One of handful of known survivors, designed by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky
1935 American Austin Panel Truck
Chassis no. 475-8827
Engine no. M-20038
747cc L-head inline four-cylinder engine
Single updraft carburetor
Three speed transmission
Solid axles with front transverse semi-elliptic spring and twin quarter elliptic springs rear
Four wheel mechanical drum brakes
-Very rare panel delivery Austin
-Practical little vehicle
-Styled by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky
-Property from a Pacific Northwest Collection
The Panel Truck
The American Austin Car Company was established in 1929 to build a licensed version of the Austin 7. The firm would occupy the vacant Standard Steel Car Company factory in Butler, Pennsylvania. Elegant body designs were commissioned from Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, best known for his work on the Auburn Speedster. Austin contracted with Hayes Body Works to build de Sakhnoffsky's designs in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The bodies were to be shipped to Butler for assembly onto completed chassis.
During the January 1930 New York Auto Show, American Austin held a private exhibition in a nearby hotel lobby. Two hand-built prototypes were on displaya coupe and a "special delivery" car (business coupe). By August, the sales department reported advance orders of 184,000 vehicles. However, the crippling effects of the Great Depression caused 95% of those orders to be cancelled. American Austin production limped along disappointingly through 1934. Fewer than 20,000 cars and trucks hit the highway.
The Motorcar Offered
This charming little panel truck highlights the variety of styles offered on the diminutive Bantam chassis. This small truck would prove convenient in urban settings were maneuverability took precedent over capacity.
The early history is unknown, but the first known but unrecorded history begins in 1959 with the car appearing in the collection of Alaskan Raymond Bell. Bell eventually traded the car to Rick Fontaine and then Fontaine sold it to Roland Hon of Eagle, Idaho in 1973. The current owner acquired the rare panel van from Hon in 1976.
In somewhat rough shape when acquired, this panel delivery was subject to a restoration in the late 1970s by Austin/Bantam Society co-founders Dick and Roy Beagle and still presents nicely. Accurately done by a noted enthusiast, it is complete right down to the Bantam Rooster mascot. No doubt this would be great fun to show or perhaps paint with an appropriate livery. Either way, it's a real attention getter that is sure to be a hit anywhere it goes.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit