Established in 1930, the American Austin Car Company built compact mini cars in Butler, PA. Sales were low, even at a base price of $445, and American Austin filed for bankruptcy in 1934. In 1938, production resumed under the new name “American Bantam”. With the onset of WWII in 1941, car production ceased. Bantam’s resources were directed towards a prototype Jeep in hopes of winning the U.S. Army contract. However Willys, and later Ford, built all of the Jeeps during World War II and Bantam closed operations forever in 1956.
Here in our museum, we have acquired vehicles from both production eras. A 1932 Austin Roadster, a 1939 Bantam 2-Door Coupe, and a rare 1940 Bantam Roadster. About 20,000 cars were produced during the initial Austin era (1930-1934). Total production for the Bantam era (1938-1941) was about 6,700 cars and there were only 800 Bantams built in 1940.