It’s a survivor for sure!

Sometimes you find an old photo online and it captures your imagination.  You see the smiling kid and wonder where he is today.  You see a small suburb and wonder who lives there today.  You see a car and wonder what sort of Toyota it has been reincarnated as.

Last week, I saw the photo below for the first time:

1939 Bantam Roadster TX

The car looks well-appointed, but the nose is off.  You may think it was getting ready for a v8-60 swap, or maybe it was getting ready to become a dragster.

You would have thought that until you saw the next photo I was shown of it.  Here it is, just a couple of years later:

1941 Bantam Roadster Tx 91

Somehow, the car seems a bit sportier, a bit glossier, and the street a little more relaxed looking.  The car looks to have been refreshed and given a new lease on life.  However, the date on the photograph hints that it was taken in 1958.  Despite how good it looks, the question remains, what happened to it in the intervening five decades between then and now?

Would you believe it if I told you it was on the road until 1966 and then carefully stored for decades?

Would you believe that it was back on the road fifteen years ago?

Would you believe that it was put back into storage until not that long ago?

I wouldn’t have either, but here it is in all of its glory:

1941 Bantam Roadster Tx 5

Not only has this car been remarkably preserved, it’s currently for sale.  Will you be the lucky new owner of a survivor Bantam Deluxe Roadster?

Click here to see the listing.

 

 

The Great Bantam Fuel Pump Mystery

It looks like a pile of junk! Broken bits, corrosion, missing essentials, and wrongly described on ebay; this is an easy engine to look past if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. This isn’t a 1934-1935 Austin engine, it’s actually a 1940 American Bantam three main bearing engine; the famous Hillmaster. However, it is a Hillmaster that had a very hard life.

While it appears that nearly every component modified or compromised in some way, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it is a three main bearing engine of which approximately only 1000 were made. If enough people are interested, I can post some comments on the condition of the lot itself so you can have a better idea of what you’re bidding on. However, that isn’t the reason I’m posting this engine. I’m posting it primarily for two reasons.

Firstly, the number 65589 does not appear in the production log. Every other number from 65580-65590 are listed, but this number appears to be entirely absent. Perhaps it was a replacement engine, an industrial engine, mismarked on the log, or even for an export car. There are numerous possibilities.

The second reason this engine is interesting is not only because it has the fuel pump mount opened up, drilled, and tapped but because there is a fuel pump included in the lot. As you probably know, Bantams used a gravity fed fuel system which obviated the need for a fuel pump. However, beginning in 1938 all Bantam crank cases had a provision which was designed to allow a fuel pump to be run and all cam shafts supposedly have a lobe to actuate the pump arm. There have been mentions of fuel pumps in club news letters but never which part was actually used. In recent years, there has been little to no discussion on this matter so the knowledge as to what pump could have been installed has essentially vanished.

Does this information really matter? Probably not. However, if you’re like me and have a couple of engines sitting with gaping holes where fuel pumps can be mounted, you may be interested. If you are building a car which is day one authentic, this probably isn’t too helpful but should still be pretty interesting.

I have a hunch as to what the fuel pump may be and will update you if the hunch is correct.

Click here to see the American Bantam 3 main bearing engine

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:

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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.