To create the American Bantam, Evans hired racing engineer Harry Miller to consult with his engineers and Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, who designed a new body with a smooth hood, rounded grille and curvy fenders. He charged Evans a mere $300, and the line was retooled for only $7,000.
1938 American Bantam 60 roadster.
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The Bantam l-head engine had full-pressure lubrication; the cars had a new three-speed transmission and cam-and-lever steering. Engines boasted three main bearings after 1939, making the 1940-1941 models the best of Butler mechanically.
These last cars also had improved brakes, Monroe shocks, Goodyear "air-form" seat cushions (deluxe models), and headlamps mounted in the fenders.
Pluses of the 1938-1941 American Bantam:
- Cute and attractive
- Outstanding operating economy
- A more developed version of the American Austin
Minuses of the 1938-1941 American Bantam:
- Still underpowered
- Parts problems
- Engine durability questionable through 1939
Production of the 1938-1941 American Bantam*:
- 1936: under 500
- 1937: 3,500 (estimated)
- 1938: 2,000 (estimated)
- 1939: 1,229
- 1940: 800
- 1941: 138
*Recorded from industry sources. Factory produced no cars in 1935-1936; these may have been leftovers or assembled from parts. 1939-1941 figures are calendar year.
Specifications of the 1938-1941 American Bantam:
Wheelbase, inches: 75.0
Length, inches: 105.0
Weight, pounds: 1,130-1,434
Price, new: $399-565
Engines for the 1938-1941 American Bantam:
Type Size Horsepower Years sv I-4 46 cid 20 1938-1939 sv I-4 50.1 cid 22 1940-1941
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