The Austin America is a fascinating car, way ahead of its time. A front-wheel hatchback from 1962 (well, the hatch came in ‘66)? That’s impressive. They’re very rare in the U.S., and seeing one for sale in LA is unusual in and of itself. Seeing a strangely shortened one in a Craigslist ad, however, suggests an unknowable, Lovecraftian madness that threatens to consume us all.


Since the shortening isn’t mentioned in the ad, I suspect that the seller may not even be aware of the horror they so blithely vend onto an unsuspecting public. Here’s all the ad says about the car:

Hi everyone I am selling my 1969 Austin America it’s all rust free , was running when I parked it in my shop like 4 years ago, semi automatic,4 cylinder , it’s a rare car

Rust free? Great. Semi-auto? Pleasingly weird. $1,500? Not bad! Was running? I think a Craigslist ad for a wet paper bag of rust and an Impala badge would say that, too.

But where is the mention that at least a foot or two of Austin was somehow laboriously extracted from this car?


Look at it compared to a stock Austin America; it’s not just that a bunch of car was sectioned out from one place, you can see that part of the length was removed from the door, and part from the rear quarter.


It’s clear a lot of work went into this process; the result looks remarkably well done, with new glass sourced, reasonably well-hidden seams, all in all a highly skillful job. Which is what makes it so terrifying.

Why would anyone want a shorty version of an Austin America? There’s no practical reason, no aesthetic reason, and the population of them in the US is too small to justify someone wanting something that stood out from the crowd at shows– the only answer is madness. Black, all-encompassing, mind-scrambling madness.


This car is like what an amorphous Shoggoth would excrete if it consumed an Austin America; it could only have been produced by the feverish, self-destructive labor of a lone person, driven to madness by some unknowable terror, blindly hacking away sheet metal from a small British car, seeking a solace they will forever be denied via the multination of this big brother to the Mini.

Either that, or it was a former clown car. I find clowns fucking terrifying, so I really hope this car is just a Lovecraftian decent into madness. That’s the only way I’ll be able to sleep at night.


Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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