You never know where a lead may take you.

At this point, my nationwide Craigslist safari is a morning ritual.  I get used to seeing a lot of the same ads, but on occasion wonderful treasures emerge.  In fact, the primary foundation for my Sportsman project came from Craigslist as did many of the parts for it.  Most of the time, the ad will present an older restoration of an American Austin in a fairly straight forward manner.  However, there is the odd occasion where something extra special will be hidden in plain sight.

This story begins at the end of September.  Just after returning from vacation, I was working to get back into my normal routine.  Slightly out of practice and unfamiliar with whatever listings may have popped up in the previous two weeks, I scoured the results a little harder.  An unlikely title caught my attention:  “Front Bumper for 1942 Bantam pickup truck”.

As you and I know, American Bantam didn’t build any pickups in 1942.  I figured this was likely a crane truck or something.  However, I clicked anyway and was faced with this:

American Bantam Barn Find

That’s not a Bantam front bumper; I guess it could have been added to a Bantam, but that isn’t something which would have been mounted at the factory onto the front of a truck.  Reading further it sounded like other bits may be available, the thought of other pieces being available got me thinking and I immediately texted the seller.  He only had a photo of the grille, but said he’d send it to me later in the day.  I waited with baited breath and eventually received this:

Bantam Grille

I immediately called the seller after he sent me a photo of a really nice 38 Bantam grille.  He began to explain that he was helping a friend sell these parts which belonged to the friend’s grandfather.  After some more prodding, I learned these parts were all sitting in a garage along with the remains of a pickup truck taken apart long ago.  Later that night, he sent a photo of the cowl tag which revealed that the truck was among the first 500 produced.  I asked what his friend wanted for the whole lot and was given a fairly high price; so I asked for more photos.  For his asking price, I needed to know what was really included.

“Not a problem,” he replied “I’ll have them for you tomorrow.”

Suddenly, silence.  The silence turned from days to weeks and I reached out to the seller a few times.  My curiosity got the best of me; what was for sale and what happened to the seller were questions I became very familiar with pondering the possible answers.  Out of the blue, I heard from the seller again and he reiterated the price.  I waited for photos again, but the same sort of thing happened.

Finally, one night several weeks later, I received a slew of text messages from the seller along with a single photo which supposedly showed the truck as it was before the seller began excavating the garage which was holding it hostage.

Here is the photo:

the truck

I spoke at length with the seller that night and it sounded like we were heading in the right direction.  Since it sounded like a lot of cleaning had taken place since the photo was taken, I asked for a couple photos or at least a better description of the bed and fenders which were supposedly in the bed.  Perhaps I asked for too much.

I haven’t given up all hope yet, but I am not too optimistic that I will ever hear back from the seller.  Yet, as you know, I am pretty persistent.   If there are any updates, I will fill you in.  If not, all I can say is good luck little truck, where ever you end up!

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Welcome to December!

I need to get back to blogging about the shop project.  However, in the meantime, I am pleased to share these newly listed items with you.  Please scroll down through the last few posts if you’d like to see what else is available as some of those parts have been relisted.

Enjoy your weekend!

American Austin Grille Chin Panel

American Austin Grille Chin 2

Click here to see the American Austin Grille Chin Panel

American Austin Oil Pressure Gauge

American Austin Oil Gauge 1

Click here to see the American Austin Oil Pressure Gauge

American Austin Front Axle and Suspension Parts –

This assembly has been listed for several years, although the seller has taken new photos.  Perhaps the seller is open to offers?

American Austin Front Axle 1

Click here to see the American Austin Front Axle and Suspension Parts

American Bantam Cam Shaft and Bushing

This appears to have the correct non-tapered shaft for Bantam timing gears whereas Austins have a tapered interface.

Click here to see the American Bantam Cam Shaft and Bushing

Incorrect Roadster Top Rear Window

This is not correct for an Austin or a Bantam.  Austins used an oval window with an entirely different interior garnish and attachment system.  Bantam used rectangular rear window frames it radiused corners.  

Click here to see the American Bantam Roadster Top Rear Window

American Bantam Taillight (NACO) parts (Lens may not be correct)

American Bantam Roadster NACO Tailight Parts 1

Click here to see the American Bantam Taillight (NACO) parts

Black Friday Austin Bantam Sale?

If you are ready to give your credit cards a work out this week, here is a good place to start!

American Austin Instruction Manual

American Austin Instruction Manual

Click here to see the American Austin Instruction Manual

1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker

1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker

Click here to see the 1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker

American Austin Radiator Badge

American Austin Radiator Badge

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge

America Austin Bantam Tow Truck & Tractor photos

austin tow truck and tractor 1

Click here to see the America Austin Bantam Tow Truck & Tractor photos

America Austin or Bantam Wrist Pins

Click here to see the America Austin or Bantam Wrist Pins

American Austin Key Fob/ trinket

American Austin Badge Fob 3

Click here to see the American Austin Badge Fob

American Bantam Clutch Plate

American Bantam Clutch Plate

Click here to see the American Bantam Clutch Plate

If it seems too good to be true…

As a change of pace, I am telling you not to bid on something.  In fact, I’m writing this as a warning to prevent you from being scammed. A little bit ago, a seller on eBay listed an American Bantam Car Co. employee badge. Here is a photo of it:

American Bantam Car Co badge 1

It is listed for $19.57 and is a buy it now listing with free shipping.  This sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?  Perhaps we should consider comparable listing to see how good of a deal it is.

An employee badge sold on October 7, 2017 for $427.22 after a very intense bidding war.
Click here to see the listing:  American Bantam Car Co. Employee Badge

That item was coming from Pittsburgh, PA and looked like this:

American Bantam Car Co badge 1

Wait a minute, that’s the same badge; not only the same badge, but the same photo of the same badge!  Either some benevolent soul in 阳泉市, China appears to have purchased this to give one of us other enthusiasts a chance at a real bargain or this listing was made by a malevolent individual to make an easy $20.

While I don’t know for certain, I know that I’ll be keeping my $19.57 in my pocket and will wait patiently for the next listing and suggest you should do the same.

For your reference, here is a photo of the bogus listing:

screenshot-48.png

Austin and Bantam Parts to Start the Week

American Bantam Headlight Lenses

The seller of these headlight lenses has commented that they may be NOS lenses.  $150 for a pair of NOS lenses would be a great deal, but interested parties are advised to blow up the photos to see how the surfaces of the lenses have fared over the years.  A close inspection will reveal a large incidence of scratches and discoloration.

These are currently priced cheaper than the New Headlight Lens project lenses will be, however that project may be delayed until sufficient interest can be found.Bantam Headlight lenses 3

Click here to see the American Bantam Headlight Lenses

1938-1938 American Bantam 15 Slat Grille

This grille appears to be in very nice shape with minimal repairs in normal places.  Does it need some body work?  Yes.  Is it the nicest grille which has been on eBay in years?  Also, yes.

American Bantam Grille 1

Click here to see the 1938-1938 American Bantam 15 Slat Grille

Potentially New American Bantam Windshield Stanchions

It is difficult to determine whether the orange substance is dirty cosmoline or rust.  In either event, these can be difficult to locate if you do not have a set for your car.

American Bantam Windshield Stanchions

Click here to see the Potentially New American Bantam Windshield Stanchions

1939 American Bantam Station Wagon Crank Case

This crankcase has had a few modifications but it appears to have some nice parts left on it.  While the difficult to locate crankshaft is missing, this lot includes the cam, the front and rear crank bearing supports, cam gear, distributor drive gear, fan pulley, generator support, cam bushings, oil fill tube, a vane style oil pump, and what looks to be a fairly decent crank case.

Click here to see the 1939 American Bantam Station Wagon Crank Case

1930 American Austin Instruction Book

American Austin Instruction Book

Click here to see the 1930 American Austin Instruction Book

1930-1933 American Austin Water Inlet

American Austin Water Inlet 1

Click here to see the 1930-1933 American Austin Water Inlet

A Tuesday sized helping of Bantam Bits

In the midst of building the pictorial list of parts I have mentioned in a few posts,  (click here for progress), I stumbled upon a few parts, trinkets, and pieces of literature I wanted to make sure you saw.

American Bantam Gas Pedal:

Note, this is the correct pedal assembly for a Bantam, however, it may be possible that Series 65 cars have a different length lever.  Please check your application.  Also, this comes with the correct Bantam return spring.

Click here to see the American Bantam Gas Pedal

1934 Austin – 1940 Bantam Oil Pan

Note, this is the higher capacity oil pan used on M series American Austin engines and all Bantam engines.

Click here to see the 1934 Austin – 1940 Bantam Oil Pan

American Austin Radiator Badge

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge

American Austin Pin

American Austin Pin

Click here to see the American Austin Pin

American Bantam Car Corporation Parts Catalog

Interestingly, even in 1949 people were seeking parts to keep these mini-marvels on the roads.

Click here to see the American Bantam Car Corporation Parts Catalog

Literature Antiqued and Laminated to Wooden Plaques

Click here to see the American Bantam Plaque

Click here to see the American Bantam Plaque

Click here to see the American Austin Plaque

American Austin Crate Remnant

American Austin Crate

Click here to see the American Austin Crate Remnant

American Austin and Bantam Leather Belt with Buckle

Bantam Belt Buckle

Click here to see the Austin Bantam Themed Belt

Shop Project: The List

In March of 2016, I blogged about creating a shopping list of sorts with the intention of keeping Austin and Bantam parts out of scrap yards.  About a month later, I had begun to pursue the project, you can read about it here.

the shopping list

I honestly can’t believe that it was over a year ago that I last worked on this project.  Yet, somehow, I have lost track of time and have ended up neglecting something that could be very useful to the hobby.

As most of you already know, the AABC sells an excellent authenticity manual which is something you should consider adding to your collection.  The new edition is supposed to have some added features which my copy does not have, including the spiral binding and some factory drawings.

The purpose of this creation is not to allege authenticity or to step on the toes of the AABC’s manual, but to help create a spotter’s guide to ensure that the hobbyist who buys a basket case can identify what parts in the garage go with the Bantam or something along those lines.  I am hoping to not only include the bits that came with the cars from the factory but oddities which cropped up along the way and reproduction efforts of the past.

I will be posting updates on the blog informing you as to changes that occur.  Your comments, questions, and feedback are welcome and hoped for.  Some of the photos which I use may be sourced from the internet as I don’t have an example of every part to photograph, so please bear with me as I go.  If you would like to contribute, please feel free.

If there is a demand for it at the end, this may make a heck of a coffee table book, or maybe even an App for an Austin or Bantam enthusiast.

It’s time to reclaim eBay!

It’s no secret, I like eBay.  I could go on about how I have enjoyed it for years.  However, if you go on any Automotive blog, forum, or facebook group, you likely see it disparaged in a number of different ways.  Despite other people’s complaints and its allegedly negative effects on car shows, I have loyally defended eBay.

A few months ago, I penned a letter to the CEO of eBay, half knowing it would never be read.  It was an actual letter, ink on fine paper swaddled in a self-adhesive envelope donning a single antique truck themed stamp.  While I expected no reply, I extended a few thoughts on the current state of eBay Motors as it has been abused by certain sellers.

If you are reading this, you likely appreciate Bantams and are well aware that the parts for these cars are very difficult to find on eBay.  Typing in “American Bantam” as your search query will result in thousands of hits.  You may see something like this:

Screenshot (415)

You read that right, 4,943 parts!  The deluge of matches may make you think you can buy every part for your car.  However, this is unfortunately not the case.  Most of these items include a plethora of things including seat belt retainers that go between a bucket seat and a console, bilge pumps, cigarette lighter phone chargers, and OBD II scanners.  Each of these items alleges that it fits American Bantam cars.  This is the result of the eBay listing system allowing a seller to indicate the part fits every make, model, and year.  The result is confounding, actual Bantam parts are buried among this unrelated merchandise.

I have suggested a means where users can easily report unrelated items or the installation of eBay moderators who can make sure people are not abusing the interchange option provided by the website.  Today, I found something so you can also tell eBay that you are fed up with unrelated merchandise hiding the parts you need.

Screenshot (416)

In the circled area of the screenshot above, you can tell eBay what you think.  If you are unhappy with the way in which sellers of buffing pads are abusing the system, let eBay know.  If you are unhappy that the bilge pump will not properly fit your Bantam, let eBay know.

Once you click on the link above, it will take you to this screen:

Screenshot (417)

Let’s work together to make eBay a better marketplace for classic car enthusiasts.  In the mean time, check back here frequently and I will share the items I find with you.  I may not catch them all, but I will try.  Enjoy your Sunday!

It’s October, Are You Ready For Herhsey? Part II

I decided to break this post into a few segments to better sort the eBay offerings.  The previous post highlighted memorabilia, this one focuses on parts.  If parts and collectibles aren’t what you’re after, follow up for part three, the car corral.  That will be up a little later.

The same seller who has the employee badges also is offering a fairly well preserved American Austin badge which appears to have most of the retention clip in tact.

Click here to bid on the American Austin Grille Badge

Presumably from the same collection is a nice Bantam emblem.  It is hard to see if the enameling has any gouges or scratches from the photos, but it definitely seems to have some visible damage to the chrome.  However, most of the enameling on the back of the badge appears to have survived.  This one is already priced higher than the beautiful recreations by Bill Spear.

American Bantam Grille Badge 1

Click here to bid on the original American Bantam Grille Badge (I know I did :D)

However, if you want a badge which will not require restoration, you may want to consider one of these:

bantam-grille-badge-spear

Which can be purchased for $18 (while supplies last) at Wm. Spear Design.

Perhaps you need something of a more mechanical nature.  Then you may wish to consider these Bantam friction shock absorbers.  These are correct for all 1938-1939 Bantams and 1940 commercial Bantams.  You can differentiate the front set up from American Austin shock absorbers from the lack of the star washer on the front side.

American Bantam Shock Absorbers

Click here to bid on the American Bantam Shock Absorbers

Or, if you’re looking for something a little more rusty, a seller (actually me), has listed parts from a 1930 Austin which is being parted out.  Click on “other items” to see more.

American Austin Dash Board

Click here to bid on the American Austin Dash Board

Finally, if you are into toys, here is a very nice Austin hauler set up:

American Austin Car Hauler Toy

Click here to bid on the American Austin Car Hauler Toy