The Astra was originally developed in 1955 as the “Little Horse” utility vehicle by JARC Motors Ltd. Of Middlesex. The single-seat, 13HP commercial vehicle was simple but capable. The main downside was the location of the 250cc engine – under the load floor. Any service work required removal of everything inside the rear cabin.
British Anzani acquired the Little Horse from financially-troubled JARC in 1956. Anzani established the Astra subsidiary and moved production to Hampden Hill. Outward changes were limited to the placement of Astra badges on the nose and fenders. Under the wood and aluminum body, a larger 322cc Excelsior two-stroke twin was used, the driver’s seat was changed to a tubular frame, and a passenger seat added.
The Astra was never a big sales success, but Anzani didn’t rely on its profitability, so it remained in production. In 1958, a 5 passenger sedan was developed, using Astra’s underpinnings. Marketing and production of the body were farmed out to Gill Coachbuilders, and it was known as the Gill Get-A-Bout. Sales were very slow. Neither two-tone paint nor marketing it as a taxi helped. Astra production ended in 1959, and the Get-A-Bout ended production in 1961.
Manufacturer: Astra Car Company, Ltd.
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Excelsior; air-cooled, 322cc, twin, two-stroke, 16bhp
Transmission: 3-speed manual with reverse
Top Speed: 50mph
Years of Production: 1956-1959
Number Produced: Unknown
Original Cost: Unknown