Lot 1

2015   |   Scottsdale Auctions 2015

1938 American Bantam Roadster

SOLD $44,000


$35,000 - $55,000| Without Reserve



Car Highlights

Fresh Restoration; Striking Color Combination
Historic Example of One of America’s First Compact Cars
Preferred Early-Production Styling Cues
Charming Art Deco Styling by Alexis de Sakhnofsky

Technical Specs

46 CID L-Head Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Single-Barrel Updraft Carburetor
20 BHP at 3,800 RPM
3-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Solid Front Axle with Transverse Leaf Springs
Live Rear Axle with Quarter-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Register to Bid

In 1936, Roy Evans purchased Butler, the firm responsible for the Americanized Austin Seven, and reorganized it as American Bantam. The company’s small four-cylinder engine was improved, with the basic body design updated by Alexis de Sakhnofsky.

Production commenced in 1937 and the Bantam line expanded to 11 body styles by 1940. 6,513 Bantams were built before production ceased in 1941. Ironically, used Bantams soon enjoyed high demand due to strict wartime gasoline rationing. Postwar, the compact and lightweight cars also gained favor with early drag racers and hot-rodders. Today, well-restored examples are highly prized collectibles. A wonderful example of one of America’s earliest compact cars, this sporting Roadster is one of 971 produced in total and one of 512 built for 1938. It sports the preferred early styling cues, including inboard headlamps and a hinged lift-up hood. Acquired in 2011 by the consignor, a longtime collector and Austin Bantam Society member, this Roadster received a frame-of restoration that was completed in May 2014. In addition to its striking exterior finish, a new Haartz cloth convertible top and a new set of side-curtains beautifully complement the Roadster’s exterior. Never shown and brimming with character, this 1938 American Bantam Roadster offers an unparalleled opportunity to own, show, and enjoy a truly historic American compact.