Rare, sporty 1937 Austin Boattail Speedster minicar prototype

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2065
The Austin might be tiny but it packs a lot of style
The Austin might be tiny but it packs a lot of style

Tiny collector cars are an entire genre unto themselves, beloved by fans of the smallest, most minimalistic yet highly stylish minicars of the past. Witness one of the most-fun car shows on the Monterey Peninsula during Pebble Beach Concours week: The Little Car Show of Pacific Grove.

The Pick of the Day would be a star in Pacific Grove or anywhere else, for that matter, a rare 1937 Austin Boattail Speedster prototype that has been fully restored to original, according to the Alpharetta, Georgia, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.

The boattail rear gives the two-seat Austin a sporty aspect

The maker of this sporty runabout, Austin Motor Company, was founded in England in 1905 and produced cars for the U.S. under the American Austin name, later becoming American Bantam, one of the most famous names in U.S. minicars.

“A year before reorganizing and becoming American Bantam, Austin would produce one its most-rare and highly desirable prototypes ever, the Austin Boat Tail Speedster,” according to the ad. “With only six ever produced, this 1937 Austin Boat Tail Prototype for sale doesn’t get much rarer.”

This Speedster comes up for sale in excellent condition, the seller says.

Only smaller drivers can fit behind the wheel 

“With over 2,000 man hours put into the restoration of this particular Austin, this boattaill for sale is simply one of a kind,” the seller says in the ad. “The exterior is a real looker, in a gorgeous coat of green paint. Complimented by yellow painted steel wheels adorned with polished hubcaps and wrapped in wide whitewall tires, this 1937 Austin for sale will catch eyes and turn heads.

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“Add in the gorgeous polished and chrome accents and you’ll find yourself with a high appreciation for the painstaking time spent in researching and restoring this ultra-rare piece of history.”

The engine is proportionally tiny

The Speedster is powered by a small four-cylinder engine and 4-speed manual transmission, so while it’s the fastest sports car on the road, it most likely is one of the most charming and distinctive, in a teensy way.

The asking price for this little gem, the likes of which you’ll probably never see again, is a reasonable $27,995.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

1 COMMENT

  1. That was never made by American Austin or Bantam. It has been repeatedly misrepresented as a factory prototype for years which is false. The fact they can’t even get $27K for it also helps prove their lie.

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