Total Production: 59,500 1968 - 1972 The Austin America was produced exclusively for export to the United States (however they were also exported to Canada and Switzerland). They were sold from 1968 to 1972 with approximately 59,500 examples produced. They were part of the BMC ADO16 (Amalgamated Drawing Office project number 16) family which were small and economical family cars built by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and, later, British Leyland. The BMC ADO16 consisted of the Austin 1100 and 1300, Austin 11/55, MG 1100, MG 1300, MG Princess, Morris 1100 and 1300, Wolseley 1100, Wolseley 1275, Wolseley 1300, and others.
The designs were the work of automotive designer Sir Alec Issigonis, with assistance from Pininfarina in Italy. Austin advertised the America as 'the perfect second car.' Power was supplied from a transverse-mounted four-cylinder engine offering nearly 60 horsepower. A four-speed all-synchromesh manual transmission was standard and a four-speed automatic was optional. Disc brakes were in the front and drums were at the rear. Standard equipment included a heater, rear bench seat, front bucket seats with adjustable head restraints, lighted side markers, inside and outside mirrors, twin sun visors, and full carpeting.
The Austin America had a base price of $1,845 and the company claimed it was the 'lowest-priced car anywhere with a fully automatic transmission.' They were built to compete with the Volkswagen Beetle and their goal was to outperform the popular VW in styling, drivability, and ride quality. Unfortunately, many of the cars were plagued with many mechanical problems and rusting issues. Many cars fitted with automatic transmissions returned to the dealership for repairs while still under warranty. The engine and transmission shared the same oil, sitting one on top of the other, and when one failed, it often caused damage or problems to the other. By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2017