- Styled by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky; American Bantam’s “Jewel Box on Wheels”
- 747-cc L-head inline-four; three-speed manual gearbox
- Well-preserved and award-winning restoration
- One of five known by marque experts
In the late 1930s, Roy Evans purchased the defunct American Austin Automobile Company, hoping to reverse the cheerful Austin Seven’s fortunes in America. Reinventing it as the American Bantam Company, Evans updated the cars with more powerful engines and commissioned Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, best known for his work on Auburns and Cords, to inject some serious style. Bantam expanded the Austin line to include a sporty roadster and “Hollywood” cabriolet, and several commercial-oriented bodies including a pickup, panel truck, and charming Boulevard Delivery, as featured here.
Conceived as an urban delivery car for florists, bakers, and such, the stylish Boulevard Delivery was based on the roadster. Period literature described it as a “Jewel Box on Wheels,” a particularly appropriate sobriquet for this marvelous example. As one of just five known by marque experts, it is among the rarest of Bantam variants. This car was acquired by well-known Bantam collectors Cal and Irma Burtner in 1977. Mr. Burtner restored it in the 1990s to a very high standard and showed it in club events and concours. A few years later, the Burtners sold the car to N. Mark Becker, co-chair of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, who had just petitioned for a Bantam class for the 2009 event. Once authenticating it as a genuine Boulevard Delivery, Mr. Becker set about elevating the restoration to world-class standards.
This Boulevard has racked up concours accolades and club honors, including AACA Senior National and Grand National awards, and the American Austin Bantam Club’s Roy Evans Trophy for Best in Show. Since changing hands again, it has remained in beautiful condition, still looking resplendent in its two-tone burgundy livery and gently mellowed restoration.
Diminutive in stature yet beautifully proportioned, this rare and eminently charming American Bantam is sure to deliver truckloads of joy wherever it goes.