller state that the car was just awakened from a 15 year nap in a garage. It does appear that the driver’s door was replaced at some point. There were approximately 59,500 Austin Americas built for the U.S. market from 1969 to 1972.

Austin America

Included in this sale: the car, a complete spare engine with a transmission assembly, set of rear vent windows, set of door panels, spare dash assembly with the switches and a 2nd front grill (images of these can be found in the ad).  To top all of this off, this is a running and driving car.

'69 Austin American engine

It was towed to the shop from the garage and the following maintenance and repairs were done: tune up, fuel tank and fuel lines flushed, new battery, oil change, a test drive and a “complete exterior cleaning”.

'69 Austin American seats

We feel that it is always a good idea to clean-up and remediate any mold that may be present. A clean up of the seats and some repair on the driver’s seat would add to the enjoyment factor.

'69 Austin American int

The Austin American could be ordered with a 4 speed or the automatic transmission could be shifted manually, or left in “Drive” to shift on its own. This one has the automatic. There is still work to be done on this car: reverse is not working with the transmission that is in the car, running lights and speedometer are inoperative and tires are needed.

1969 Austin America 1300

Except for the color shift in the driver’s door this Austin is actually looking neat and tidy.

'69 Austin American boot

For $2,000 with all the spares included, how could you go wrong? The owner is also interested in trading or bartering and asks you to let him know what you have, or what might ben in your Barn.

Motor-on,
Robert

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Between the air pump and the automatic trans., not much power actually got through to the front wheels. A friend who had one of these when it was new reported that it was only slightly slower than an Isetta….

    If I remember correctly, these had Hydrolastic suspension like later Minis, and parts for those are hard — maybe impossible — to come by. You’d have to convert to conventional shocks. Between some engine tweaking, the suspension and interior, you’d be out more than the car cost before you could get rolling. And you’d be out more than it’s worth.

    A shame, really. I like the looks, and like “A”-Series engines.

  2. Ben T Spanner

    The automatic transmission shares lubrication with the engine sump. When new these only had a 12 month/12000 mile warranty. Transmission rebuilds were expensive compared to the price of the car, and the typical dealer was not capable of a rebuild. Most were automatic as the option was only $100 or so. There were many dead Austin Americas by the early 1970’s.

  3. Bruce

    I have one of these, mine is a 67. I am thinking about swapping it over to Honda VTec running gear and making a kick ass rally car out of it.

  4. Matt Helm

    Lot of info about these cars, including repairing and upgrading the automatic transmission, can be found here:

    http://austinamericausa.com/

  5. Matt Tritt

    Actually, the American Austin from the late 20’s/early 30’s is a LOT more American. ;-)

  6. DT

    I knew someone with one of these.It was a stick shift. It wasnt as bad as an Automatic.I worked on it, ALOT. it made for fun test drives but I would not want to own one

  7. jim s

    might have been alright around town but they did not last long at highway speeds ( 65 MPH ) back then. but there is interest in these so it might get saved. i love the photo with the 2nd gen smart car in the background. interesting find.

  8. Howard A Member

    My brother had a car exactly like this. He got it with another car he bought in the late 70’s, and the owner “threw it in” as part of the deal. We never did get it running, and the suspension had us baffled, and he junked it. I’m sure it became a Chinese toaster ( or something)

  9. Rich

    I owned one for 10 years. I daily drove it until 2010. It was a stick/ 1300. It was fast around town. Auto crossed it with my son. Hydrolastic was great. With headers and a rejet it really performed. If you changed the final drive it did hi ways. It was comfortable and tons of fun. Sold it when I moved south. Wish I had it now.

  10. John

    I had a stick. It was a great little car and very fun to drive, especially in the snow. It was not fast, but it was fun. In its later life I swapped its carburetor for a dual set from a wrecked 1275 Sprite. I could never really tell much difference, but I was convinced it was better with dual carbs. It had to have a plastic milk jug over its distributor if you drove it in the rain and changing a clutch was a two day job. But it was fun. And mine was super-reliable. It went well over a 100k. But mine cost $1977.00 brand new.

  11. sdwarf36

    The last one of these I had I got for free (with about 20k miles)-this one should be worth twice that…

  12. bruce

    Learned to drive stick on one of these. Fun car.

  13. Larry Grinnell

    Back in 1971, I was looking to replace my 1952 Willys Aero Ace with a “real car,” and came upon an Austin America at one new car dealer’s used car lot in suburban Fort Lauderdale. I drove it around the lot and immediately parked it, but not before some observations… 1. The exhaust system had been patched together and was ready to fall off with the slightest jolt, and 2. the automatic transmission was fascinating–the quadrant was P-R-N-1-2-3-4-D (or something to that effect). Placing the gear lever in any of the numbered slots placed the tranny in that gear. Imagine if you will, a 1.3 litre Austin engine having to start off in 4th gear (even with — or especially with — a torque converter in the way). Must’ve been how a Fluid Drive New Yorker took off in high range, or the rare Chevy Nova Torque Drive (a Powerglide without the valve body and automatic controls) would start off in 2nd gear.

    After also rejecting an almost new AMC Gremlin two-seater, I wound up with a ’68 Plymouth Valiant Signet with the factory bucket seats. Worst. Seats. Ever. After as little as 100 miles, my back was begging for mercy. My VW Golf TDI’s seats are so comfortable, I can do 700+ miles in a single stretch and still be fresh as a daisy at the end of the trip.

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