Farewell Norm

In 2019, the hammer fell on a very fresh looking 1938 American Bantam Roadster in Auburn, Indiana. The RM auction catalog described the car as being styled in a “[l]ovely two-tone color combination”. Missing from the listing was that the lime green insert recently replaced a cream insert. More glaringly absent was that this car was restored and owned by one of the preeminent members of the Austin and Bantam community, Norm Booth.

Many people in the clubs had the opportunity to meet Norm and become his friend over time. Being a rather newcomer living on the opposite coast, I only got to visit with Norm on the phone or through email however I learned a few things about him. He was interesting and interested in our little cars. He was giving with his time and encouraging of our hobby. He had founded a club filled with people who often admired him as much as the cars he championed.

Shortly after this year’s White Elephant sale, we lost Norm. While many could write much more about him, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to honor his efforts in founding the Austin Bantam Society and creating this hobby that we enjoy so much. Thank you Norm.

“I believe this was at an early ABS (Then Pacific Bantam Austin Club) meet at The Disneyland Hotel grounds in Anaheim, California in the early 1970’s. Note the metal drip pan under the engine so as to not stain the walkway. Pleasant memories.” – Norm Booth posing in his prized 1938 American Bantam Roadster.

Changes Are Coming

Our last post was a cheery New Years post in 2020. Clearly, we were completely naive with regard to what the ensuing months would be bringing. While 2020 was a year of varied tragedy, it would be a waste if we did not come away from it with at least a few good lessons. At EverythingBantam.com, we took a step away from the Bantam world and used it as a long period of introspection.

As a result, we have thought about what has worked for our involvement in the hobby, as well as what has not. From the silence, we are rising up at a more focused brand seeking to provide our long time and future customers sharper focus and quicker results. This means that we will be bolstering our successful Locating Services and Advertising Services. We will also be indulging in our own personal desires of providing a great source of information for the Austin and Bantam hobby. This will be translated into a vastly improved Library section.

While we grow these three aspects of our company, we will be retiring our efforts to provide a complete parts inventory. If you click on the “Parts” tab above, you will see that we will continue to offer parts locating services, but general parts sales will be available through http://www.AustinBantamParts.com. Unfortunately, the business of maintaining and building a complete inventory did not fit with our current priorities.

Thank you for your continued patronage and we are eager to continue bringing you high quality and interesting content.

Happy New Model Year!

Happy new year!  With the year comes aspirations for the future and welcomed new beginnings.  There are enough other blog posts about personal relationships with the changing of the year, so this one is about the changing of the model year at the American Bantam Car Co.

Below are some photos which have long since been torn from their original binding.  Where they were originally, who knows.  The seller’s father worked for Bantam and appears to have taken home some fantastic prizes.  Take a look through the photos below before I attempt to blow your mind.

1940 Bantam Roadster Factory Photo

Click here to see the roadster factory photo.

1940 Bantam Panel Factory Photo

Click here to see the Panel factory photo.

1940 Bantam Station Wagon Factory Photo

Click here to see the Wagon factory photo.


1940 Bantam Convertible Coupe Factory Photo

Click here to see the Hollywood factory photo.

1940 Bantam Master Coupe Factory Photo

Click here to see the Master Coupe factory photo.

1940 Bantam Convertible Sedan Factory Photo

Click here to see the Riviera factory photo.


1940 Bantam Pickup Truck Factory Photo

Click here to see the pickup factory photo.

Okay, so now that you’ve had a chance to look at the photos, don’t they seem a bit familiar?  For the carry over body styles, these are the photos that were used as 1938 and 1939 press photos and brochure images.  If my computer wasn’t glitchy, I would be showing you a side by side comparison of the earlier images and these.  If you look closely, you’ll see that each car has had the silver bomber drawn onto an existing photo.  The roadster photo had two women edited out of it, fender trim added, 38 bumper guards retained, hood trim deleted, part of its shadow removed, and it is now a right hand drive vehicle.  The exact same people are sitting in the Master Coupe posed in the exact same manner as they were in 1938. What other similarities can you find?

The Genuine Parts Company (NAPA) Bantam Fleet and more!

Genuine Parts Company, NAPA, once had a fleet of American Austins and Bantams.  If you turn to the back of your American Austin Bantam Club Authenticity Manual, there is a black and white photo of a Bantam based open delivery car.  If you ever wondered how extensive their fleet was, take a look at this photo:

Genuine Parts Napa Bantam fleet.jpg

A careful look will expose 1 Panel truck, 2 Pickup trucks (square back style), 6 modified open Austins, and 2 modified open Bantams.  The first open Bantam has 11 written on the cowl, so this may be the entire fleet.

To head over to ebay to see the full sized photo, click here.

The May Theater American Austin Advertising car:

While I greatly like this photo and would love to see more details of this car, the stamp on the rear of the photo is what really captivates me.  Someone, likely the owner, appears to have sent this photo to the American Austin Car Co. and it was received in April of 1931.  Perhaps they hoped to see it in an Austin advertisement, or perhaps they were just proud owners.  Either way, this is an undeniably cool car.  Too many people think you need to have an Austin or Bantam Pickup or Panel truck if you want to advertise your business.  However there are so many Austin coupes that were utilized that the honest truth is that any Austin or Bantam will get the attention you’re looking for!

To check out this photo on eBay, click here.

American Austin Motometer

For those of you with an Austin who happen to be curious how hot your Thermosyphon engine is running, this nifty Motometer may be just the thing you’re looking for.

Interestingly, the font on the logo appears to vary from most Austin literature, the grille badges, and the tire covers.

To view the Motometer, click here.

Friday the Thirteenth, Bantam Edition

Just when you think you’ve seen every possible iteration that Bantam may have produced, more beautiful photos emerge in crisp black and white.  This morning serves as a reminder that you never know what sort of things the factory was considering before rolling out the production 63 Series cars with the headlamps nestled deeper within the fender.  The photos posted on eBay are professional photos which are clearly staged and seem to be far more than just a styling exercise and are something I would venture to guess may have been originally destined for marketing materials.  However, I’ve never seen these photos published, have you?

The Speedster:

1939 Bantam Speedster Photo

Let’s see how many differences we can find from standardized Series 63 cars:

1) larger stainless trim on the hood taking up far more real estate than what was actually used

2) Series 60 style bumper guards were mounted fore and aft (Interestingly, our 1939 roadster project which is for sale had this same style of bumper guard mounted on it when found)

3) the stainless trim on the fender skirt is entirely different from the standard issue with the three horizontal strips eschewed in favor of one single piece underscoring the bottom border of the skirt

4) chrome rocker moldings!

5) That tonneau cover is pretty snazzy if you ask me!

Honorable mention:  That single pinstripe outlining the upper part of the cove is also identical to what our 1939 roadster project sports.

The Coupe:

1939 Bantam Coupe Photo

  1. There’s that wide trim again!
  2. How about those sporty black painted bumpers?  I believe the look of having everything painted black is called “murdered” these days.  Was Bantam the pioneer of this?
  3. Look at the sheen of the upholstery.  Was this seat covered in vinyl or leather?
  4. Is this car missing the Bantam badge on the upper portion of the grille?

Honorable mention:  This car actually has a front license plate frame!  How many of us have been looking for one of these?

The Boulevard delivery:

Bantam Boulevard Delivery

It’s unclear if this photo was taken at the same time as the others, but it is an interesting vantage point of the boulevard delivery.  If so, it may illustrate that the delivery was more in keeping with the commercial cars than the passenger ones as it features the earlier style grille and hood.

The only thing that has caught my eye is that this photo clearly captures the special seat back utilized on these cars to allow for a driver to open the rear cargo hold as you can see in this photo of a restored delivery:

boulevard delivery seat back.jpg

Click here to see the mystery Bantam factory photos

Press Photo of a Belgium Bantam Sedan

A pair of press photos has appeared on eBay from the same seller who had listed the original BRC parts book, Eddie Rickenbacker photo, and possibly NOS emblem.  One photo is a press photo of a 1939-1940 round bed pickup truck that has been circulating on eBay for ages.   You may be familiar with it: American Bantam press photo Round Bed pickup

However, the second photo is more interesting.  It is a photo of a custom bodied Bantam flanked by nature and backed by a body of water.  It is picturesquely posed and strikingly European looking.  The roof line appears to have been extended slightly to potentially accommodate rear passengers in greater comfort and the side panels appear to have an interesting lack of reflectivity.  Here is the photo:

American Bantam press photo Sedan European

Someplace on the internet, there are a few photos of a similar car which attributed it to Belgium.  However I cannot find the link to share.  Yet, if you have a copy of the AABC Authenticity manual, a 3/4 shot of this car is featured on page 134.  The coachwork is apparently the work of Metropolitan Cammell-Weymann Motor Bodies, Ltd. of London and comprises canvas stretched over wood framing.  The ultimate destination of these custom bodies was Belgium and the Authenticity Manual goes into greater depth.

If you don’t have an Authenticity Manual, you should consider picking one up from the AABC club store.

If you’re interested in making this press photo part of your collection, click here to see the custom bodied Bantam..

Welcome Back / Black Friday

Hectic is a word that I find myself using more as I get older.  Work is hectic.  Life is hectic.  Yada yada.  Hectic isn’t bad, it just means that we have to keep our priorities in check.  My last post here was on July 16.  Since then, I’ve thought about posts, but just haven’t had the chance as so many other things were given priority over updating the blog.  In all honesty, there also haven’t been too many amazingly interesting items on eBay.  So, we haven’t missed out on too much.

Today, there are a few neat items which I’ll get to below.  However, I’ll get to a bit of housekeeping first.  Parts reproduction efforts are still going at full bore.  We completed a short production run of new brake cables which have mostly found homes at this point.  There will be a few surprise items coming out early next year.  The locating service has helped several eager Bantam enthusiasts find the cars of their dreams.  Most of our used parts have been sorted and are awaiting final inventorying in order to be readily available for you.  We have added a few new cars to the showroom.  We are also working on aggregating more information for our virtual library.

Just as rust never sleeps, neither do we!  So, with that, welcome back!

If you’re still reading, you may be interested in the following items:

Bantam BRC Parts Book:

The owner asserts that his father worked at the American Bantam Car Co. until 1941.  This is presumably an original book.

Click here to seethe Bantam BRC Parts Book

American Bantam Grille Badge:

Please note the badge does have some damage visible from the one photo of the face.  The chrome appears to be entirely worn off in the boxed area and scuffed where the lines are drawn.  The enameling appears to have some slight dimpling, but it is difficult to tell from these photos.

American Bantam Emblem damage

Click here to see the Bantam Emblem

American Bantam Eddie Rickenbacker Press Photo:

Click here to see the American Bantam Eddie Rickenbacker Press Photo

Many Happy Returns of the Day

After Roy S. Evans, there was Francis Fenn.  Each man sought, in their own way, to turn Bantam’s Butler factory into a productive and profitable machine.  You can read more about Mr. Fenn here and here.  A lot of the history I am familiar with describes Evans as the initial savior of the little car company that could.  However, there were several key people who were in charge of steering the company to eventual profitability during the war.

While all has been quiet on this page for a while, our shelves are being rebuilt and stocked, this morning something appeared which I needed to share.  So, please forgive my absence and enjoy this  simple but elegant book with F.H. Fenn scrawled on its cover:

FH Fenn's scrapbook 1

Apparently, in 1943, some of the American Bantam Car Co.’s workers put together a scrap book commemorating Mr. Fenn’s efforts with the company and their thankfulness for his time at the helm.

The seller has shared some of its magnificent photos which some of us may have never seen before.

Photos of factory workers and administrative officers abound.

Along with a pair of factory photos, with one photo illustrating civilian car crankcases and another showing the dutiful BRC/firetruck which still exists.


While the starting price is a hefty $500, the action kindly shares a few photos with us.  The entry price and lack of seller feedback may thwart some people from buying this, but it’s the sort of thing that deserves to be in a collection where it will be both preserved and shared with Bantam enthusiasts.

FH Fenn's scrapbook 93


Click here to see Mr. Fenn Scrapbook

The Austin Saleman’s Trophy

A cocky alloy rooster perched haughtily atop a cast aluminum base.  Polished to produce a glint in any potential customer’s eyes, it was clear that this rooster meant business.  Wouldn’t it mean business to have it perched atop your sporty roadster?  Wouldn’t it give other motorists the idea that your bantam car packed more than pint sized power?  You’d probably dole out the additional few dollars for the Custom Line Austin or if that was too much you may just buy the accessory cap.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a trophy per se back in the day, but this ash tray is marvelous.  Given that the base has a corresponding casting number to the Rooster, it is likely that these two pieces have been long time mates.  My best estimation is that this served as a promotional piece to help Austin dealers up sell potential buyers or served as some sort of reward for successful sales agencies.  Personally, my money is on the former.  So, it probably padded his wallet and was quite the piece to hang onto.

Many experts agree that these roosters were originally available in a pewter toned finish which was a product of not polishing the casting.  This is what an original NOS unit looks like:

Austin Rooster Mascot

Posted to the AABC Facebook group by Cathy Cunningham, the Rooster perched above an ash tray is quite a find.  As you’ll see below, this rooster (who has likely been exposed to decades of secondhand smoke) is a bit more polished and glamorous looking.

American Austin Rooster Ash Tray 1

Yet, both the NOS cap and the polished rooster share similar casting numbers and mounting means:


In a slightly zoomed out photo, you can see that the casting number on the ash tray base has a similar suffix as the rooster cap itself, indicating that the base was likely designed to compliment the cap around 1933 rather than being a more modern addition.

American Austin Rooster Ash Tray 92

The cap is AA-2840 while the base is 2840 (Thanks for catching this Drew)


The seller has rejected offers of over $500 and is waiting to see where the auction goes.  As of now the starting bid is $425 with a little over two days left until the hammer falls.

So, even if this wasn’t a salesman’s trophy, perhaps it will be the trophy of your collection.

Click here to see the American Austin Rooster Ash Tray

A Brief Interlude

It has been over a month since our last post.  Fret not, we are in the process of moving our inventory to a new warehouse.  In the next months, our items will be better inventoried and easier to access to meet your needs.  Thank you very much for checking in!