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

Is your Bantam in need of a new heart?

$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:

  1. 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).
  2. Original Bantam rod bolts are notoriously weak, we do not see a bill of materials indicating what was used.
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. The engine does not appear to have any of its openings sealed.
Screenshot (74)

This is what a NEW or never run rebuilt Brennan IMP looked like in the exhaust ports after laying dormant for years.

 

 

 

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

 

A matter of timing

Here is stock number 666 of the Perfection Gear Co. – Chicago:

american austin timing gear 3

It looks vaguely familiar, right?  However, there is something that has you scratching your head.  It has 30 teeth and looks like something you’ve definitely seen before, the cam gear of an American Austin engine.

american austin timing gear

It does look quite familiar, however, it isn’t a cast iron piece, but is actually a fiber gear. Something which, to my knowledge, did not come on an Austin from the factory.  Fiber gears were known for their silent running characteristics.  When when properly made (and stored) they can supposedly live a long and healthy life in an engine.  However, they do have a reputation for silently stripping and eventually letting go.

Personally, I don’t think I would run a fiber gear in my Austin and risk plugging up the small oil passages with fiber gunk.  However, the box is cool and the part is probably something you wont find again.

If you are considering buying this for your car, please note that Austins and Bantams used a variety of different timing gears.  You should check your application before taking the plunge.

Click here to see the Austin Fiber Timing Gear

For more reading on fiber gears check these links out:

Model T Forum

Ford Barn

Ford Garage (Check out that Bill Stipe gear.)

American Austin Reproduction Radiator Cap

The other day, I received an email from a person who had what he believed to be an American Austin radiator cap.  We exchanged a few messages and the owner sent me a few photos.  It’s always nice to chat with people regarding parts they have, helping them identify them, and ultimately helping them to find a good home for what ever they have.  If you have any parts or cars that you are looking to identify and pass along to a new home, feel free to contact us.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of American Austin rooster cap reproductions, click here.  The seller shared a photo with me of the bottom, indicating that it does not have any of the original Stant manufacturing information.  The lack of lettering and the plethora of detail leads me to believe this is one of the caps made by Hal Thompson, which I believe could have also been sold by New Castle.  This cap is likely not made from stainless, but is chrome plating over some other non-ferrous metal.

American Austin Radiator Cap

Having had a busy couple of days, I did not get a chance to get this identifying information to the seller before he listed it; but I did just get it to him.

With a starting bid of $50.00, this could end up being a tremendous bargain.  I picked one of these up a year or so ago after a lot of hunting and am likely going to use it on my 33 Austin.  At the price, why not cast a bid?

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Cap

1931 American Austin Roadster

DSCN6879

She’s a beautiful car isn’t she.  Absolutely gorgeous and tastefully restored too.  If you’re looking for a well preserved restoration, this may be just the car you are looking for.  The seller restored the car a few years ago, but has only put about 100 miles on the car since then.

For more information click here.  If you follow the link, you’ll learn more about the car for sale and you can view a plethora of photos of all of the fine details featured on this restoration.