Building a Better Bantam: Lynn James’ Rooster Mascot

If you’ve been involved with American Austins and Bantams long enough, the name Lynn James should at least sound familiar.  There are many great qualities that you probably associate with his name and his work.  He is a man who has an eye for detail and one who pays careful attention to it in his craftsmanship.  Over the years he has reproduced numerous impossible to find parts for Austins and Bantams including gaskets, jacks, intake manifolds, steering wheels, fender skirt trim, and many others.  His latest endeavor was introduced publicly in 2014 on the Austin Bantam Society Facebook group.

One member of the group posted a link to an eBay auction for an older reproduction rooster cap.  In reply, Lynn posted a very interesting series of photos, starting with this one:  American Austin Rooster Radiator Cap Original

This satin finished rooster cap was an NOS unit which Lynn was lucky enough to come across.  If you look carefully, you can see the original casting flash on the parting line of the piece and the fantastic detail of an original.  As earlier reproductions lack the fantastic detail of the originals and suffer from small discrepancies, Lynn sought to overcome these issues to deliver the finest rooster cap in over 80 years.

American Austin Rooster Radiator Cap Mold

Putting his mold making skills to the test, he began the process of creating a three piece mold to capture the entire piece, including the manufacturer identification information on the bottom.  This mold was used to create a wax copy of the rooster for the purposes of casting the caps in the future.

American Austin Rooster Radiator Cap Wax Mold

The red wax copy was enough to impress most of us on the group and keep us waiting for superb reproductions to be available.

This week, Lynn unveiled this “polished brass” piece which is the magnificent culmination of his efforts:

While this unit was not made from the mold or wax casting shown above, Lynn guided the foundry in their crafting of this modern reproduction.  In his listing, he has said the cap is ready for you to take to the plater of your choice to have finished.  He has modestly said that they are not perfect, but you should check out the photos above and his listing to judge for yourself.

Click here to see Lynn’s magnificent American Austin Reproduction Rooster Cap

Friday morning serving of unobtanium.

Do you have an American Austin?  Then these are the parts you need to detail it to perfection!

American Austin Hub Caps

A beautifully restored set of Austin hub caps has found its way onto eBay.  For the price, buying them is almost thievery.  The man who restored these spares no effort on his quest for perfection.

Click here to see these amazing American Austin Hub Caps

Or you could buy an original hub cap to straighten and polish:

Click here to see the American Austin Restorable Hub Cap

American Austin Reproduction Rooster Cap

There will, hopefully, be an entry in our Building a Better Bantam series on this cap very soon.  However, I will say this is the reproduction the hobby has been waiting for.  If you want a cap, you should probably buy this one.

Click here to see Lynn’s magnificent American Austin Reproduction Rooster Cap

1930-1935 American Austin Bantam original Window handles

Having had a 1930 American Austin recently, I learned that these handles are very difficult to find.  Unlike Bantam handles which adequate substitutes can be found, Austin handles are usually destroyed or missing.  Interestingly, they were used on Peerless and Willys cars of the same vintage, yet they never seem to come up for sale on eBay.

Click here to see the 1930-1935 American Austin Bantam original Window handles

The seller has stated that they are for 1934-35 cars as well, but some recent photos of two barn find cars make me wonder if Austin began using Bantam style handles at the end of its production run.

Click here to see the great Austin project which dons Bantam handles.

American Austin Rechromed Bumper

Correct bumpers and spacers are difficult to find.  I don’t have a good chrome plater, yet, so to me this could be a great find.

 

Click here to see the American Austin Bumper

Case study in Bantam advertising

As you likely already know, here at EverythingBantam.com (TrustInRust.com) we offer multiple services for the Austin and Bantam enthusiast inside of us all.  Among these services are the advertisement of vehicles for sale in the Virtual Showroom and the curation of a bimonthly Lead Sheet.  The point of these services is to make sure that the people who are in search of a car have an avenue for making their dreams a reality.

Generally, I only include cars listed on eBay on the Lead Sheet and do not place them on the home page.  However, I am making a rare exception this morning as a case study in the efficacy of advertising a Bantam on eBay.

On March 28, 2018, the following car was listed on eBay in the category of Salvage Parts Cars:

Bantam Roadster For Sale NH 6

Click here to see the 1939 Bantam Roadster
Click here to see the third relisting: 1939 American Bantam Relist

The listing offers only a buy it now, and appears to either be of a 30 day duration or of the good until cancelled variety.  The seller is asking $12,000 for the car and has not offered a make offer option on it.  The entirety of the description reads:

“This car is made in America no rot four-cylinder engine 20 Horse power standard does 50 miles an hour good restoration project Motor transmission rear end 100% local pick up as is”

Here are the rest of the photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When publishing advertisements here, I work with the seller to describe their car in detail so the car is appropriately attractive to potential buyers, more easily found through search engine optimization, and so an interested party may be more confident in their potential purchase.  For buyers looking for help in finding a car, we also offer a locating service which helps them find what they are looking for and includes advice in appraising the vehicles being considered.

This roadster looks to be quite complete and in decent shape.  It appears that it has the some of the top bows, part of the original jack, a full set of trim rings, the proper seat, a correct tail light, correct headlights, and other important parts.  At $12,000, this car is a crap shoot, it could provide a great numbers matching car that is complete and in decent enough shape to make an easy restoration, or it is a crap shoot with a seized engine (or worse yet one with a broken crank), shoddy body work under its newer paint, and no papers.  As it is, we just don’t know what the true nature of this car is.

A similar project 1939 Bantam Roadster (one of our own cars) has been listed on eBay in the same category as an experiment.  That car has been listed since early 2017 and after spending some time at the top of the “best match” search results, it quickly faded into an abyss of irrelevant parts ads.  Now, you won’t find that car unless you are specifically looking for it.  Any interest which that car received was in the beginning, appeared to primarily come from people interested in hot rodding it, and any offers were well below reasonable.  I am a huge fan of eBay, but I’ll still not convinced that it is a good place to sell a Bantam.

I see a lot of potential in this pink roadster (although it doesn’t have the curb appeal of the car I wrote about here).  I’m going to watch this car and report back occasionally to update you on its progress in the listing.  I hope the seller is successful and it finds the good home which it deserves.

Click here to see the 1939 Bantam Roadster

4/9/2018 Update:  This car has been relisted two times already.  I didn’t pay much attention to the first relisting, but the second relisting has placed the car for sale as a vehicle and the price has been lowered to $11,800.  Although an American Bantam, the car has been listed in the “Austin”.  It’ll be interesting to see if the seller has any better luck in the 7 day sale format.

The paradox of choice.

Listed as a 1940 Roadster, a seller in Kansas City, MO has offered up a lovely two toned vehicle which I know I will be watching.  Before I get a bit too verbose, here is the car:

American bantam roadster KCMO 4

Click here to see listing for the: American Bantam Roadster

There is something about this car that I like.  It’s certainly not very authentic, but I like it.  It has the worn in look of a favorite pair of shoes.  You could slip right into it and hopefully putter off with minimal effort.   Beside the fact that the car is too small to probably get door dinged in a parking lot, you still wouldn’t worry about them too much in this car, even if you had to.

As I mentioned, the seller has listed it as a 1940, but that likely is not accurate.  Then again, does accuracy really change the way the wind feels in your face or the feeling of your mouth tightening into a smile?

Some things to note:

  • Buyer states the vin number is 60134, which would indicate a 60 series 1938 American Bantam and the car has numerous details from an early car
  • Two main bearing engine which appears to have the early 1938 aluminum head with separate water outlet

 

If you are looking for something a bit more authentic, there is always this car:

1938 American Bantam Roadster st louis 7

Click here to see this: 1938 American Bantam Roadster

Or if you’re looking to bring an original car back from the brink, this may be just the thing for you:

00P0P_hXlMuCYaRFc_600x450

Click here to see the 1939 American Bantam Roadster

The last of the three cars above is my own project.  However I would probably want to get into something like the top car to start with rather than a complete project.  The best way to do it is to buy the driver and restore the project as you see fit.

It’s funny, when I first started my Bantam journey, there were very few options available.  Today, you have three examples in varying condition on ebay alone.  There are multiple for sale through this website, and scores for sale on the current Everything Bantam Lead Sheet.  If you’re looking for a car, this is a pretty good time to be looking.

 

 

Black Friday Austin Bantam Sale?

If you are ready to give your credit cards a work out this week, here is a good place to start!

American Austin Instruction Manual

American Austin Instruction Manual

Click here to see the American Austin Instruction Manual Sold for 30.00

1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker

1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker

Click here to see the 1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker Sold for 15.00

American Austin Radiator Badge

American Austin Radiator Badge

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge Sold for 58.00

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge Sold for 129.99

America Austin Bantam Tow Truck & Tractor photos

austin tow truck and tractor 1

Click here to see the America Austin Bantam Tow Truck & Tractor photos Sold for 23.51

America Austin or Bantam Wrist Pins

Click here to see the America Austin or Bantam Wrist Pins

American Austin Key Fob/ trinket

American Austin Badge Fob 3

Click here to see the American Austin Badge Fob  Sold for 33.00

American Bantam Clutch Plate

American Bantam Clutch Plate

Click here to see the American Bantam Clutch Plate Sold for 19.99