$4,000 is a lot of money, there is no question about that. So when confronted with a price tag calling for that much money, it’s best to be an intelligent buyer. This engine has been listed for auction by a seller who has been listing a lot of Bantam and Austin parts over the past few months. This engine is probably one of the greatest finds in the collection because of the potential it may offer.
I don’t have an awful lot to say about this engine, as people have their different views on rebuilt engines and engines that are rebuilt but lay dormant. While some may recommend tearing it down to go through the engine, others may be willing to run it as is. If you’re willing to accept this as being equal to a modern rebuild where all of the parts have been wet magnafluxed, rebabitted, and assembled with the highest quality materials; this could be a bargain.
In theory, I believe it should be torn down and inspected before being run; but then again I am usually a “get the ether and a jumper pack” kind of guy because I just want to hear the engine come to life (which is a terrible idea). I’ll let you be the judge, but I’ll give you a few things to consider:
- In the 1980’s, parts may have not been magnafluxed or at least not wet magnafluxed (which is a far superior method of crack detection).
- Original Bantam rod bolts are notoriously weak, we do not see a bill of materials indicating what was used.
- New main bearings were cited in the ad. Does that mean the rebuilder used NOS front and rear bearing retainers with their original poured babbit, were original retainers rebabbitted, or were some sort of inserts used?
- We don’t know if the new rods were the NOS 38 style rods which were available with original babbit or something else. In any event, how were they modified to accommodate the undersized crankshaft?
- The engine does not appear to have any of its openings sealed.
This engine could be great or it could be a very expensive (but pretty) collection of parts.
What are your thoughts? (A few people have already chimed in and have inspired some additions to this post).
Click here to see the American Bantam Engine