In 1940, Bantam was nearing the end of its run, but the factory kept improving the cars until the very end. You would think the factory would have just cranked out cars with whatever parts they had left, but no; that wasn’t the Bantam way. There is a list of improvements throughout the cars which range from the braking system to the clutch lining mounting. Some of the 1940 drawings, at least the early ones still exist, but many of the later ones appear to have vanished. Many of these improved components are hidden safely from the environment by aluminum or steel casings, but some were exposed to heat, salt, water, and inexperienced mechanics; so some can be verified by observing original components while other original bits have been entirely lost.
For over a year, I have been trying to pursue the final improvement to the Bantam exhaust system exclusive to late 65 series cars, a tail pipe that exited out of the side of the car ahead the rear rear wheel. (See AABC Authenticity Manual, at section 249 (2nd Ed.)). While this may sound exotic and make you think of mid-sixties Corvettes, this setup was not executed nearly as suggestively. While the Authenticity Manual describes the pipe, it has been very difficult finding out the exact shape of the pipe as well as the exhaust hanger. Below is a photo from the internet of a nicely done 1940 Riviera showing off its new looking side exit exhaust.
There is a company in Michigan, Waldron’s Exhaust, which sells a stainless steel American Bantam (and presumptively Austin) exhaust system. However, their setup features slightly larger tubing than the original and only exits at the rear of the car. This is fantastic news for a majority of Bantam owners, but what about those of us working on the latest and greatest Bantams?
Well, late last week, this crate of wonders came in:
While not quite the lost ark from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc, this large crate was chock full of parts from a late 1940 Bantam Deluxe Coupe. I had a decent idea of some of the other parts which were supposed to be inside, but after ferociously unpacking it I came across this pleasant surprise:
It looks like a rusted piece of junk but it is an original side exit tailpipe and hanger from a 53,000 mile original 1940 Bantam coupe which was parked in the 50’s. Perhaps information on this unit is out there, but I wasn’t able to find it. So far as I know, this is one of a very few original tail pipes left.
So what does this mean? Does it mean we will suddenly start reproducing these bits? Not necessarily. There are quite a few other reproduction efforts ahead of this one, however it will be cataloged and preserved to ensure that other enthusiasts have access to the information necessary to pursue economy car perfection. If you are restoring a 1940 Bantam and need information regarding this unit, feel free to contact us to see how we can help. This is another way in which we hope to help you build a better Bantam.
I bet you’re wondering what else was in that crate…