“Some have started with less,” read the first post in my news feed on Facebook this morning. This was a post by a member of the Austin Bantam Society. This post was an eloquent reminder that there are many beautiful cars on the road today which were once hulks; piles of parts built into fine vehicles with hard work, dedication, and a little money.
The car that inspired the comment this morning was this roadster:
Surely it isn’t much to look at right now, but close your eyes and imagine what this car could be. There is enough left of it that it would be fairly easy for someone with time and patience to build it into their dream car. It is also within reach for many more to start with a car like this than one which needs only paint and tires; even though it may take years of effort to get it on the road. For some, it isn’t owning the car or driving it that is appealing, but the puzzle of putting together each of the refined pieces.
For me, my present project essentially began as this:
Finding this frame with some suspension and running gear on craigslist seemed like a home run when I found it. I first thought I would use it as underpinnings for an Austin Roadster I was eyeing, however I didn’t realize at the time it wasn’t right for that car. Starting with these bare bones in 2013 has let me become vastly more familiar with the workings of these cars than I ever could have imagined.
After pursuing a number of cars which fell through, I decided that I would give this frame new life as the car of my dreams. I have been documenting the pursuit of this project for about two years on the H.A.M.B. however, it is time to start sharing it here. I hope I can inspire you to recognize that the unrestored cars out there may become so much more than just parts cars if you are armed with dreams and tenacity.
The Authenticity Manual cautions: “Many of the remaining examples of Austin or Bantam, we find today, should be regarded as parts cars.” There are cars that still exist which have been ravaged by time and neglect, but do not let that impede you from trying to rescue one. Certain parts can be very difficult to obtain, but with the right connections you may be able to find substitutes or artisans able to assist with reproductions.