If it seems too good to be true…

As a change of pace, I am telling you not to bid on something.  In fact, I’m writing this as a warning to prevent you from being scammed. A little bit ago, a seller on eBay listed an American Bantam Car Co. employee badge. Here is a photo of it:

American Bantam Car Co badge 1

It is listed for $19.57 and is a buy it now listing with free shipping.  This sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?  Perhaps we should consider comparable listing to see how good of a deal it is.

An employee badge sold on October 7, 2017 for $427.22 after a very intense bidding war.
Click here to see the listing:  American Bantam Car Co. Employee Badge

That item was coming from Pittsburgh, PA and looked like this:

American Bantam Car Co badge 1

Wait a minute, that’s the same badge; not only the same badge, but the same photo of the same badge!  Either some benevolent soul in 阳泉市, China appears to have purchased this to give one of us other enthusiasts a chance at a real bargain or this listing was made by a malevolent individual to make an easy $20.

While I don’t know for certain, I know that I’ll be keeping my $19.57 in my pocket and will wait patiently for the next listing and suggest you should do the same.

For your reference, here is a photo of the bogus listing:



Austin and Bantam Parts to Start the Week

American Bantam Headlight Lenses

The seller of these headlight lenses has commented that they may be NOS lenses.  $150 for a pair of NOS lenses would be a great deal, but interested parties are advised to blow up the photos to see how the surfaces of the lenses have fared over the years.  A close inspection will reveal a large incidence of scratches and discoloration.

These are currently priced cheaper than the New Headlight Lens project lenses will be, however that project may be delayed until sufficient interest can be found.Bantam Headlight lenses 3

Click here to see the American Bantam Headlight Lenses Sold for 180.50

1938-1938 American Bantam 15 Slat Grille

This grille appears to be in very nice shape with minimal repairs in normal places.  Does it need some body work?  Yes.  Is it the nicest grille which has been on eBay in years?  Also, yes.

American Bantam Grille 1

Click here to see the 1938-1938 American Bantam 15 Slat Grille Sold for 255.00

Potentially New American Bantam Windshield Stanchions

It is difficult to determine whether the orange substance is dirty cosmoline or rust.  In either event, these can be difficult to locate if you do not have a set for your car.

American Bantam Windshield Stanchions

Click here to see the Potentially New American Bantam Windshield Stanchions Sold for 100.00

1939 American Bantam Station Wagon Crank Case

This crankcase has had a few modifications but it appears to have some nice parts left on it.  While the difficult to locate crankshaft is missing, this lot includes the cam, the front and rear crank bearing supports, cam gear, distributor drive gear, fan pulley, generator support, cam bushings, oil fill tube, a vane style oil pump, and what looks to be a fairly decent crank case.


Click here to see the 1939 American Bantam Station Wagon Crank Case Sold for 180.00

1930 American Austin Instruction Book

American Austin Instruction Book

Click here to see the 1930 American Austin Instruction Book

1930-1933 American Austin Water Inlet

American Austin Water Inlet 1

Click here to see the 1930-1933 American Austin Water Inlet  Sold for 22.50

A Tuesday sized helping of Bantam Bits

In the midst of building the pictorial list of parts I have mentioned in a few posts,  (click here for progress), I stumbled upon a few parts, trinkets, and pieces of literature I wanted to make sure you saw.

American Bantam Gas Pedal:

Note, this is the correct pedal assembly for a Bantam, however, it may be possible that Series 65 cars have a different length lever.  Please check your application.  Also, this comes with the correct Bantam return spring.


Click here to see the American Bantam Gas Pedal  Sold for 77.00

1934 Austin – 1940 Bantam Oil Pan

Note, this is the higher capacity oil pan used on M series American Austin engines and all Bantam engines.


Click here to see the 1934 Austin – 1940 Bantam Oil Pan

American Austin Radiator Badge


Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge

American Austin Pin

American Austin Pin

Click here to see the American Austin Pin Sold for 21.00

American Bantam Car Corporation Parts Catalog


Interestingly, even in 1949 people were seeking parts to keep these mini-marvels on the roads.

Click here to see the American Bantam Car Corporation Parts Catalog

Literature Antiqued and Laminated to Wooden Plaques


Click here to see the American Bantam Plaque

Click here to see the American Bantam Plaque

Click here to see the American Austin Plaque

American Austin Crate Remnant

American Austin Crate

Click here to see the American Austin Crate Remnant Sold for 25.00

American Austin and Bantam Leather Belt with Buckle

Bantam Belt Buckle

Click here to see the Austin Bantam Themed Belt

Shop Project: The List

In March of 2016, I blogged about creating a shopping list of sorts with the intention of keeping Austin and Bantam parts out of scrap yards.  About a month later, I had begun to pursue the project, you can read about it here.

the shopping list

I honestly can’t believe that it was over a year ago that I last worked on this project.  Yet, somehow, I have lost track of time and have ended up neglecting something that could be very useful to the hobby.

As most of you already know, the AABC sells an excellent authenticity manual which is something you should consider adding to your collection.  The new edition is supposed to have some added features which my copy does not have, including the spiral binding and some factory drawings.

The purpose of this creation is not to allege authenticity or to step on the toes of the AABC’s manual, but to help create a spotter’s guide to ensure that the hobbyist who buys a basket case can identify what parts in the garage go with the Bantam or something along those lines.  I am hoping to not only include the bits that came with the cars from the factory but oddities which cropped up along the way and reproduction efforts of the past.

I will be posting updates on the blog informing you as to changes that occur.  Your comments, questions, and feedback are welcome and hoped for.  Some of the photos which I use may be sourced from the internet as I don’t have an example of every part to photograph, so please bear with me as I go.  If you would like to contribute, please feel free.

If there is a demand for it at the end, this may make a heck of a coffee table book, or maybe even an App for an Austin or Bantam enthusiast.

It’s time to reclaim eBay!

It’s no secret, I like eBay.  I could go on about how I have enjoyed it for years.  However, if you go on any Automotive blog, forum, or facebook group, you likely see it disparaged in a number of different ways.  Despite other people’s complaints and its allegedly negative effects on car shows, I have loyally defended eBay.

A few months ago, I penned a letter to the CEO of eBay, half knowing it would never be read.  It was an actual letter, ink on fine paper swaddled in a self-adhesive envelope donning a single antique truck themed stamp.  While I expected no reply, I extended a few thoughts on the current state of eBay Motors as it has been abused by certain sellers.

If you are reading this, you likely appreciate Bantams and are well aware that the parts for these cars are very difficult to find on eBay.  Typing in “American Bantam” as your search query will result in thousands of hits.  You may see something like this:

Screenshot (415)

You read that right, 4,943 parts!  The deluge of matches may make you think you can buy every part for your car.  However, this is unfortunately not the case.  Most of these items include a plethora of things including seat belt retainers that go between a bucket seat and a console, bilge pumps, cigarette lighter phone chargers, and OBD II scanners.  Each of these items alleges that it fits American Bantam cars.  This is the result of the eBay listing system allowing a seller to indicate the part fits every make, model, and year.  The result is confounding, actual Bantam parts are buried among this unrelated merchandise.

I have suggested a means where users can easily report unrelated items or the installation of eBay moderators who can make sure people are not abusing the interchange option provided by the website.  Today, I found something so you can also tell eBay that you are fed up with unrelated merchandise hiding the parts you need.

Screenshot (416)

In the circled area of the screenshot above, you can tell eBay what you think.  If you are unhappy with the way in which sellers of buffing pads are abusing the system, let eBay know.  If you are unhappy that the bilge pump will not properly fit your Bantam, let eBay know.

Once you click on the link above, it will take you to this screen:

Screenshot (417)

Let’s work together to make eBay a better marketplace for classic car enthusiasts.  In the mean time, check back here frequently and I will share the items I find with you.  I may not catch them all, but I will try.  Enjoy your Sunday!

It’s October, Are You Ready For Herhsey? Part II

I decided to break this post into a few segments to better sort the eBay offerings.  The previous post highlighted memorabilia, this one focuses on parts.  If parts and collectibles aren’t what you’re after, follow up for part three, the car corral.  That will be up a little later.

The same seller who has the employee badges also is offering a fairly well preserved American Austin badge which appears to have most of the retention clip in tact.

Click here to bid on the American Austin Grille Badge

Presumably from the same collection is a nice Bantam emblem.  It is hard to see if the enameling has any gouges or scratches from the photos, but it definitely seems to have some visible damage to the chrome.  However, most of the enameling on the back of the badge appears to have survived.  This one is already priced higher than the beautiful recreations by Bill Spear.

American Bantam Grille Badge 1

Click here to bid on the original American Bantam Grille Badge (I know I did :D)

However, if you want a badge which will not require restoration, you may want to consider one of these:


Which can be purchased for $18 (while supplies last) at Wm. Spear Design.

Perhaps you need something of a more mechanical nature.  Then you may wish to consider these Bantam friction shock absorbers.  These are correct for all 1938-1939 Bantams and 1940 commercial Bantams.  You can differentiate the front set up from American Austin shock absorbers from the lack of the star washer on the front side.

American Bantam Shock Absorbers

Click here to bid on the American Bantam Shock Absorbers

Or, if you’re looking for something a little more rusty, a seller (actually me), has listed parts from a 1930 Austin which is being parted out.  Click on “other items” to see more.

American Austin Dash Board

Click here to bid on the American Austin Dash Board

Finally, if you are into toys, here is a very nice Austin hauler set up:

American Austin Car Hauler Toy

Click here to bid on the American Austin Car Hauler Toy



It’s October, are you ready for Hershey? Part I

I wish I could say yes, however I will not be in attendance this year.  It is probably one of only two or three shows I have missed in the past 21 years.  The last two years have been pretty good, Bantam parts-wise.  Since I will not be able to be there to hunt for the hard to find pieces on your list and mine, I will have to do my best from my desk.  If, like me, you aren’t or wont be at Hershey this year, here are a few Bantam bits on eBay which may interest you.

A seller on ebay, in western Pennsylvania, appears to have unearthed an interesting collection of Butler related memorabilia.  Among those items is an, impossible to find, employee badge from the American Bantam Car Co.  In the past five years on ebay, one other badge has made its way to auction.  The seller also has an employee badge from the Standard Steel Car Co. which preceded Bantam at its manufacturing facility and another two badges from the American Rolling Mill which finally took over Bantam around 1956.  If you look through the seller’s other items, you can see some other Butler related badges. These could be a nice addition to your collection.

American Bantam Car Co. Employee Badge

Click here to bid on the American Bantam Car Co. Employee Badge

Standard Steel Car Co. Employee Badge

Steel Car Co Badge 1

Click here to bid on the Standard Steel Car Co. Employee Badge

American Rolling Mills Employee Badge

American Rolling Mills badge 1

Click here to bid on the American Rolling Mills Employee Badge

ARMCO Employee Badge

ARMCO badge 1

Click here to bid on the ARMCO Employee Badge



Six of one, half dozen of another:

Yesterday, a seller listed a 1939 Bantam Roadster on ebay.  I don’t usually blog about vehicles listed on ebay which are not advertised on this site, but I am making an exception for this car.  Given the changing nature of the classic car market, I think this car presents a very unique opportunity to write about.

The subject of this post:

American Bantam Roadster NY 32

Click here to see the 1939 Bantam Roadster on ebay.

As of this morning, the car is up to $9,800 (the bidding has dropped to $3,716.66) and the reserve has not yet been met.  Overall, this is a nice car.  It looks like an older restoration, but we don’t know too much about what has been done to it.  We don’t know if the engine was rebuilt, how it was rebuilt, how it was maintained, what was done to the brakes, or really anything.  It’s a pretty car, in my opinion, but without getting an up close look at it, it may just be a very photogenic classic.

Having been in this situation recently, I can say, that buying an older restoration can be similar to buying a pig in a poke.  You don’t know really much about the car other than what you can see at the surface level.  You hope that you can change the fluids, put some gas in, and enjoy.  However, that is not a guarantee.

I have no idea what the reserve is, but I do know that restored Bantams don’t usually perform as well on ebay as they do at live auctions, Bantam specific publications, or in private sales at car shows.  Now, I’m sure you know that I like ebay, but it’s just not the best place to market one of these fantastic small cars.  So, let’s take the price out of consideration.

Now, for the purposes of exposition is a 1939 Bantam Roadster project car:


1939 Bantam Roadster – NY

Finding an original car awaiting a restoration is a fairly difficult these days.  A car such as the one above will definitely need metal work, paint, chrome, and all of the other usual accoutrements of restoration; however you would have complete control over every aspect of the process and you would be sure of the quality of the vehicle you are driving.  Your own hands could bring it to a level of excellence which it likely hasn’t seen since 1939.  Just imagine what you could do with a project car like this.

The complete project offers its own obvious set of challenges where as the older restoration is a little more covert about what it may offer its next owner.  I used to think I was only interested in a complete project of which I could control every aspect from the ground up.  However, sometimes we don’t have enough time to do that and it’s worth taking a chance on a good looking car which is closer to being a driver; just to get on the road.  Either way, you shouldn’t get your hopes up and you should make sure you are prepared to spend a little extra money in the case you need to tend to something like new brake cables or a wiring harness.

All things considered, which would you prefer; an older restoration to enjoy as is or a complete project which you can nurture into a Roy Evans award winner?  Then again, who am I kidding, these cars are small, so why should you need to choose.  Get one to enjoy and another to build!

Also, we’ll be taking a short break from the Shop Project for a week or so, but stop back soon to see our progress.

Mystery in plain sight- Round Bed Lamps

I don’t have a copy of the newly updated version of the American Austin Bantam Club’s Authenticity manual.  So, perhaps I’m writing this a bit prematurely, but I don’t believe this matter has been covered.  Should you have an updated version of the manual and this subject is covered, please let me know.

If you have been to the Everything Bantam facebook page, you have likely seen a photo of a man and his faithful pet Bantam pickup truck.  I’ve been staring past this photo for months and have only now come to realize a small detail which has thus far eluded me.  Take a look at the photos below and see if you can spot it.  Open the photos and look hard.

Did you spot it?  There on the drivers side rear corner, this car has what looks to be a Lux style taillight.  The same sort of assembly which was found on Bantam Coupes, Hollywoods, Rivieras, and Speedsters.  From past assumptions, I was under the belief that all Bantam commercial truck supposedly had the NACO style taillights.  Every one restored truck appears to have been given this treatment.  In fact, I believe my parts list also supports the usage of the NACO on round bed pickups.

Here are some photos of Bantam round bed pickup trucks sporting NACO taillights or similar variations.  They don’t look incredibly wrong, and these were definitely used on Panel trucks, Roadsters, and square bed pickups.  So, arguments can be made that these lamps are correct.   In fact, they look quite comfortable one each of these cars.

You may say to yourself, ‘Hey, that’s just a photo of one truck.  Maybe the guy could only get that assembly from a Bantam dealer?’  Your admonition may be right.  However, take a look at this factory photo:

Factory photoClick here to find a copy of the above factory photo for sale: 1940 Round Bed Pickup

That little round glass orb has made an appearance, indicating that the truck may in fact have a Lux style tail lamp.  The car also has an earlier style hood ornament which makes you wonder exactly when this car came to be.  Again you may hesitate to take this photo as meaning much because there are many factory photos that do not represent cars as they actually came from the factory.  Again, you would be justified.

So, going back through some photos I found a photo of the original bed from a pickup truck which had sat unmolested after one of the wrist pins scored one of the cylinder bores in about 1958.  Sure the truck had 7 coats of paint, but it was remarkably original.  Under all of the layers of paint you can see the original steel as it likely left the factory.  Here is a photo of the original bed in its glory:

1940 Bantam Pickup Truck Bed

The top and bottom mounting holes around the large central hole are identical to the ones used by Lux lamps in the above mentioned cars.

I was only able to dig up two photos of round back pickups with Lux style lamps, one is the convertible pickup (a dream car sort of thing) which was built by a club member in Florida and another is a 1940 pickup restored by a club member on the West Coast.

Now, I’m not saying that one lamp is right and another is wrong, but I like the look of the Lux lamp and it may be nice knowing you have some options in restoring your car.  This also may give you some wiggle room when restoring your car or some fodder for thought as you look over your next car.   This also reminds me that I need to order my new copy of the Authenticity Manual to see what it says on this topic.