Mystery in plain sight- Round Bed Lamps

I don’t have a copy of the newly updated version of the American Austin Bantam Club’s Authenticity manual.  So, perhaps I’m writing this a bit prematurely, but I don’t believe this matter has been covered.  Should you have an updated version of the manual and this subject is covered, please let me know.

If you have been to the Everything Bantam facebook page, you have likely seen a photo of a man and his faithful pet Bantam pickup truck.  I’ve been staring past this photo for months and have only now come to realize a small detail which has thus far eluded me.  Take a look at the photos below and see if you can spot it.  Open the photos and look hard.

Did you spot it?  There on the drivers side rear corner, this car has what looks to be a Lux style taillight.  The same sort of assembly which was found on Bantam Coupes, Hollywoods, Rivieras, and Speedsters.  From past assumptions, I was under the belief that all Bantam commercial truck supposedly had the NACO style taillights.  Every one restored truck appears to have been given this treatment.  In fact, I believe my parts list also supports the usage of the NACO on round bed pickups.

Here are some photos of Bantam round bed pickup trucks sporting NACO taillights or similar variations.  They don’t look incredibly wrong, and these were definitely used on Panel trucks, Roadsters, and square bed pickups.  So, arguments can be made that these lamps are correct.   In fact, they look quite comfortable one each of these cars.

You may say to yourself, ‘Hey, that’s just a photo of one truck.  Maybe the guy could only get that assembly from a Bantam dealer?’  Your admonition may be right.  However, take a look at this factory photo:

Factory photoClick here to find a copy of the above factory photo for sale: 1940 Round Bed Pickup

That little round glass orb has made an appearance, indicating that the truck may in fact have a Lux style tail lamp.  The car also has an earlier style hood ornament which makes you wonder exactly when this car came to be.  Again you may hesitate to take this photo as meaning much because there are many factory photos that do not represent cars as they actually came from the factory.  Again, you would be justified.

So, going back through some photos I found a photo of the original bed from a pickup truck which had sat unmolested after one of the wrist pins scored one of the cylinder bores in about 1958.  Sure the truck had 7 coats of paint, but it was remarkably original.  Under all of the layers of paint you can see the original steel as it likely left the factory.  Here is a photo of the original bed in its glory:

1940 Bantam Pickup Truck Bed

The top and bottom mounting holes around the large central hole are identical to the ones used by Lux lamps in the above mentioned cars.

I was only able to dig up two photos of round back pickups with Lux style lamps, one is the convertible pickup (a dream car sort of thing) which was built by a club member in Florida and another is a 1940 pickup restored by a club member on the West Coast.

Now, I’m not saying that one lamp is right and another is wrong, but I like the look of the Lux lamp and it may be nice knowing you have some options in restoring your car.  This also may give you some wiggle room when restoring your car or some fodder for thought as you look over your next car.   This also reminds me that I need to order my new copy of the Authenticity Manual to see what it says on this topic.

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