10-11 October 2013

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Lot 209

1939 American Bantam Deluxe Roadster

  • Chassis no. 64001

Sold for $27,500

Model 62. 23 bhp, 50 cu. in. L-head inline four-cylinder engine, single-barrel carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 74.5 in.

  • A charming American microcar
  • Well-restored in attractive colors
  • Diminutive size, unlimited fun

Few manufacturers before or since have believed in their product as much as Roy Evans did. The creator of the American Austin refused to give up after the tiny little car failed in 1934, and by 1937, a revised and modernized version, the American Bantam, was rolling out of the factory in Butler, Pennsylvania. The car’s basic 50-cubic inch, four-cylinder engine was pepped up somewhat, with the able assistance of famed racing engineer Harry Miller, while Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky skillfully updated the Bantam line with an up-to-date, streamlined design, earning the princely sum of $300 for his services.

The Bantam, like the Austin before it, was a car ahead of its time. It was small, it was incredibly economical, and it was, for lack of a better word, adorable. Those qualities, which work so well for sales of today’s small cars, didn’t impress buyers of the late 1930s. Fewer than 7,000 were produced before production ended for good in 1941. Sadly, it was shortly before many Bantam buyers came to appreciate the fuel-sipping little runabouts in the days of rationing ahead. The company’s lasting influence was, in its final months, developing a small prototype military vehicle, with mass-production of which being handled by Ford. It would come to be known as the jeep.

Today, Bantams have developed quite a following among enthusiasts, as they are supported by an active club and always bring the most “smiles per mile” to any collector car event.

The beautiful Roadster offered here has received a high-quality restoration in blue and cream, and its brown leather upholstery is a wonderful complement to the wood-grained dashboard. Desirably, it is finished in Deluxe trim, with chrome trim strips on the radiator shell, wheel trim rings, and a two-tone “sweep panel” finish, elegantly recalling the Duesenbergs and Cadillacs of the 1930s. Given the great popularity of microcars on the market, this represents a wonderful chance to get behind the wheel of an all-American original.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more