BUTLER, Pa., (June 17, 2022): The American Austin Bantam Club is bringing its annual meet back home to Butler County from June 27-29, 2022. The car club, which is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, has held the annual event in 23 states and Canada.
American Austins, which eventually transformed into the American Bantam, were built in Butler, Pa., from 1930 until 1941. The cars, with creative designs and a short wheelbase, drew attention due to their uniqueness and close to 50 miles-to-the gallon fuel efficiency.
“With that type of mileage and fuel prices, they very well may be popular cars today,” said Jack Cohen, President of the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau. “It’s that type of ingenuity and creativity that we celebrate every day in Butler County and we’re thrilled to welcome The American Austin Bantam Club back to where it all began.”
The American Austin Car Company was created to build the American version of the British Austin Seven. But less than five years later, after manufacturing 20,000 vehicles, the company filed for bankruptcy. Reorganized as the American Bantam Car Company of Butler a few years later, a new design was created but sales remained the same – poor.
However, American Bantam did see some success in being the first company to build the prototype of the jeep. A total of 2,675 of the vehicles were built before American Bantam lost its contract with the U.S. Army.
“The Bureau actually owns four of the American Bantam vehicles,” said Cohen. “It’s part of our heritage, history, and region and it’s the Bureau’s responsibility to raise awareness of not only the amazing things in Butler County now, but how our residents and businesses have impacted the country throughout past decades.”
Although the Annual Meet is a private affair, the club will host a “Bantam Invasion” from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 29 on Main Street in downtown Butler. The event, which is scheduled to feature 50 American Bantams, will result in the closing of Main Street between Brady and Cunningham streets from 4 to 9 p.m. Additionally, if you have a classic car, produced between 1930 and 1940, the Austin American Bantam Car Club welcomes your participation. Contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.