1940 American Bantam RoadsterSOLD
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Estimate: $25,000-$35,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

$27,500 Sold

Specifications: Model 65. 22bhp, 50 cu. in. inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, beam axle with transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 75"

Based upon the English Austin Seven, the American Austin was introduced in 1930 but sadly encountered a market unwilling to accept its uncommonly small design. The company failed four years later, only to be resuscitated in 1937 by its unrelenting champion, Roy Evans, as the American Bantam Car Company. Evans developed a redesigned engine with three main bearings and commissioned Alexis de Sakhnoffsky to create the definitive Bantam styling, a charming blend of curves and colors that is as enticing today as it was in 1939.

The American Bantam offered here is one of only 55 such Roadsters ever assembled and reportedly one of three prototypes built ahead of schedule in 1939. It was acquired in the late 1990s and restored by an enthusiast in Chicago before its sale to the Wiseman Collection in 1999.

Although the American Bantam sports an older mechanical and cosmetic restoration, the car has held up very well and certainly remains presentable. It is finished predominately in maroon metallic with attractive cream accents. Minor dents and chips are visible upon closer inspection of the body, but are largely inconsequential and do not detract from the car ’ s overall quality. The brightwork is also of driver quality and has been restored to a respectable finish. The interior features maroon upholstery with matching carpeting, both of which appear to be consistent with the balance of the car ’ s restoration. The simple, cream-colored dash is free of any visible flaws, steering wheel and instrumentation included. Meanwhile, the engine compartment is likely one of the finer points of this car as it has been nicely cleaned, detailed, and refinished with a royal blue engine block and new hoses and clamps. In fact, the undercarriage is one of the car ’ s very few shortcomings, as the older repair of the floor pans is not on par with the overall restoration but would simply require brief professional attention. Befitting this car ’ s significance, extensive historical Bantam information and photos are provided with the car in its sale.

The American Bantam Roadster, of which this car is a particularly rare example, is undoubtedly a niche car whose loyal enthusiasts recognize a blend of British and American themes in a diminutive car of tremendous driving pleasure.

Reference Number 14910

as of 11/3/2007

Car 1940 American Bantam Roadster
VIN 65268 
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