Small items for a Sunday night.

A lot of people who sell things frequently on eBay have strategies for maximizing the value of their item.  One such strategy call for listing items on Sunday evenings or to list them so that the end on Sunday evenings.  The theory behind this is that you have a greater chance of catching the attention of buyers who are more likely home and you have a better chance that they may engage in a late auction bidding war.  Whatever the merit of these ideas, it may behoove you to spend a little time on ebay on Sunday nights to see what is being listed or what is ending.

Your weekend wrap up includes:

1995-2017 AABC and ABS club magazines

Bantam Club magazines

There are a few ways to get these news letters, and they generally require you to join each club.  This seller is making his collection available for someone looking into whether the clubs are right for them.  the 1995-2017 period was very fertile for tech articles and historical pieces.

Click here to see the Club magazines

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The paradox of choice.

Listed as a 1940 Roadster, a seller in Kansas City, MO has offered up a lovely two toned vehicle which I know I will be watching.  Before I get a bit too verbose, here is the car:

American bantam roadster KCMO 4

Click here to see listing for the: American Bantam Roadster

There is something about this car that I like.  It’s certainly not very authentic, but I like it.  It has the worn in look of a favorite pair of shoes.  You could slip right into it and hopefully putter off with minimal effort.   Beside the fact that the car is too small to probably get door dinged in a parking lot, you still wouldn’t worry about them too much in this car, even if you had to.

As I mentioned, the seller has listed it as a 1940, but that likely is not accurate.  Then again, does accuracy really change the way the wind feels in your face or the feeling of your mouth tightening into a smile?

Some things to note:

  • Buyer states the vin number is 60134, which would indicate a 60 series 1938 American Bantam and the car has numerous details from an early car
  • Two main bearing engine which appears to have the early 1938 aluminum head with separate water outlet

 

If you are looking for something a bit more authentic, there is always this car:

1938 American Bantam Roadster st louis 7

Click here to see this: 1938 American Bantam Roadster

Or if you’re looking to bring an original car back from the brink, this may be just the thing for you:

00P0P_hXlMuCYaRFc_600x450

Click here to see the 1939 American Bantam Roadster

The last of the three cars above is my own project.  However I would probably want to get into something like the top car to start with rather than a complete project.  The best way to do it is to buy the driver and restore the project as you see fit.

It’s funny, when I first started my Bantam journey, there were very few options available.  Today, you have three examples in varying condition on ebay alone.  There are multiple for sale through this website, and scores for sale on the current Everything Bantam Lead Sheet.  If you’re looking for a car, this is a pretty good time to be looking.

 

 

Bantam Headlights, read on at your wallet’s peril.

Headlights for Bantams can be a sore subject if you are trying to build a perfect Bantam and you don’t have a pair.  The original headlights were perfectly proportioned for the small cars and have a very nice look when properly put together.  With spring loaded lenses which are retained by carefully aligned notches and outlined with crisp stainless trim, a nice Bantam headlight is quite elegant.

Last night, an eBay seller who has been progressively listing a large collection of Bantam parts listed a pair of Bantam headlights onto ebay.  Warning, they are not cheap and you should probably demand better photos before bidding.

Here are some photos which the seller has provided:

American Bantam Headlights 1

Here are some additional photos:

 

Last April, I had the chance to hold these headlights in my own hands.  I can say that they were original seeming steel headlight buckets, but they will require work to be concours correct.  While I didn’t commit their condition to my memory, I do remember advising the seller that these assemblies have visible internal rust damage and have had incorrect repairs done to the assembly.  With the rings painted over, it’s difficult to discern what the condition of the rings actually is.

Regarding the ring, it is not a continuous piece, there should be a small gap of approximately 1/4″ at the bottom of the headlight.  Like this:

The purpose of this gap is to accommodate the lens indexing nub which causes the focusing lines to be arranged appropriately.  Although the above bucket does not illustrate the feature, the bucket is likewise supposed to be notched to accommodate the indexing nub.  If you don’t have the indexing reliefs, your lenses will not fit properly in the bucket.  The photos posted by the seller show headlights which have been likely repaired at the bottom and the indexing mechanism has not been retained.

Bantam headlights were built in three configurations. One configuration was an index notch axially aligned with the mounting stud, these were used on 1939-1940 passenger cars.  The other configuration called for a left and a right headlight where the notch was rotated approximately 30 degrees from the mounting bolt, depending on whether it was a left or right unit.  The second configuration was used on all other American Bantams.

If I were going to spend that kind of money on headlight buckets, I would demand very detailed photos of the perimeter of the opening (inside and out) and photos with the reflectors removed.  From my understanding, many Bantam headlights ended up in trash bins because they were prone to rotting out.  I would want to make sure that these are as pristine as possible before investing in them.

By the way, I’m not trying to dissuade you from buying these, but I want to make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Click here to see the American Bantam Headlights

Folk Art Friday & King Pins

Penciled in darkly on the upper right hand corner of a hand drawn advertising proof is the mark Wm. E. Lickfield 5/37.  It’s upfront in its truth, but similarly cryptic as it reveals very little to me.  On it’s face, this line tells us both the name of the artist and when he marked this creation.  However, nearly 81 years later, the name and the date are not very enlightening; not even with a google search.   Before I get any further, allow me to share with you an interesting eBay find:

Alternative Bantam Advertisement 1

As you probably already know, 1935-1937 was a great time of flux for the American Bantam Car Co.  The company introduced its cars prematurely for 1937 with drawing of vehicles that were never built.  If I recall correctly, that brochure featured the sketchings of a former Ford designer who imparted a fairly dated look onto the nimble economy cars. The cars were subsequently redesigned by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky and the earliest date of completion of a Bantam vehicle was on December 28, 1937.

Seven months prior to the completion of the first American Bantam it seems as though someone sketched out this advertisement.  Just a few thoughts, in May of 1937, it isn’t clear that the design for the Bantam was close to finalized let alone many other details of the car.  This may be lend an insight into the fact that the illustration is fairly generic, that the few words on the ad are also quite generic, and that the logo was heavily based upon the Union Pacific Railroad symbol.

union-pacific-herald.jpg

You could spend a bit of time picking out all of the differences and eccentricities that this sketch exhibits, but look closely at the words American Bantam.  Does that font look familiar?  Sure it isn’t slanted 15 degrees to the right, but look at how rounded those A’s are.  We may be looking at the origin of the font which came to define our beloved brand.

backfilled bantam emblems 2

If you search the name William E. Lickfield, you will find two results for the 20th century.  One gentleman lived in Camden, New Jersey and the other appears to have had a presence in Philadelphia, PA.  The Lickfield from Philadelphia has a few entries in history related to typefaces, typesetting, and type design.  Perhaps this advertisement was done as a requirement for a job application? Whatever its motivation, it is clear that this artist was very skilled with type design.

The eBay listing indicates that the item is located in Bristol, PA which isn’t too far from Philadelphia.  The ad states that Mr. Lickfield worked at American Bantam.  While I don’t have any other information to offer in substantiating that claim, I think this piece is fascinating.  If you are interested in the history of the American Bantam Car Co., perhaps you need to add this to your collection.  Without more than an eBay description, it is difficult to really know the provenance of this piece, but it is, nevertheless, cool.

Click here to see the listing: Bantam Advertisement

Also, if you’re not looking for a collectible at this time, but you want to tighten up your loose Bantam spindles, perhaps you may be interested in a pair of king pins.

Bantam king pins.jpg

Click here to see the listing Bantam king pinsSold for 35.88

 

Have a great weekend!

American Bantam Tool Kit

If you have your Authenticity Manual handy, go to section 385.  If you don’t have an Authenticity Manual, you may want to get one by clicking here.  What you’ll find in section 385 is a detailed description of the took kit which came with each Bantam.  These kits came with one of two bumper jacks made from ACME threaded rod, a smooth black vinyl pouch, pliers, an imitation rosewood wood handled screwdriver, and a postcard to mail to the factory.  Going through the manual, you will also find that Bantams left the factory with a hand crank / lug wrench.  These cranks may have been used frequently as the access hole in most unrestored grilles seem to be in very poor condition.

American Bantam Took Kit 5

The last time a jack was on ebay was in May of 2016, you can see that listing by clicking here.  That jack, unlike the one in this listing, was a reproduction made by Lynn James.  Like all of his work, the jacks he made were meticulously faithful copies of the originals in every respect and were quite beautiful.  Unfortunately, he sold his last jack a few years ago.  If you have been keeping up with it, I have been working on a shopping list list of sorts which will, include details such as reproduction parts which have been made for these cars.  You can see some of the lists in progress here.  (Please note, the lists currently posted are drafts.  I am still working on finding photos and adding information.  If you see anything that requires correction, please let me know.)

The seller has detailed the origins of each of the tools included in the kit, so it is worth taking a read, even if you aren’t currently in the market for this item.

American Bantam Took Kit 1

Click here to see the American Bantam Took KitSold for 700 plus shipping.

Emblem Reproduction – Are you interested?

Hollywoods, if you’ve been reading for a while, you probably know that I have an affinity for these Alex Tremulis designed drop tops.  Beyond their numerous apparent differences, they feature new for 1940 Bantam badges.

1940 American Bantam Hollywood.JPG

In the photo above of a nicely restored Convertible Coupe you can see the faint Bantam signature at the top rear corner of the hood side.  According to the Authenticity manual (See pg. 40 at Section 301), these were only used as embellishment on Deluxe models and only on the hood sides.  However, these emblems seem to have found their way on numerous Hollywood/Convertible Coupe rear decks as you can see in the photo below.

1940 Bantam Hollywood Rear

If you go through the internet, you can find numerous photos of these badges on a plethora of cars including an original/as-found 1940 pickup, original non-deluxe coupes, speedsters, Rivieras, and even the BRC pilot car.  I am a huge believer in the Authenticity Manual, but I also recognize that Bantam worked with what they had and there may still be some undocumented nuances to learn.  Interestingly, someone recently posed the idea that some 1940 Grille shells do not have holes for the circular Bantam badge because the factory may have felt a switch to the newer badges obviated their presence.

Here is an up close photo of the front of these badges:

backfilled bantam emblems 2

Stamped from thin brass, chrome plated, and backfilled with the body color of the car, they each are stunning in their own way and compliment the cars nicely.  However, the thin material which they were made from was easily damaged and their thin coat of plating was easily rubbed thin.  Below you can see a photo of the back side of one of the badges, illustrating the thin nature of the piece.  It isn’t uncommon to see these bent or otherwise distorted.Bantam badge clip 1

It can be difficult to find these badges and nearly impossible to find them in perfect condition.  I have paid more than I care to admit for a pair of these and have likewise missed out on a bargain pair which was improperly labeled on ebay.  The problem is that even after you have bought these, you often need to have the reconditioned, and there is always the chance that your plater may damage the thin brass.

A few people have inquired with me about these after I sold off my last spare pair, and disappointingly, I had to turn these other people away.  So, over the past few weeks, I have been pursuing the reproduction of these emblems to help make sure other restorers can have their cars complete and bedazzled with all of their tastefully sparse trim.  At the start of the New Year (2018 if you’re reading this years from now), I am planning to do a small run of these.  They will be solid brass parts that will be chromed and will feature two threaded studs that will be located in the original positions.  They will look original from the front, but will be far more substantial so that they will survive test fitting, removal, reinstallation, and years of proud display.

I am planning on having short run of a few made.  Before I place the order I am looking to see how many of you are interested in these.  They should be around $60 each.

Are you in?

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!

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 Sold for 27.50

American Austin Oil Pressure Gauge

American Austin Oil Gauge 1

Click here to see the American Austin Oil Pressure Gauge Sold for 29.00

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 generally used very different window frames.

 

Click here to see the American Bantam Roadster Top Rear WindowSold for 50.00

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 Sold for 30.00

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 Sold for 15.00

American Austin Radiator Badge

American Austin Radiator Badge

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge Sold for 58.00

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge Sold for 129.99

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 Sold for 23.51

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  Sold for 33.00

American Bantam Clutch Plate

American Bantam Clutch Plate

Click here to see the American Bantam Clutch Plate Sold for 19.99