1969 Austin America 1300 1.3L from North America


My new baby-on-board sporty car pipe dream


Hydrolastic suspension leaked compression.

Rusted rocker panels even in dry San José CA.

Radiator leaked.

Knobs & buttons loose.

Cooked wiper blades.

General Comments:

Fun to drive -- when it ran.

Impossible to drive on the freeway without getting a "snail" ticket.

Incredibly comfortable cabin.

Roomy with no transmission hump since the transverse mount engine included a unique front transmission and front wheel drive.

Ride was Peugeot comfortable until the car's unique Hydrolastic suspension needed impossible to find recompression recharging.

Huge trunk space - so long as you avoided perimeter rust.

Exceptional Redcoat Crimson paint job and stylish coachwork camouflaged missing or lacking weatherproofing and extensive hidden rust points.

Sports car stylish with MGB running lights and chrome trim with MG boot, bonnet, and hubcap badges.

Except for the total lack of get up and go, vaguely reminded me of my 1955 Austin Healey 100 or 1965 MG Midget.

My experience maintaining a BMC Sportster was no help since the America needed rare BMC tools as well as impossible to find parts. Boneyards were no help because so few Austin America cars were around to junk out.

Eventually replaced the America's rust collection with a 73 Midget fixer upper.

As much as it was a pain with the ever growing repair list, strangely my fondness for the plusses means at 77 I still don't regret the modest purchase. Lack of weird tools and unavailability of parts kept it from becoming a money sink.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th January, 2022

6th Feb 2022, 04:21

Thank you for the entertaining (and informative) review :)

18th Feb 2022, 12:13

I owned a '71 Austin America a few years after you had yours. It was a four speed; I hate to think how slow one with an automatic would have been. I sold it and bought a '71 Renault R10--just as weird (and slow) as the Austin was!

1970 Austin America 1.3 from North America


Fun and interesting


Rusted part in carburetor, brake master cylinder, alternator, oil leak, knobs broken off of heater lever.

General Comments:

I love this car. It handles very well and is very fun to drive.

It is not a fast car, but it runs very well. The 4 speed automatic transmission is very busy in city driving, and you can't miss it when it shifts up or down.

It is very roomy inside.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th January, 2010

1969 Austin America 4 cylinder from North America


A Nightmare on Main Street


Front drive shaft bent.

Transmission gear sheared.

Clutch slave cylinder leaked.

Discovered metal filings in the oil pan.

General Comments:

This was my first car, a 1969 Austin America. It was one of the first front wheel drive cars available at the time. It was kind of like a big Mini.

This was the wrong car for an American teenager. I drove it way too hard. It was a delicate flower. It made me swear off front wheel drive until the 1990's.

I do reflect fondly on the car though. The steering wheel was tilted, sort of like a van or bus. The car was fun to drive and I'd love to have the chance to drive another one. Definitely not a daily driver, and almost impossible to find now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd November, 2009

4th Nov 2009, 13:04

Yes it sounds like 3 out of 4 of the problems you listed were from misuse & abuse (not that they were a reliable car by any stretch).

I remember when my sister was looking for her first car, the local Ford dealer had a '69 Austin America, but my dad instead bought her a '65 LTD. I guess she was better off in the land yacht, but the Austin sure was cute.

29th Apr 2010, 21:08

I'm impressed somebody actually bought one of those in the US. It must have stood out like a sore thumb amongst all those full size sleds. The car really wasn't designed for a country the size of the USA; here in the UK they were normally bought by little old ladies as a shopping car. They are rare over here now too; they rusted appallingly even when new.

20th Jun 2010, 08:05

I bought the car because a friend of mine in high school had one. He used to talk about painting a big British flag on the roof. Whenever I stopped for fuel, service station attendants would talk to me about it (how long ago it's been when there were service station attendants?). I remember the car had a carburetor heater. One night I left the key on and heated the carb. all night long and the battery was dead. I recently found a picture of it, the only picture that exists. I keep it on my fridge.