Six of one, half dozen of another:

Yesterday, a seller listed a 1939 Bantam Roadster on ebay.  I don’t usually blog about vehicles listed on ebay which are not advertised on this site, but I am making an exception for this car.  Given the changing nature of the classic car market, I think this car presents a very unique opportunity to write about.

The subject of this post:

American Bantam Roadster NY 32

Click here to see the 1939 Bantam Roadster on ebay.

As of this morning, the car is up to $9,800 (the bidding has dropped to $3,716.66) and the reserve has not yet been met.  Overall, this is a nice car.  It looks like an older restoration, but we don’t know too much about what has been done to it.  We don’t know if the engine was rebuilt, how it was rebuilt, how it was maintained, what was done to the brakes, or really anything.  It’s a pretty car, in my opinion, but without getting an up close look at it, it may just be a very photogenic classic.

Having been in this situation recently, I can say, that buying an older restoration can be similar to buying a pig in a poke.  You don’t know really much about the car other than what you can see at the surface level.  You hope that you can change the fluids, put some gas in, and enjoy.  However, that is not a guarantee.

I have no idea what the reserve is, but I do know that restored Bantams don’t usually perform as well on ebay as they do at live auctions, Bantam specific publications, or in private sales at car shows.  Now, I’m sure you know that I like ebay, but it’s just not the best place to market one of these fantastic small cars.  So, let’s take the price out of consideration.

Now, for the purposes of exposition is a 1939 Bantam Roadster project car:


1939 Bantam Roadster – NY

Finding an original car awaiting a restoration is a fairly difficult these days.  A car such as the one above will definitely need metal work, paint, chrome, and all of the other usual accoutrements of restoration; however you would have complete control over every aspect of the process and you would be sure of the quality of the vehicle you are driving.  Your own hands could bring it to a level of excellence which it likely hasn’t seen since 1939.  Just imagine what you could do with a project car like this.

The complete project offers its own obvious set of challenges where as the older restoration is a little more covert about what it may offer its next owner.  I used to think I was only interested in a complete project of which I could control every aspect from the ground up.  However, sometimes we don’t have enough time to do that and it’s worth taking a chance on a good looking car which is closer to being a driver; just to get on the road.  Either way, you shouldn’t get your hopes up and you should make sure you are prepared to spend a little extra money in the case you need to tend to something like new brake cables or a wiring harness.

All things considered, which would you prefer; an older restoration to enjoy as is or a complete project which you can nurture into a Roy Evans award winner?  Then again, who am I kidding, these cars are small, so why should you need to choose.  Get one to enjoy and another to build!

Also, we’ll be taking a short break from the Shop Project for a week or so, but stop back soon to see our progress.


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