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:
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