American Austin

1934 American Austin Coupe

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 6, 2022

Photo – Mecum

The American Austin. The original cute microcar. Okay, so it’s actually a license-built version of England’s Austin Seven, which was originally introduced in 1923. American Austin was set up in Delaware in 1929, with production beginning the following year in Butler, Pennsylvania. The company eventually went bankrupt, and production ceased in 1935. The company was reformed in 1938 as American Bantam, who would go on to design the original Jeep.

Three different types of coupes were sold by American Austin in 1934 (the company also offered pickups and vans). I have no idea which one this is, but prices ranged from $295 to $385 when new. Coachwork is from the Hayes Body Corporation, hence why the American versions were more stylish than their British counterparts. Power is from a 747cc inline-four good for 15 horsepower.

This one has four-wheel drum brakes and was restored in 2012. Check out more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $20,000.

Frazer-Tickford Metro

1982 Frazer-Tickford Metro

Offered by H&H | Duxford, U.K. | November 17, 2021

Photo – H&H

There’s a lot going on here. Let’s start with the Metro part: this car started out as an Austin Metro, which was a small hatchback introduced by British Leyland in 1980. It was a no-frills economy car. But what if you wanted one all tarted up?

Enter Tickford, a coachbuilder whose roots dated back to the 1820s. They bodied all manner of British cars before and after WWII, and in 1955, the company was purchased by David Brown, owner of Aston Martin. In 1981, with Aston Martin company under new ownership, they created an engineering subsidiary called Aston Martin Tickford.

That company helped other manufacturers build high-performance models, including helping Ford with the Tickford Capri, Sierra Cosworth RS500, and the RS200.

Then there was a guy called Mike Bletsoe-Brown, who owned Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire. He set up a company called Frazer (unrelated to the American one) and contracted with Tickford to build the best Metro they could.

And so the Frazer-Tickford Metro was born. Think of it as the Aston Martin Cygnet‘s grandfather. They took a Metro 1.3 S and stripped it down. A fiberglass body kit was added, as were Aston Martin badges, a sunroof, and an interior worthy of an Aston. The engine was beefed up too, and the 1.3-liter inline-four now put out 80 horsepower.

Aston Martin bought out the project in 1982, and a dumbed down version called the Tickford Metro was available in 1983. Only 26 examples of the Frazer-Tickford car were built, three of which were destined for the American market, including this one. It’s back in England now and has a pre-sale estimate of $47,000-$61,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Austin Metropolitan

1956 Austin Metropolitan Coupe

Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | May 15, 2021

Photo – Historics Auctioneers

A few weeks ago we featured a Nash Metropolitan, which is what this car is usually referred to as. But, it was actually built under four different brands including Nash, Hudson, Metropolitan, and Austin. The easy way to identify an Austin is the right-hand-drive layout.

Actually, Austin built them all and then shipped most of them to the States for sale by Nash/Hudson/AMC. Metropolitans aren’t uncommon in the US (I love them), but the Austin version sure is. This one is still in England though.

Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-four (sourced from the Austin A50 Cambridge) that made about 68 horsepower. While the Metropolitan launched in the US in 1953, they didn’t go on sale in the UK until the very end of 1956, making this a very early UK model. Austin-branded production continued through 1959. There were no ’60 models in the UK, and 1961 cars were just known as “Metropolitans” as they were in the US. Both coupes and convertibles were available.

This one looks good and should bring between $20,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $16,992.

Austin K2/Y

1943 Austin K2/Y Ambulance

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 27-April 1, 2021

Photo – Brightwells

Every major manufacturer got involved in the war in some regard. Consider that right up until the war started, Austin was building this tiny car. Then all of a sudden, they’re manufacturing heavy trucks (though they did build armored cars during WWI).

Between 1939 and 1945, Austin built 13,102 examples of this field ambulance. And that’s all it was… there was no “troop-carrier” variant. Ambulance only. The 3.5-liter inline-six made 60 horsepower when new, enough to propel this three-ton truck to 50 mph. The gruesome record during the war is apparently 27 injured soldiers carried in one load, including on the fenders and hood.

This example was used by the Royal Navy and has been in the same family since it was disposed of by the War Department in 1948. It can now be yours for between $26,000-$27,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Austin Seven

1927 Austin Seven Chummy

Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Duxford, U.K. | April 14, 2021

Photo – H&H Auctioneers

The Austin Seven (or 7) was a landmark British car. It was like the British Model T – it was extremely popular, cheap, and reliable. It helped put the UK on wheels. It was introduced in 1923, and variants of it remained in production until 1939. The car was licensed all over the world, including by Rosengart in France, BMW in Germany, and American Austin in the US. Its legendary status was cemented when the original Mini was launched in 1959 as the “Austin Seven.”

The 747cc inline-four made approximately seven horsepower, hence the name. It had a three-speed manual gearbox and what we now think of as “conventional” controls. Quite a few body syles were offered, including this four-seat “Chummy” tourer.

This particular car has been in dry storage for some time and could probably do for some reconditioning. It is selling at no reserve alongside a few other Seven variants. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $15,929.

Austin Hertford

1935 Austin 16/6 Hertford Saloon

Offered by H&H Auctioneers | Online Only | April 29, 2020

Photo – H&H Auctioneers

The Austin 16 was introduced in 1927 and evolved fairly significantly over a decade of production. This car, from near the end of the line, looks much different from the earlier cars. Dubbed the Sixteen Light Six, the cars were powered by a 2.2-liter inline-six that made 36 horsepower.

1935 models featured upgrades over preview years and could be had in one of four models. This five-passenger Hertford saloon was the least-expensive option. New features included a second gear synchro and a body-color radiator surround.

This car benefits from recent freshening and shows very well. Austin built 12,731 examples of the 16 between 1935 and 1937, and survivors aren’t all that common. This one should bring between $11,000-$13,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $10,949.

Austin EXP1 Prototype

1917 Austin 20 EXP1 Prototype

Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | November 15, 2017

Photo – H&H Classics

Coming out of the First World War, the Austin Motor Company of England needed to get back into the swing of automobile production. So they built this four-door tourer in 1917. Austin’s test driver drove it all over the U.K. hyping Austin’s new car that is based on this: the 20.

The first generation of the 20 was available from 1919 through 1929. This car is powered by a 3.6-liter straight-four making 20 horsepower and it’s capable of 60 mph. By the time production started in 1919, their test driver had raised over £6 million in pre-orders for the 20, making his tour a wild success, especially because Austin beat many competitors to market after the war.

This car was discovered as a rolling chassis and was pulled out of a hedge and restored about 15 years ago. There aren’t a lot of automobile prototypes still around from this era, making this a rare treat. As a piece of British automotive history, this car should bring between $60,000-$75,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Lightspeed Magenta

1966 Lightspeed Magenta Runabout

Offered by RM Auctions | Phoenix, Arizona | January 15-16, 2015

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

There are so many Mini-based cars that have been built since the 1960s. Seriously, a ton. But this is one that isn’t quite as familiar as say a Mini Marcos or Deep Sanderson. In fact, the Magenta pre-dates Lightspeed. Originally, the Magenta was built around an MG 1100.

But Lightspeed Panels bought the rights to the Magenta in 1972 and the branding changed. Most Magentas are based around Minis – this one is actually based around a 1966 Austin Mini 850, but has since been upgraded to a 1,275cc straight-four making 75 horsepower from a Cooper S. It’s probably also down some weight (because, you know, the roof is gone) – which will likely make it quicker than a Mini of similar vintage and specification.

It is thought that about 500 Magentas were sold into the early 1980s. It may be a kit car, but I bet it’s a head-turner. This one came to the U.S. in 2005 and had been restored in 2001. The end result of this car comes from one of four factory prototype kits. So it’s sort of a prototype. If you want to buy it, it will likely be one of the more affordable cars at RM’s auction in Arizona this year. Check out more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $16,500.

One-off Austin Sheerline

1949 Austin Sheerline A.125 Cabriolet by Vesters & Neirinck

Offered by Bonhams | Knokke-Heist, Belgium | October 11, 2013

1949 Austin Sheerline A.125 Cabriolet by Vesters & Neirinck

Photo – Bonhams

When World War II ended, Austin decided to build a car to try and rival Bentley. They introduced the Sheerline (originally in A.110 form) in 1947. After only 12 of those were sold, they shifted to the A.125 – the difference being displacement.

The cars looked a little like Bentleys and a little like Jaguars – in that they were stately, boxy sedans. All were four-door cars offered as sedans or limousines. The engine in the A.125 was a 4.0-liter straight-six making 125 horsepower.

This particular car was delivered new to Belgium and given a custom coachbuilt body by a local Belgian coachbuilder. When I saw this car in the auction catalog, I thought “Oh, a Saoutchik Delahaye!” Boy was I wrong and boy is that a huge compliment to the body on this car. It really is nice looking. The fact that it is also a convertible is a plus as well.

This car is being sold by only its second owner. The mechanicals and interior have been completely restored but the body and paint are entirely original. This is the only example like this built (of the 7,851 A.125s built) and it is a cheap entry into major concours events worldwide. It is expected to sell for between $54,000-$81,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams in Belgium.

Update: Sold for significantly less than the lower end of the estimate. The person who bought it has asked that the price not be displayed here. In a couple of months, after he has flipped the car, the price will be posted here again.

September Results II

Our second post covering auctions for September starts with RM’s big London sale. They had a huge collection of Mercedes-Benzes cross the block, but the top sale actually went to our featured Maserati 250S for $3,340,000. Our featured Jaguar D-Type failed to sell. As did our featured Mercedes 500K Cabriolet C. The top-selling Benz was this 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B for $1,287,400.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B

Our featured 1932 Mercedes-Benz 370 S sold for $1,208,900. On top of the “interesting cars pile” was the Lotus Esprit Submarine from the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. It sold for $967,000.

1977 Lotus Esprit Submarine

Another cool car was this 1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12 which brought $527,000.

1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12

Our featured Mercedes 290 Cabriolet A brought $435,000. And our featured Benz Doctor’s Cabriolet sold for $83,500. Other interesting cars include this 1948 Austin VM 30 Cabriolet for only $12,300.

1948 Austin VM 30 Cabriolet

I can’t pick just two or three cool Mercedes’ from this sale to highlight because so many of them are the more mundane road cars that you just don’t see anymore (which I find fascinating). These are restored examples of cars that they built a ton of, but it would probably be easier to find a 540K today. You really have to check out the full results here, but I’ll tease you with this 1952 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da Pick Up. It sold for $77,300.

1952 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da Pick Up

Bonhams held a sale during the Goodwood Revival. The top sale here was our featured Alfa Romeo 8C-35 Grand Prix car for $9,511,542. It was kind of a no-brainer that this would be the top sale, as Bonhams has been killing it lately with competition cars bringing huge sums. Apparently they currently hold world records for 11 different marques at auction, which is pretty impressive (they probably hold more, but don’t want to look up all of the smaller marques over the years).

Cool cars start with this 1936 Invicta 4.5-Litre S-Type Low-Chassis Tourer which sold for $307,413. Our featured Invicta did not sell.

1936 Invicta 4.5-Litre S-Type 'Low Chassis' Tourer

Our featured Connaught did not sell either. But this 1934 Singer 1.5-Litre Le Mans did. It actually raced in the 1934 24 Hours of Le Mans. It sold for $136,966.

1934 Singer 1.5-Litre Le Mans

Two other interesting cars: first this 1951 Jaguar XK120 Competition Roadster which brought a big $228,277.

1951 Jaguar XK120 3.8-Litre Competition Roadster

And this super-cool 1985 Audi Quattro SWB Coupe. A very rare rally car for the road, it brought $185,409.

1985 Audi Quattro Sport SWB Coupe

And finally, let’s go to our featured Jaguar XJR-8 race car. It sold – but that’s all the information that was provided. Bonhams didn’t provide a final amount – but I will refer to it as a “mysterious sum in the neighborhood of $1.4 million.” Anyway, you can check out the full results here.