1941 American Bantam Model 65 Riviera Convertible Sedan
Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 2, 2022
The Austin Seven is the car that put Britain on wheels. It was licensed in different parts of the world, including by Rosengart in France and the less-creatively named American Austin in… America. American Austin launched in 1929, with the first cars sold as 1930 models. So, not great timing, even though they were relatively cheap.
Bankruptcy followed in 1935. Three years later the company relaunched as American Bantam with revised streamlined styling. Bantam sales continued through 1941, with finances being tight the whole time. American Bantam designed the original Jeep prototype, although they didn’t survive long enough to actually produce it. And today Willys gets all the credit.
Power is from a 747cc inline-four rated at 22 horsepower. The Riviera Convertible Sedan was offered in 1940 and 1941 only and retailed for $525. This restored example is one of about 6,000-7,000 American Bantams produced in total. Click here for more info.
Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | May 7, 2016
Photo – Auctions America
When one thinks of Studebaker, they don’t necessarily recall that Studebaker launched multiple sub-brands during its lifetime. Rockne was one such brand. It was introduced in 1932 – shortly after giving legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne a job as “Promotional Manager” (both Studebaker and Notre Dame hail from South Bend, Indiana). Rockne died in a plane crash in 1931, less than two weeks after accepting his new position.
The Rockne was marketed as an inexpensive but solid budget car. Two models were available at launch with this, the Model 65, being the entry-level model. It is powered by a 66 horsepower 3.1-liter straight-six. There were five body styles offered on the Model 65, with the Four-Door Sedan being mid-range, price-wise, costing $635 when new.
This is an ex-museum car and is very nice. Only 23,201 Rocknes were ever built, as the brand was shuttered before the halfway point of 1933. It’s a rare piece of American motoring history and should bring between $12,000 and $16,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Gooding & Company, Amelia Island, Florida, March 9, 2012
The Rambler nameplate has a long and winding history that dates back to 1897 when Thomas B. Jeffrey built his first prototype automobile. Production started in 1902 and Rambler was instantly the second-largest American car company behind Oldsmobile. In 1914, Jeffrey’s son replaced “Rambler” with “Jeffrey” and the Rambler name disappeared for the first time. Jeffrey was acquired by Nash in 1916 and Nash re-introduced the Rambler as a Nash model in 1950. When Nash merged with Hudson to form American Motors in 1954, Hudson also shared the Rambler model. In the early 1960s Rambler became its own marque under the AMC corporate umbrella (Nash and Hudson were both unceremoniously killed by this time). Rambler disappeared in the U.S. for the second and final time in 1969 (it survived on dubious licensed built cars until 1983).
Well there’s your history lesson for the day. This particular Rambler is a Model 65 – the only one known to exist. It makes 45 horsepower from its 5.2-liter 4-cylinder T-head engine. But look at this car:
Look how large and imposing this thing is. This is the type of car you go out to a country house for a weekend in with six other people. Unpaved roads and grassy fields. And doing it before the Titanic sank – or at least before WWI. There are numerous examples in film to support my theory (A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy and Finding Neverland are two that come to mind. If you’re here from Twitter and wondering where the explanation is, well you’re looking at it).
I love big pre-WWI cars like this. In fact, I want an entire fleet of them. There are so many different makes to choose from. Collect them all. Whoever the next owner caretaker of this machine is or will be, I hope they enjoy it as much as I am in my head.
It was restored in 2008 and looks great. And for $290,000-$340,000, it should. To read more, click here and here for more on the auction.