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  2. American Bantam Car Company In World War Two / WWII

American Bantam Car Company in World War Two
Butler, PA

1935- 1956
Rest in Peace

This page updated 2-28-2020.

The American Bantam Car Company was originally formed in 1929 as American Austin Car Company. In 1936 it was reorganized as the American Bantam Car Company after filing for bankruptcy. The company introduced a line of small British designed Austins in 1930. Sales for 1930 of only 8,558 fell considerably short of the 60,000 expected to be sold by the company's 4,000 dealers. Sales would not get any better after the reorganization of the company in 1936, and the last American Bantams were built in 1940. The company and the concept of selling a small car in the United States was ahead of its time. It wouldn't be until after World War Two that small cars would sell enough in the United States to gain acceptable market share.

The ACM number itself can, at some points during production, tell us what the serial number/DOD was for a Bantam or Willys. The trailers made in 1945 by other mfgers have slightly different methods of dating, marking and such but again, without a data plate we only have the ACM number to indicate anything regarding the missing info. Bantam War Time Serial Numbers and Production Totals; Model: Year: Starting Serial Number: Ending Serial Number: Total Production: Notes: BRC-60: 1940: 01: 70: 70: The BRC was Bantam's prototype Jeep that went up against the Willys MA and the Ford GP to try to win the contract with the U.S. Government for the best designed jeep.

American Bantam's opportunity for growth came with the competition to develop a new 1/4-ton four wheel drive vehicle for the U.S. Army. Out of this competition with Ford and Willy-Overland, American Bantam's design laid the ground work for what would be forever known as the Jeep. However, due to Bantam's limited facilities and the production requirement of 75 units a day before WWII began, the U.S. Army gave the high-volume contracts to Ford and Willys-Overland. American Bantam would find its World War Two niche as a manufacturer of various types of trailers.

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American Austin and American Bantam Automobile Production

American AustinYearly Production
1930 8,558
1931 1,279
1932 3,845
1933 4,726
1934 1,551
1935-19370
Total19,959
American Bantam
1938 2,000
1939-1941 Unknown, but not very many.


This 1931 American Austin Roadster is on display at the LaPorte County Historical Society Museum in LaPorte, IN. It is just one of several rare vehicles on display at this museum. Author's photo added 10-30-2018.


Author's photo added 10-30-2018.


Author's photo added 10-30-2018.


Author's photo added 10-30-2018.


This is a very rare 1940 American Bantam Standard Coupe. Only 11 were produced, as it was years ahead of its time as a small economical two-passenger vehicle. Weighing only 1,100 pounds, it was powered by a four-cylinder 22 hp engine. Author's photo from the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI.


Author's Photo.


Author's Photo.


Author's Photo.


American Bantam Car Company won the Army-Navy 'E' Award three times during WWII.

American Bantam Car Company World War Two Production Statistics: (2,642) Jeeps, and (92,654) trailers of different sizes. Up to 58 of the 1/4-ton 4x4 Command Trucks (Jeep) were four-wheel steer.

American Bantam Car Company World War Two Vehicles Accepted by Detroit Ordnance, US Army
The information below comes from 'Summary Report of Acceptances, Tank-Automotive Material, 1940-1945'
Published by Army Services Forces, Office, Chief of Ordnance-Detroit, Production Division, Requirements and Progress Branch
January 21, 1946.
Type American Bantam Model194019411942194319441945Total
1/4-ton 4x4 Command Truck (Jeep)BRC702,5722,642
1/4-ton 4x2 Chassis11
1/4-ton Two Wheel Cargo TrailerT-38,60230,72915,22019,01873,569
3/4-Ton Two Wheel Bomb Trailer M29144144
1-Ton Two Wheel Cargo Trailer13,8624,72518,587
6-ton Semi Trailer Two Wheel Van19335354
Total Vehicles of all types702,5728,60344,59119,96419,49795,297

Author's Note and Disclaimer: The Detroit Office of Ordnance of the U.S. Army was the primary purchasing entity for vehicles for the U.S. Army during WWII. It also purchased vehicles for the USMC, US Navy, and for Lend-Lease. Office home & student 2013 for mac torrent software. However, there were other organizations that also purchased vehicles including the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Air Force, U.S. Army Signal Corps, Navy Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, and foreign countries making direct purchases.


The Sam Werner Military Museum in Monteagle, TN has two 1941 Bantam jeeps. This is one of fifty that were built with four-wheel steer. It is serial number 2588 and was delivered 11-10-41. Author's photo added 2-28-2020.


Author's photo added 2-28-2020.


Author's photo added 2-28-2020.


This one is a two-wheel steer at the Sam Werner Military Museum. Author's photo added 2-28-2020.


Author's photo added 2-28-2020.


It is serial number 1458 and was built 4-1941. Author's photo added 2-28-2020.

This American Bantam Jeep is on display at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum at the Columbus, IN airport. Author's photo added 3-24-2018.


Author's photo added 3-24-2018.

Author's photo added 3-24-2018.


This vehicle is serial number 1398 out of 2642, and was delivered to the Quartermaster Corps in April 1941. Author's photo added 3-24-2018.


Author's photo added 3-24-2018.


This is Bantam Jeep serial number 1208, located at the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum in Huntsville, AL. Author's photo added 3-24-2018.

Bantam trailer serial numbers


Author's photo added 3-24-2018.


Author's photo added 3-24-2018.


Author's photo added 3-24-2018.


American Bantam built 73,569 T-3 Jeep Trailers like this on display at the 2013 MVPA Rally at the Ropkey Armor Museum. Willys-Overland designed and also built the trailer. Author's Photo.


Author's Photo.


This Bantam T-3 Trailer was built on May 5, 1944 and was serial number 42658. Author's Photo.


Here is an American Bantam trailer in USMC markings as seen at the 2013 Great Georgia Airshow. Author's Photo.


Author's Photo.


This 1945 Bantam trailer was seen on display at the Kokomo Automotive Museum in Kokomo, IN. Author's Photo.


It was hooked up to a 1942 Ford GPW Jeep. Author's Photo.


This was actually built after the war ended. Author's Photo.


Photo added 4-30-2017.

American Bantam Car Company In World War Two / WWII


This is a one-ton two-wheel trailer that would have been pulled behind 2-1/2-ton 6x6 trucks. Built 2-18-1944, it was of wooden construction to save on hard-to-get steel. Author's photo from the 2014 MVPA National Convention in Louisville, KY on June 28. Photo added 7-28-2014.


While the ID tag shows a 2 ton gross, the maximum payload itself is one ton. Author's photo from the 2014 MVPA National Convention in Louisville, KY on June 28. Photo added 7-28-2014.


While on display at the convention, it was set up as a communication trailer. Author's photo from the 2014 MVPA National Convention in Louisville, KY on June 28. Photo added 7-28-2014.

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Author's photo from the 2014 MVPA National Convention in Louisville, KY on June 28. Photo added 7-28-2014.


Author's photo from the 2014 MVPA National Convention in Louisville, KY on June 28. Photo added 7-28-2014.


This American Bantam one-ton trailer was seen at the 2017 MVPA National Convention in Cleveland, OH on June 23. Photo's added 10-28-2018.


The trailer is Serial Number 14722, built 1-20-1944. Photo's added 10-28-2018.


Photo added 4-30-2017.


Photo added 4-30-2017.

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