Lot 203

Monterey 2011

1941 American Bantam Convertible Coupe


$27,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.

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"

- Ex-General William Lyon and David E. Walters private collections

- One of 60 Convertible Coupes produced

- An older but well-maintained AACA award-winning restoration

Despite the economy-minded Great Depression-era auto market, American Austin failed after its first six years of production in 1934. However, by 1937 its indefatigable champion Roy Evans managed to resuscitate the firm as the American Bantam Car Company. The marque’s basic 50-cubic inch four-cylinder engine was pepped up somewhat with the able assistance of famed engineer Harry Miller, and Alexis de Sakhnoffsky skillfully updated the Bantam line with an up-to-date, streamlined design theme, earning the princely sum of $300 for his services.

Bantam styling was a charming blend of curves and colors that remains as captivating today as it was in the immediate pre-WWII years. Fuel economy was excellent, but the cars never really caught on, and less than 7,000 Bantams were produced before production finally ended for good. Ironically, soon after Pearl Harbor and America’s full-scale entry into the war, Bantams were highly sought-after in the face of strict wartime gasoline rationing. Postwar, the compact and lightweight Bantams found favor with early drag racers, and today, restored examples are highly prized collectibles that never fail to draw admiring crowds wherever they are shown.

Finished in tan with a handsome vermillion pinstripe and brown upholstery with matching carpets, this 1941 American Bantam Convertible Coupe is complete with desirable features including a Haartz cloth top, skirted fenders and bumper guards. It remains an attractive and well-maintained older restoration that has earned AACA National First Prize honors on the show field, and its caretakers include such noted and respected collectors as General William Lyon and the late David E. Walters, in addition to its current owner.

Perhaps America’s original “micro car” and steeped in its maker’s fascinating history during the difficult prewar automobile market, this stylish 1941 American Bantam is particularly rare as one of just 60 Convertible Coupes ever produced. Eligible for a wide variety of events and shows, it also benefits from extensive and friendly club support, making it an ideal classic-car choice for many collectors.