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1939 Bantam Roadster


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An article,Family's Jewel, printed in the Sep-Oct 2007 American Austin Bantam Club News inspired this page.  My (Ruth's) cousin Steve Stillwell is President of the club and he graciously sent copies of the Club News to me and my siblings.  We hope you enjoy the article and all the 'old' pictures therein.
1942 and 2007
A little preface to the article:  What is a "Bantam Roadster"?  Bantam was a car produced for 3 years (1938-1940) in Butler Pennsylvania by The American Bantam Car Company.  The company continued to exist until 1952, producing military vehicles.  According to online articles, Bantam produced the original Jeep prior to relinquishing the name to Willys.   Ruth's Father Graham (Andy) Anderson was inspired enough to purchase a 1939 version of the Roadster! 

The little Bantam Roadster or "Bantam Rooster", as Daddy often called it, managed to survive some 40+ years parked in garages that protected it only from the rain.  It was a very lucky little "Rooster"!  In the late 80's, it and its documents were transferred to my Uncle (Den Stillwell).  He and his son Steve restored it to its original glory! WOW!
                           Little Bantam

Tom and I made a trip up to North Carolina in June this year (2007) for a family get together.  We also went out to Steve and his wife Carla's place to see the now restored Bantam!  WOW!  What fun it was to again ride in the "Rooster".  While I'd ridden in it as a toddler, and a couple of times after that when Daddy got it running just long enough to move it from one garage to another, I didn't remember seeing it in true, full time, running condition. 

Daddy had promised to have it running for my 16th birthday (in 1958).  That not happening, it was only this year (2007) that I had an opportunity to drive it!  I was TOTALLY surprised when Steve offered me the opportunity and I managed to drive it for a couple of miles without stripping the gears!  Guess it's like riding a bicycle!

Daddy taught me to drive (about age 8) in an American Austin (predecessor to the Bantam) which he had kept running.  It was our family car until ~1950 when we got a 1948 Buick Special!  The '48 Buick, nicknamed "the bullet",  happened to be the one he revived from the field for me to drive my senior year of high school (1958-59)!

Below is a link to the "Family's Jewel" article posted in the Sep-Oct 2007 American Austin Bantam Club News.  The club, of which my cousin Steve is president, has provided us an electronic copy of the article and given us permission to publish it here.  Cathy Cunningham, co-editor of the Newsletter, and author of the article created such a fabulous tribute to my Daddy and the little Bantam.  I cannot thank her enough. And, mostly, I cannot thank Steve and Carla enough for their dedication to keeping the little "Rooster" alive!

Family's Jewel

Below are other links related to the American Austin Bantam Club, they provide the fascinating history of the little cars:
American Austin Bantam Club
Austin/Bantam page on Hemmings


You don't have to own one to be a member of the club.  If  you're a fan and want to join, here's how:
Join the club
!

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