In the 1950’s, a teenager in Florida adopted an American Bantam roadster as his first car. After adding a bit of elbow grease and paint, he ended up with quite the sporty roadster. As you can see below, it was quite the looker:
When the above photo was taken, the car was sporting its original wheels with wide white wall tires, aftermarket headlights, and many of its original components. The owner and his father were lucky and forward thinking enough to find a Bantam coupe which shed some of its parts to serve as spares. Some time after high school, the owner’s father became the Bantam’s caretaker and it stayed with him for the next fifty years.
Over the decades, the car enjoyed periods of loving use and careful storage. Around ten years ago, this car was transported to Texas where the engine was brought back to life again so the car could return to the road. Running well, the owner’s father proudly enjoyed the car, sharing it with crowds at a variety of local car shows and events. By the time the car was driven into the garage for the last time, the odometer had rolled all the way to 61,598 miles. Yet, in all of those miles, the car has remained well kept and very true to its original form.
As you can see from these photos, the car has been sitting in dry indoor storage and still retains the coat of black paint it received 60 years ago. Considering that this car has spent its entire life in the dry south, it is no wonder that there is no surface rust or rot visible anywhere.
Although the car has had a few modifications such as the addition of aftermarket headlights and turn signals, nothing has been done to really alter the originality of this magnificent survivor car. The body is overwhelmingly straight and well preserved. The seller has stated that the underside of the car is also rock solid.
Under the hood, it appears that there have been a couple of upgrades over the years involving the generator and possibly the intake setup, however the car still has the original two main bearing crankcase that it left the factory with. The casting number on the cylinder block indicates that it may have been swapped out for a later tall deck three main bearing block unit at some point. The car also sports the optional larger capacity accessory radiator which was introduced in the later part of the 1939 model year.
The car also comes with its original side curtains, tonneau cover, and 15 inch wheels; which are all remarkably well preserved.
The owner first bought the car as a 1941 model car, even though it left the factory in August of 1939. It was likely only first sold at a dealer in 1941 in a state which adopted the year of first sale as the year of manufacture. At that time, such information didn’t matter as the car was bought to be a daily driver for a teenager, not a numbers matching show car. However, that is what this car could be; a well preserved 1939 Deluxe Roadster with so many of the hard to find pieces that are often lost with time.
As mentioned above, the owner and his father had set aside some extra Bantam parts to keep this car going. Not surprisingly, they still have a number of those parts as well. Included with this roadster are a two main Bantam crank case (which appears to carry number 64183 indicating it was from a 1939 coupe), a cylinder block, a cylinder head, an oil pan, a flywheel, a clutch and pressure plate assembly, starter parts, an exhaust manifold, a firewall to radiator support bar, and an accelerator pedal.
With a little bit of time and effort, you could get this roadster back on the road where it belongs. From what the seller has said, it sounds like it is remarkably solid and is merely in need of a new home to give it the attention it deserves.
At present, the car will sell with a bill of sale as the original title has not been found.
The car is located in Texas, and the owner is asking $xxxx
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