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Lot 335
1930 American Austin Roadster


Selling on Friday

From The Rockhound Collection


• Economical and fun pre-war micro car
• Body design by multiple concours winner, Alexis de Sakhnoffsky
• Restored for Horn’s Cars of Yesterday 1953 Museum opening
• Displaying patina of long-term museum exhibition

46 cid L-head inline four-cylinder engine, 13 HP, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with transverse leaf springs, live rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes; wheelbase: 75”

The first American Austin cars were produced in 1930 with coachwork designed by none other than Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, whose Cord L-29 styled for Hayes Body Corporation of Grand Rapids, Michigan swept a succession of high-profile international concours events in Europe during the 1930's. Hayes also produced the steel bodies for the American Austin.

Small in size but big in terms of economy and style, American Austins garnered plenty of attention with celebrity owners including Al Jolson, Ernest Hemmingway, Buster Keaton, and other luminaries of the era. High-profile politicians also briefly gravitated to them in order to demonstrate their sense of social responsibility as the October 1929 stock market crash evolved into the Great Depression. Despite initial success and loads of publicity, the American public was not quite ready for such a small, economical car and soon the upstart company was in receivership. After helping to keep American Austin afloat for two years through his enviable sales prowess, Roy Evans rescued the company by forming the American Bantam Car Company in 1937.

While few American Austins carry known provenance, this exception to the rule was restored in time for the 1953 opening of Horn’s Cars of Yesterday Museum which, of course, was the predecessor to the Sarasota Classic Car Museum and continues to occupy the same premises today. As offered, this dashing miniature roadster shows just a few miles on the odometer, presumably post-restoration miles. Displaying the patina of long-term exhibition in the museum, this 1930 American Austin Roadster was acquired by The Rockhound Collection in 2018 and is an unusual sight today and offers a wonderful way to join the classic car hobby.

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