An update on the shopping list

I am very thankful for the kind words I have gotten from many of you regarding the shopping list I have been putting together over the past year.  If you haven’t looked, you can find my entries on Front End Parts, the Fuel System, and Interiors.  Each of these includes a lot of information and photos to help you figure out what you have and what you need.  In a few cases, these lists have already been helpful for saving some parts which would have otherwise been lost.

Work on the lists has stagnated a bit as I am struggling with space for all of these photos.  Currently this website has used 70% of all of the space allotted to me by word press and my computer is nearly full as well.  So, I am working on alternative storage and hosting means which will result in a better experience for you in the future.  As the weather is still nice, I’ll probably be putting off this project until it gets cold again.  After all, we need to make the most of our time.

Thank you for your support and your patience.  I think we’ll both be happy with the end result.

This morning on eBay a few front end trim pieces came up:

1940 Bantam hood side badge

NOS Bantam Badge Emblem 1

If you can hang on a few weeks, we should have new units available with new chrome and sturdier construction.

Click here to see the NOS American Bantam Badge

1938-1939 American Bantam Hood Ornament

1938 American Bantam Hood Ornament 1

For the asking price, it would be nice if the seller included photos which we could enlarge.  It’s difficult to see the condition of the chrome in the photos.  On another note, I can’t wait to see the new reproductions of these which you’ll hear more about in an upcoming feature of a Bantam club member’s recent efforts.

Click here to see the American Bantam Hood Ornament

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Pacific Pumper, Thank You Judees1!

If you have been following this site for a while, you probably already know that I have a bit of an affinity for the Brennan I.M.P. engine.  If you’re new to the site, click on the link provided in the previous sentence and you will see why I find Brennans fascinating.  Really, they were initially just marine conversions of Bantam engines which grew to something more fascinating in their production run which lasted thirty years after Bantam vehicle production ceased.  However, during Bantam’s vehicle production, there were several mentions of other industrial engines being sold to outside contractors; Brennan Motor Manufacturing Company being one and another being Pacific Marine Supply Company.

While the IMP was Brennan’s power unit, Pacific Marine offered something called the Pacific Pumper.  I’ve heard about these in the past but have never really seen one or learned more than the fact that such apparatuses were built.  As best as I could ascertain, a Pacific Pumper was a conversion of an American Austin or Bantam engine into a pump of sorts.  A few weeks ago, Greg shared a photo of a Pacific Pumper crankcase with me which sent me  on a googling spree.  In all of my searching, I could only find photos of Austin engine based Pumpers.

As you already know, it’s always good to stock up on Austin and Bantam parts, so I saved a search on ebay for Pacific Pumpers.  For weeks, I have been getting emails from ebay about non-Austin or Bantam Pacific Pumper engines.  However, on Tuesday, I got a message about an auction which had unfortunately already ended.  In the collection of photos was something new and amazing to me.  Pacific Marine adapted a Series 65 style three main bearing engine to a pumping apparatus.  I had no idea that they did such a thing.  Here is the photo from the listing that really caught my eye:

Pacific Pumper 95

How many were built and where they ended up may remain a mystery, but at least one was built.  Now you and I have more reason to scour the nation for these pumpers.

I missed out on the auction but reached out to the seller who graciously shared some better quality photos of the lot which I will be using to build an information section around in the near future.  This seller was kind and generous.  She was willing to help out our hobby and I am very thankful.  While she doesn’t have any other Bantam or Pacific Marine items, please check out her store here to see if there is something you are interested in.  Judees1, thank you!

Click here to see Judees1 store.

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

It’s not too late for a Summer Project

Summer is in full swing, the cruise nights are busy, and the weather is perfect for working in the garage.  In Pennsylvania, there is a Bantam panel truck waiting to get back on the road.  It’s a 1938 which has been treated to some chassis and running gear upgrades while the exterior aesthetics have been retained.  When finished, it’ll be the best of both worlds.

To see more on this project, check it out in the showroom here.

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

The Tail End

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.

1940 Riviera side exit exhaust

This is a sharp car isn’t it? The person who restored this car should be very proud!

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:

20180611_161803.jpgWhile 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:

20180612_130046

This website still directs to TrustInRust.com.

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…

Short Notice

This may be incredibly short notice, but with online bidding or a trip out to Riverside California, you may be able to fill a nook in your garage with this fantastic car.  After asking around, no one seems to know much about this car’s history.  It’s mechanical condition is unknown as is the condition of the underside of the car.  However, at its current pricing, it seems like it could be a steal!

This sort of car would normally make it to our bi-monthly lead sheet, but our next issue wont be out for another month and I really don’t want to see someone miss out on this opportunity.

Click here to see more of the car.

If this car doesn’t fit what you’re looking for, check out our showroom for some truly fantastic vehicles.

Takin’ it to the Streets

Whether you think Michael McDonald was an excellent addition to the Doobie Brothers matters not as this article is about a different sort of Takin’ it to the Streets, one where our skills and services are proudly put on display in an effort to get a Bantam out on the road again and visible to the everyday enthusiast. However, before we can get rolling this entry will give you a perspective of what our locating services entail so you can see how we have gotten where we are.

Over the past four years, I have been detailing our in-house project, the Bantam “Sportsman”. In doing so, I have had the opportunity to share some important details regarding Bantams and have been inspired to begin assembling a photographic parts guide. However, one thing has been sorely lacking, the shop and I haven’t had an actual running driving Bantam. How can a guy without a Bantam really dole out the advice you need to keep yours going or to help you figure out if you may even enjoy it? For advice and mechanical services, I usually like to refer you to the real experts (there are some fantastic people who I almost always defer to on certain subjects). In explaining what the cars are like, I always admit that much of my information comes from listening to others and through observation.

Although I’ve wanted a running Bantam for a while, and for a brief period had a running Austin, the urgency of the hunt became more apparent as this site has continued to grow. More often then not, I have found myself looking at project cars which would need a tremendous amount of work to get on the road. So, as an in-house project, I began the locating process for a 1940 American Bantam Hollywood or Convertible Coupe in near running condition. I established a budget which I was willing to spend and how much work would be acceptable to take on; as well as how far I would be willing to travel to buy the car.

As you may have seen, our locating services begin with an annual fee; helping to illustrate that the perfect car may not come available in the same week you are looking.  This keeps me on the trail for an entire year, seeking out that perfect match; if it’s out there.  I set out to work looking for the car; including calling old lead, past owners, current owners, dealers, and began scouring every imaginable classified. Late one night in September 2016, I spotted an ad for a Hollywood on a social media site dated May 27, 2010. On a lark, I messaged the seller. Here are the photos I poured over while I waited for the seller to reply.

 

Three months later, I found out the car was still for sale. It was restored about 30 years ago by the same man who restored a 1930 American Austin Coupe which I previously owned for a while. The car was far away, but not too far away; it was about a four hour drive. The owner did not want to discuss the price until I had the chance to look at the car in person, in order to make sure that I knew exactly what the car was.

In February, we took a drive down to look at it. It was nice, an older restoration and apparently an AACA Junior Winner in the 1980’s. Was it 100% correct? No. However, it ran nicely and the owner took me for a pleasant drive in it. Amazingly, it is a numbers matching car and it retained about 97% of it original parts. I really got the chance to crawl around the car and use my learned knowledge about 1940 Bantams to help identify what aspects were correct and what I’d need to take care of in the future. At the time, the seller wasn’t sure what had been done to the engine in the past, so I was a bit leary of trusting the engine as being a perfect unit. Too far apart on the price, we parted ways and each said we’d think about it to see if we could come up with a price that would work for both of us.

Months later, after pouring over the photos, the car was still available and I decided that it was the one. The seller and I came up with a deal. We headed down with a U-haul trailer and some tie down straps. The seller had it charged up and waiting for me. After some quick loading and exchanging of paperwork, a 1940 Hollywood was finally on its way back to New York to represent TrustInRust.com and to help me get a bit more hands on experience with these fantastic machines.

American Bantam Hollywood traveling home

Here’s a photo to give you an idea of the car’s size relative to ordinary vehicles:
American Bantam Hollywood traveling home (2)

It took a bit less than a year, but persistence paid off. The plan for this car is to get it running, keep it tuned up, make it into a dependable driver, and try out some of our reproductions on it.  In the future, you can look for this at club meets, local cruise nights, and other shows. In getting it going and keeping it going, be sure to keep checking back for entries on the topic.  These will be blog entries on actually piloting a Bantam and not just building it or appreciating it.  I hope this will be helpful.

The shop project Sportsman will continue to provide information regarding a full restoration of a Bantam and inspiration for creating detailed parts guides.  However, this car will hopefully encourage you to either get one or to get yours on the road.  So, besides our services, I hope to take this Special 4 to the streets and see what it can do.  Care to join along for the ride?

If you’re interested in reacquainting yourself with Takin’ it to the Streets, click here.

Takin it to the streets doobie brothers

Export Bantams- an ever interesting topic

As I’ve highlighted on our Facebook page, American Bantams found there way around the globe.  They currently exist on six of seven continents.

I believe one of the Bantam clubs discussed the A.B.C. fairly recently, an Australian offering of the American Bantam.  If you are interested in learning more, please email me and I’ll see if I can find the relevant information on the Club News or Rooster Tail issue for you to seek out.  I believe that the AABC also offered A.B.C. brochure reproductions in the past which are really neat pieces although I believe the club store is long out of these.

On eBay, a seller in Australia has listed an original A.B.C. brochure which is unlike the reproduction offered by the club.

Austrailian ABC Bantam Brochure 1

 

For your chance to add this to your collection, click here:  ABC Australian Bantam Brochure