Monday, July 26, 2010

Where is Wes now?

More pictures added today to slide show - 7/27

I happen to be in Springfield, Illinois at the National American Austin Bantam Club meet.  So far, I am finding Springfield not to be the epitome of urban planning, but that is not why I am here.  My father is a car collector and many of you know that I am spending some extended time with him over this summer.  Back in 1940, my grandparents bought a "second car" - a used 1939 American Bantam Standard Coupe.  My father was 15 at the time and he drove it quite a bit - from Ohio to Massachusetts, from Ohio to Florida - with and without my grandparents.  They kept the car and used it regularly as a second car in the years that passed after my father moved out of the house.  As my grandparents aged, they transferred ownership of the car to my father and it remains in the family to this day - some 70 years later!  It's name is "Baby B."

This is how the car looked this morning.  We were moving some other vehicles and I caught my father maneuvering the wheel. We did not bring it to the meet.
Just coincidently, we moved another Bantam, this one a 1938 Roadster, yesterday morning to another location in Madison,, IN - where my father lives.  This is a picture of it getting tied down on a trailer.
Bantams, and the American Austins that preceded them were ahead of their time - they represented the introduction of compact and economical cars to a marketplace that wasn't quite ready to accept them.  The company did design the "jeep" and made about 3,000 during World War II, but production demands spread the duty to Willys and Ford due to their additional manufacturing capacity.  You can read more about it with the link provided above and do your own poking around the Internet if you are interested..

For me, they are more like roller-skates than a car - they are all of ten feet long and at 6' 5", it's just not possible to drive one - unless one was built around me.  Anyway, the following is a slide show from the welcoming barbecue today we had at a local park with pictures of some of the cars.  I will add more to the slide show as the week progresses if you want to check back.

Here is a link to the club's website.

1 comment:

Russ said...

Wonderful! Not many can claim ownership of anything that long, though it would be great to see it running regularly again. And it might be tight, but if I can fit into one, you can too. Fun!

Glad you provided the club link, Wes. Many people would be surprised to know how many US auto companies there were before WW2. Great pieces of rolling history there.