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August 11, 2009 - 12:53pm

American Austin Bantam Club meeting in Batavia

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

austin_bantam01.jpg

This afternoon, I spotted a long line of classic-looking, very tiny cars heading west. I turned around and followed them down River Street and eventually to Williams Park.

It turns out the American Austin Bantam Club is holding its 46th annual meeting in Batavia this week.

American Austins, and alter Bantams, were manufactured in the United States from the 1930s until the early 1940s. They were America's first economy car.

They were probably intended for second family cars, for short drives to the store and other errands, said club member Gene Loomis, of Warsaw.

The cars get about 50 miles per gallon of gas.

Phil Haynes, of Connecticut, said there were some 17,000 to 18,000 Austins built in Pennsylvania, and then about 6,700 Bantams manufactured.

It was Haynes (pictured in the white car below) I dropped behind after turning around on Main. As I followed him, he would occasionally stick his left arm out the driver's side and wave it straight down, back and forth.  At first, I thought, "He thinks I'm following too close," so I backed off, and he did it again, so I backed off some more, then he did it again, and that's when I realized, "he's rowing."

These little cars don't have a lot of horsepower. Haynes said he needed all the help he could get to coax his American Austin up any kind of incline.

The Club is staying at the Holiday Inn and will visit the VA Medical Center this afternoon.

austin_bantam02.jpg

austin_bantam03.jpg

Laura Scarborough
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Joined: Dec 3 2008 - 7:57am
Nice article, Howard. Nice job on the pictures.
Howard B. Owens
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Thanks, Laura.
Sheryl Smigelski
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Joined: Jun 19 2009 - 3:49pm
Nice cars, if it were just me I would like one. Who needs a big car if you are by yourself. Hard to believe they could make a car that got 50 mpg back then, guess they don't qualify for Cash for Clunkers do they.
Loren Penman
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Joined: Jun 29 2008 - 2:04pm
Does anyone know how long the American Austin Bantam Club will be in town?
Howard B. Owens
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Last seen: 6 days 15 hours ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
I think until tomorrow ... follow the link to their web site, there's information about the event there.

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