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:
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:
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:
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!