Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby Austin, Indeed!

by Nancy DeWitt
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum


We don't often have two of the museum automobiles out on the road at the same time, but Willy made a special effort this summer to get our shortest and longest cars out for a photo session. He claims he was driving our 1932 Cadillac V16 Imperial Limousine when it backfired, and voilĂ --a "mini me" appeared!

That's our 1934 American Austin Series 475 coupe back there. An Americanized version of the British Austin Seven, these whimsical cars were also known as Baby Austins. Very fitting.


The Cadillac sits on a 149" wheelbase and carries a 165 hp, 16-cylinder engine displacing 452 cubic inches. The American Austin's wheelbase is a mere 75" and its little 15 hp, 4-cylinder engine displaces only 45.6 cubic inches. Weights are 5,905 and 1,130 lbs, respectively. Can you guess which car has a fuel economy of 40 miles per gallon and which one gets around 8.5 mpg?


At this angle the size difference isn't so obvious, but it sure is when you sit in the front seats. We practically had to grease up Willy to fit him behind the Austin's wheel. The difference in the original purchase prices was also extreme -- $345 for the Austin in 1934 and $5,445 for the Cadillac in 1932. That would be approximately $5,908 versus $91,205 in today's dollars! These cars are a wonderful contrast and well worth seeing up close.

The Cadillac will be making a special winter drive on November 12 when several antique cars will roll across the new Veterans Memorial Bridge at 1 PM in downtown Fairbanks.




1 comment:

  1. There's something about the look and shape of that Austin that is very attractive.

    ReplyDelete

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