1938-1940 American Bantam Vintage Cars

3 years 4 months ago - 3 years 4 months ago #696 by JP
JP created the topic: 1938-1940 American Bantam Vintage Cars

1939 American Bantam Speedster

American Bantam Car Co.
Butler, Pennsylvania

Energetic Roy S. Evans offered to buy the down-and-out American Austin factory in 1935, but he faced some formidable obstacles. The company owed $75,000 in back truces and interest, and Pullman Standard had a mortgage on the property for $150,000. However, the Federal court with jurisdiction over the bankrupt firm felt Evans might salvage the situation and awarded him the factory for $5000 cash-only which was its appraised value. Evans secured a $250 million loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and hired talent to help him create a new car company.

Styling for the revised model, called the American Bantam, was assigned to Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, who
had created the original American Austin. For the Bantam, de Sakhnoffsky styled a new front end featuring a smooth hood and a rounded grille and also redesigned the fenders and rear deck. His bill came to only $300, and Evans retooled the entire line for a mere $7000.

1938 American Bantam

Racing engineer Harry Miller was hired to work on the mechanical changes, but his efforts were confined to a redesigned manifold. Butler's own engineers contributed most of the engine alterations. They replaced the Austin's expensive roller bearings with Babitt bearings, added full-pressure lubrication, a new three-speed transmission, Hotchkiss final drive, and Ross cam-and­lever steering. Engine displacement was unchanged, though three main bearings were used instead of two after 1939. The wheelbase remained at 75 inches, as on the Austin, but the wheel size shrank from 18 to 16 inches in 1937, and to 15 inches in 1938. The frame and cross-members of the Bantam were heavier than the

1938 American Bantam Series 60

For 1937, two roadsters and three coupes were offered, priced at $381-$492. For 1938 and 1939, several new models appeared, including a speedster with a pretty "Duesenberg sweep" side panel, and the novel
Boulevard Delivery. The latter had an open driver's compartment ahead of a squared-off panel body. It was described as "a jewel box on wheels," and although it was certainly unique, it didn't sell well.

American Bantam Boulevard Delivery

1940 American Bantam Riviera

The 1938 Bantam line included three roadsters, four coupes, and a station wagon as well as the speedster and Boulevard Delivery. For 1939, a convertible called the Riveria was added. Designed by Alex Tremulis, it sold for about $500. Tremulis has recalled that the Riveria would cruise at 75-80 mph and average 42.5 mpg (presumably at considerably lower speeds). Bantam production continued into 1941, but even dynamic Roy Evans wasn't able to convince Americans of the value of his tiny package. Bantam output was about 2000 cars in 1938 and 1200 in 1939. For 1940-41, production failed to reach 1000 units and ceased altogether shortly after the 1941 model year began. Bantam then concentrated on building a prototype for what ultimately became the Army Jeep, which it also manufactured during WW II. Though Bantam didn't build as many Jeeps as Ford and Willys-Overland, it does get credit for designing the original.

American Bantam Field Car

1938 American Bantam Series 60

1939 American Bantam Station Wagon Woodie

American Bantam engine

American Bantam Roadster

We hope you enjoy our trips back into time. These are all amazing cars. Please explore our cars for sale, parts for sales, business listings, our restoration project 1970 Dodge Challenger convertible will soon be posted to show each phase of progress. See you again soon, best, JP
Last Edit: 3 years 4 months ago by JP.

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