The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 113
1941 Bantam Riviera Roadster

Selling on Saturday

1941 Bantam Riviera Roadster


• A well-known car to the members of the American Bantam Club
• Upgraded engine, transmission and rear end
• One-of-a-kind landau hardtop included, along with soft top
• Twin side-mounted spares and quad lamps up front for a classic look

1200 cc, inline four-cylinder engine, 50 HP, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with traverse leaf springs, live rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs; wheelbase: 75

American Bantam rose from the bankruptcy of American Austin Car Company. The Austins were built in Butler, Pennsylvania, from 1930 to 1934, but they never developed enough sales to survive the competition of established automakers. American Bantam produced cars from 1937 to 1941, with prices from $399 to $565. When WWII threatened, they poured their resources into winning the US Army contract for the Jeep, and folded when Willys was awarded the contract.

This 1941 Bantam Riviera convertible is truly a one-of-a-kind, as this chassis #66229 is the only example known to exist with all its unique features. None other than Alex Tremulis was the designer, and he went all out - combining twin side-mounted spares and a kids back seat into a 75 chassis. This Riviera sports an upgraded four-cylinder British engine, a four-speed transmission and a longer-geared rear end out of a Metropolitan, for a combination of sporty performance and classic looks that is hard to beat.

Its a striking presentation in red and black paint, an immaculate new interior, a very art-deco style profile, and even a rear-mounted luggage rack. You can't miss the chrome trimmed rear wheel spats, and dual side-mounted spares inset into the black fenders. Quad lamps up front, with dual spotlights and dual mirrors for the occupants give this car a true classic vibe. Add in a soft top that is complemented by a one-off landau hard top, and its easy to see why this car was sought-after and owned for many years by the President of the Bantam Club here in the US.

Very powerful for the vintage, certainly very cute, and definitely very rare, it all adds up to a very fun car that will be welcomed into nearly any collector-vehicle event. If you have ever yearned for a classic motoring experience in a truly unique pre-war sports car, this is an immense opportunity to take home one of the best.

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