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Austin America: NW 23rd & Thurman – Portland, OR

February 2nd, 2011 by Emir

Spotted this remarkably well-maintained ’71 Austin America on NW 23rd & Thurman and was overcome with a small car fever that had me jonzing for both an autocross circuit and a slew of extremely small parking spaces to shoehorn into. This little bugger, a variant of the two-door Austin 1300 and distant cousin of the original Mini, was made exclusively for the American market (’68-’72) in a “badge engineered” line of BMC (British Motor Corporation) cars ranging from basic Austin and Morris models to luxurious Vanden Plas Princess models and sporty MG derivations. There were even a few wagons thrown in for good measure. In all, they sold more than 3 million of these little buggers across the globe under various brand affiliations. Most of these cars were plagued with mechanical problems and, in damp climates, rusted like the dickens. That, along with the fact that many were scrapped for parts by Mini enthusiasts looking to replace their smaller engines with the larger 1275cc unit, is probably why they are so damn rare –  less than 100 of these Austin America models are said to exist in the States today. I can’t say it’s a coveted collectible, but it’s definitely rare and one hell of a street spot.

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  • this post is a real stroll down memory lane. my sister had a white ’68 that was a blast to drive, but the distributor was placed directly behind the grill. every time it rained it would get soaked & the car would roll to a halt. she had a meaningful relationship with the local AAA tow guy. thanks for the excellent memories of a very fun car.

  • I loved this car. Forgot they even existed.
    Thanks for the memory.