Folk Art Friday & King Pins

Penciled in darkly on the upper right hand corner of a hand drawn advertising proof is the mark Wm. E. Lickfield 5/37.  It’s upfront in its truth, but similarly cryptic as it reveals very little to me.  On it’s face, this line tells us both the name of the artist and when he marked this creation.  However, nearly 81 years later, the name and the date are not very enlightening; not even with a google search.   Before I get any further, allow me to share with you an interesting eBay find:

Alternative Bantam Advertisement 1

As you probably already know, 1935-1937 was a great time of flux for the American Bantam Car Co.  The company introduced its cars prematurely for 1937 with drawing of vehicles that were never built.  If I recall correctly, that brochure featured the sketchings of a former Ford designer who imparted a fairly dated look onto the nimble economy cars. The cars were subsequently redesigned by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky and the earliest date of completion of a Bantam vehicle was on December 28, 1937.

Seven months prior to the completion of the first American Bantam it seems as though someone sketched out this advertisement.  Just a few thoughts, in May of 1937, it isn’t clear that the design for the Bantam was close to finalized let alone many other details of the car.  This may be lend an insight into the fact that the illustration is fairly generic, that the few words on the ad are also quite generic, and that the logo was heavily based upon the Union Pacific Railroad symbol.


You could spend a bit of time picking out all of the differences and eccentricities that this sketch exhibits, but look closely at the words American Bantam.  Does that font look familiar?  Sure it isn’t slanted 15 degrees to the right, but look at how rounded those A’s are.  We may be looking at the origin of the font which came to define our beloved brand.

backfilled bantam emblems 2

If you search the name William E. Lickfield, you will find two results for the 20th century.  One gentleman lived in Camden, New Jersey and the other appears to have had a presence in Philadelphia, PA.  The Lickfield from Philadelphia has a few entries in history related to typefaces, typesetting, and type design.  Perhaps this advertisement was done as a requirement for a job application? Whatever its motivation, it is clear that this artist was very skilled with type design.

The eBay listing indicates that the item is located in Bristol, PA which isn’t too far from Philadelphia.  The ad states that Mr. Lickfield worked at American Bantam.  While I don’t have any other information to offer in substantiating that claim, I think this piece is fascinating.  If you are interested in the history of the American Bantam Car Co., perhaps you need to add this to your collection.  Without more than an eBay description, it is difficult to really know the provenance of this piece, but it is, nevertheless, cool.

Click here to see the listing: Bantam Advertisement

Also, if you’re not looking for a collectible at this time, but you want to tighten up your loose Bantam spindles, perhaps you may be interested in a pair of king pins.

Bantam king pins.jpg

Click here to see the listing Bantam king pinsSold for 35.88


Have a great weekend!


American Bantam Tool Kit

If you have your Authenticity Manual handy, go to section 385.  If you don’t have an Authenticity Manual, you may want to get one by clicking here.  What you’ll find in section 385 is a detailed description of the took kit which came with each Bantam.  These kits came with one of two bumper jacks made from ACME threaded rod, a smooth black vinyl pouch, pliers, an imitation rosewood wood handled screwdriver, and a postcard to mail to the factory.  Going through the manual, you will also find that Bantams left the factory with a hand crank / lug wrench.  These cranks may have been used frequently as the access hole in most unrestored grilles seem to be in very poor condition.

American Bantam Took Kit 5

The last time a jack was on ebay was in May of 2016, you can see that listing by clicking here.  That jack, unlike the one in this listing, was a reproduction made by Lynn James.  Like all of his work, the jacks he made were meticulously faithful copies of the originals in every respect and were quite beautiful.  Unfortunately, he sold his last jack a few years ago.  If you have been keeping up with it, I have been working on a shopping list list of sorts which will, include details such as reproduction parts which have been made for these cars.  You can see some of the lists in progress here.  (Please note, the lists currently posted are drafts.  I am still working on finding photos and adding information.  If you see anything that requires correction, please let me know.)

The seller has detailed the origins of each of the tools included in the kit, so it is worth taking a read, even if you aren’t currently in the market for this item.

American Bantam Took Kit 1

Click here to see the American Bantam Took KitSold for 700 plus shipping.

Emblem Reproduction – Are you interested?

Hollywoods, if you’ve been reading for a while, you probably know that I have an affinity for these Alex Tremulis designed drop tops.  Beyond their numerous apparent differences, they feature new for 1940 Bantam badges.

1940 American Bantam Hollywood.JPG

In the photo above of a nicely restored Convertible Coupe you can see the faint Bantam signature at the top rear corner of the hood side.  According to the Authenticity manual (See pg. 40 at Section 301), these were only used as embellishment on Deluxe models and only on the hood sides.  However, these emblems seem to have found their way on numerous Hollywood/Convertible Coupe rear decks as you can see in the photo below.

1940 Bantam Hollywood Rear

If you go through the internet, you can find numerous photos of these badges on a plethora of cars including an original/as-found 1940 pickup, original non-deluxe coupes, speedsters, Rivieras, and even the BRC pilot car.  I am a huge believer in the Authenticity Manual, but I also recognize that Bantam worked with what they had and there may still be some undocumented nuances to learn.  Interestingly, someone recently posed the idea that some 1940 Grille shells do not have holes for the circular Bantam badge because the factory may have felt a switch to the newer badges obviated their presence.

Here is an up close photo of the front of these badges:

backfilled bantam emblems 2

Stamped from thin brass, chrome plated, and backfilled with the body color of the car, they each are stunning in their own way and compliment the cars nicely.  However, the thin material which they were made from was easily damaged and their thin coat of plating was easily rubbed thin.  Below you can see a photo of the back side of one of the badges, illustrating the thin nature of the piece.  It isn’t uncommon to see these bent or otherwise distorted.Bantam badge clip 1

It can be difficult to find these badges and nearly impossible to find them in perfect condition.  I have paid more than I care to admit for a pair of these and have likewise missed out on a bargain pair which was improperly labeled on ebay.  The problem is that even after you have bought these, you often need to have the reconditioned, and there is always the chance that your plater may damage the thin brass.

A few people have inquired with me about these after I sold off my last spare pair, and disappointingly, I had to turn these other people away.  So, over the past few weeks, I have been pursuing the reproduction of these emblems to help make sure other restorers can have their cars complete and bedazzled with all of their tastefully sparse trim.  At the start of the New Year (2018 if you’re reading this years from now), I am planning to do a small run of these.  They will be solid brass parts that will be chromed and will feature two threaded studs that will be located in the original positions.  They will look original from the front, but will be far more substantial so that they will survive test fitting, removal, reinstallation, and years of proud display.

I am planning on having short run of a few made.  Before I place the order I am looking to see how many of you are interested in these.  They should be around $60 each.

Are you in?

You never know where a lead may take you.

At this point, my nationwide Craigslist safari is a morning ritual.  I get used to seeing a lot of the same ads, but on occasion wonderful treasures emerge.  In fact, the primary foundation for my Sportsman project came from Craigslist as did many of the parts for it.  Most of the time, the ad will present an older restoration of an American Austin in a fairly straight forward manner.  However, there is the odd occasion where something extra special will be hidden in plain sight.

This story begins at the end of September.  Just after returning from vacation, I was working to get back into my normal routine.  Slightly out of practice and unfamiliar with whatever listings may have popped up in the previous two weeks, I scoured the results a little harder.  An unlikely title caught my attention:  “Front Bumper for 1942 Bantam pickup truck”.

As you and I know, American Bantam didn’t build any pickups in 1942.  I figured this was likely a crane truck or something.  However, I clicked anyway and was faced with this:

American Bantam Barn Find

That’s not a Bantam front bumper; I guess it could have been added to a Bantam, but that isn’t something which would have been mounted at the factory onto the front of a truck.  Reading further it sounded like other bits may be available, the thought of other pieces being available got me thinking and I immediately texted the seller.  He only had a photo of the grille, but said he’d send it to me later in the day.  I waited with baited breath and eventually received this:

Bantam Grille

I immediately called the seller after he sent me a photo of a really nice 38 Bantam grille.  He began to explain that he was helping a friend sell these parts which belonged to the friend’s grandfather.  After some more prodding, I learned these parts were all sitting in a garage along with the remains of a pickup truck taken apart long ago.  Later that night, he sent a photo of the cowl tag which revealed that the truck was among the first 500 produced.  I asked what his friend wanted for the whole lot and was given a fairly high price; so I asked for more photos.  For his asking price, I needed to know what was really included.

“Not a problem,” he replied “I’ll have them for you tomorrow.”

Suddenly, silence.  The silence turned from days to weeks and I reached out to the seller a few times.  My curiosity got the best of me; what was for sale and what happened to the seller were questions I became very familiar with pondering the possible answers.  Out of the blue, I heard from the seller again and he reiterated the price.  I waited for photos again, but the same sort of thing happened.

Finally, one night several weeks later, I received a slew of text messages from the seller along with a single photo which supposedly showed the truck as it was before the seller began excavating the garage which was holding it hostage.

Here is the photo:

the truck

I spoke at length with the seller that night and it sounded like we were heading in the right direction.  Since it sounded like a lot of cleaning had taken place since the photo was taken, I asked for a couple photos or at least a better description of the bed and fenders which were supposedly in the bed.  Perhaps I asked for too much.

I haven’t given up all hope yet, but I am not too optimistic that I will ever hear back from the seller.  Yet, as you know, I am pretty persistent.   If there are any updates, I will fill you in.  If not, all I can say is good luck little truck, where ever you end up!

Welcome to December!

I need to get back to blogging about the shop project.  However, in the meantime, I am pleased to share these newly listed items with you.  Please scroll down through the last few posts if you’d like to see what else is available as some of those parts have been relisted.

Enjoy your weekend!

American Austin Grille Chin Panel

American Austin Grille Chin 2

Click here to see the American Austin Grille Chin Panel Sold for 27.50

American Austin Oil Pressure Gauge

American Austin Oil Gauge 1

Click here to see the American Austin Oil Pressure Gauge Sold for 29.00

American Austin Front Axle and Suspension Parts –

This assembly has been listed for several years, although the seller has taken new photos.  Perhaps the seller is open to offers?

American Austin Front Axle 1

Click here to see the American Austin Front Axle and Suspension Parts

American Bantam Cam Shaft and Bushing

This appears to have the correct non-tapered shaft for Bantam timing gears whereas Austins have a tapered interface.


Click here to see the American Bantam Cam Shaft and Bushing

Incorrect Roadster Top Rear Window

This is not correct for an Austin or a Bantam.  Austins used an oval window with an entirely different interior garnish and attachment system.  Bantam generally used very different window frames.


Click here to see the American Bantam Roadster Top Rear WindowSold for 50.00

American Bantam Taillight (NACO) parts (Lens may not be correct)

American Bantam Roadster NACO Tailight Parts 1

Click here to see the American Bantam Taillight (NACO) parts

Black Friday Austin Bantam Sale?

If you are ready to give your credit cards a work out this week, here is a good place to start!

American Austin Instruction Manual

American Austin Instruction Manual

Click here to see the American Austin Instruction Manual Sold for 30.00

1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker

1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker

Click here to see the 1969 American Austin Bantam Club Annual Meet Bumper sticker Sold for 15.00

American Austin Radiator Badge

American Austin Radiator Badge

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge Sold for 58.00

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

American Austin Radiator Badge 2

Click here to see the American Austin Radiator Badge Sold for 129.99

America Austin Bantam Tow Truck & Tractor photos

austin tow truck and tractor 1

Click here to see the America Austin Bantam Tow Truck & Tractor photos Sold for 23.51

America Austin or Bantam Wrist Pins

Click here to see the America Austin or Bantam Wrist Pins

American Austin Key Fob/ trinket

American Austin Badge Fob 3

Click here to see the American Austin Badge Fob  Sold for 33.00

American Bantam Clutch Plate

American Bantam Clutch Plate

Click here to see the American Bantam Clutch Plate Sold for 19.99

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