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…

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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

Monday morning parts finds

American Bantam Headlight Lenses (pair)

American Bantam Headlight Lenses.jpgClick here to see the American Bantam Headlight Lenses

American Bantam Austin Intake Manifold

Please note the repair to the mounting ear which will need to be cleaned up.

Click here to see the American Bantam Austin Intake Manifold

American Bantam Handle Assortment

Click here to see the American Bantam Handle Assortment

Reproduction Interior American Bantam Window Crank

Reproduction Bantam Window Crank.jpg

Click here to see the American Bantam Window Crank Reproduction

American Bantam Door Handle Reproduction

Reproduction Bantam Door Handle

Click here to see the American Bantam Door Handle Reproduction

American Bantam Generator Mount Bracket

This is a four hole generator mount which should work for late 1938 American Bantams through the end of production.

American Bantam Generator Mount Bracket

Click here to see the American Bantam Generator Mount Bracket

American Austin Bantam Steering Wheel

American Austin Bantam Steering Wheel.jpg

Click here to see the American Austin Bantam Steering Wheel

American Austin Timing Cover

This cover is the correct style for M series American Austin engines.

American Austin Timing Cover.jpg

Click here to see the American Austin Timing Cover

American Austin Generator Mount Distributor

Please note, each American Austin and Bantam engine utilized a distributor having a different advance curve.  While they may look similar and fit similarly, they will not necessarily run the same without modification.

American Austin Generator.jpg

Click here to see the American Austin Generator Mount Distributor

American Austin Steering Box

American Austin Steering Box.jpg

Click here to see the American Austin Steering Box

American Austin Hood Latches

American Austin used two different types of spring loaded hood latches.  However, I don’t have the information handy to explain if these are right for Austins, and if so for what years.  Please check your application.

American Austin Hood Latches

Click here to see the American Austin Hood Latches

American Austin Hood Latches

American Austin used two different types of spring loaded hood latches.  However, I don’t have the information handy to explain if these are right for Austins, and if so for what years.  Please check your application.

American Austin Hood Latches b 1

Click here to see the American Austin Hood Latches

 

Building a Better Bantam Foreword

It has been a bit too long since I have actually done anything substantive on the Shop Project, the Sportsman.  However, the same does not hold true for this website as a whole and the services offered here.  As you know, this website was originally built to make sure that good leads of cars for sale would not die at their expiration.  In nearly four years, this simple site has grown into so much more than that.  With small strides, we are moving into numerous service which you can learn more about by perusing the tabs above.  However, this post is dedicated to building a better Bantam.

What does this Better Bantam phrase mean? Why does the title have foreword in it?  Those are good questions and I’m glad you asked.  I’ll start with the easy one first.  The Foreword is an indication that I am planning to post many more entries under this category.  If you enjoy them and see some utility here, feel free to let me know by following or even emailing me; this way I’ll be a bit more compelled to keep them going.

As to the meaning of the phrase, these posts will be dedicated to not only our efforts but those of other enthusiasts who are seeking to keep the torch burning for American Austins and Bantams.  Unlike the Shop Project posts which work through a specific car at a time, one step at a time, these entries will be not be so strict in their content and order.  Some entries will show you how new parts are being created that overcome the deficiencies of the originals and are intended to outshine their original counterparts in every way.  Other posts will demonstrate simple improvements that may make these 1,200 lb wonders more enjoyable to drive.  A better Bantam is more endurable, more roadworthy, more fun, and easier to repair.  These posts will be introduce you to parts reproduction efforts, technical tips, and improvements for these cars overall; hopefully including photos, videos, and attention capturing content.

The point of these entries will be to chronicle this flourishing hobby and to give you a glimpse into its unique nature.  Seeing how owners and enthusiasts around the world are contributing to the longevity of these cars may be both eye opening and inspirational.  I’ll give a few posts a go, but I welcome your input and contributions.

bantam-avatar wm

Have a great evening!

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.

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