May 2, 2011
Mark Brennan, 570-340-5244
SCRANTON, Pa. – Steamtown National Historic Site will host a "Spring Fling Mini-Meet" of the American Austin Bantam Club on Saturday, May 21 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The 48-year old club bills itself as "the world's first organization dedicated exclusively to the restoration and preservation of America's pioneer economy cars. At Steamtown NHS, attendees will exhibit their favorite yesteryear eco-cars to the public in the visitor use area and the event is included in the park's daily Entrance Fee.
The American Austin automobile was based on the Austin "Seven" of England. The company was established in 1929 and found a new home in Butler, Pennsylvania. Its first year offerings were a coupe and a smart, looking roadster. With a 75 inch wheel base and 14 hp engines, these cars were considered one of the first economy cars, and they could achieve over 40 mpg! The little Austin's were made from 1930-1934. The depression hit the little car company hard, and it went into receivership in 1934. In 1936 Roy Evans purchased the company and reorganized the firm to become the American Bantam Car Company. American Bantam began production in 1938 and lasted until 1940.
Its last effort was designing the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC). This was considered the first Jeep! World War II was raging in Europe and our government thought the Bantam Company was too small to handle their production needs. Bantam got the credit for designing the jeep, but the contract was awarded to Willy's and Ford. A little over 2000 BRC's were made before production was halted.
Steamtown National Historic Site is the only place in the National Park System where the story of steam railroading and the people who made it possible is told. The historic, industrial railroad yard site features a visitor orientation center with exhibits showing how the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad's Scranton Yards evolved from 1850 to present, a 250-seat digital surround-sound theater showing the park movie, "Steel and Steam," throughout the day, and steam-era railroading history, roundhouse and technology museums that tell a multimedia-rich story of the significance of railroad transportation to the U.S. Industrial Revolution. Visitors may also join a scheduled Locomotive Shop tour. The museum complex, theater, indoor and outdoor exhibit areas and scheduled tours are included in the park's daily Entrance Fee. For an additional charge – $5 for all ages 6 and older – visitors may also enjoy the "Scranton Limited" short train ride inside the railroad yards on days that the train operates.
Located in downtown Scranton, Pa., Steamtown is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. From I-81 follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); then, follow the brown and white signs to the main entrance at Lackawanna and Cliff Avenues. The 2011 Excursion Schedule is available to view and print online at www.nps.gov/stea; additional general park information is available by phoning (570) 340-5200 during regular business hours, or by visiting the Park website anytime.
Digital images are available for media releases.