Tag Archives: American Bantam

Snorkeling Down Under – Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Chrysler group CEO Tom LaSorda launched the new wider third generation ‘JK’ Jeep Wrangler at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit by driving it up the steps of the hosting Cobo Convention Centre and through a plate glass window just as his predecessor Robert Lutz had done when he launched the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 1992.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Chantal Binding, Reynolds River, Litchfield National Park

Third generation Wranglers, descendents of the originals built by American Bantam, are built in short wheel base 2 door or long wheel base 4 door Unlimited form like the 2009 model seen in these photographs taken in Australia.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Australia

This particular vehicle called Rockzee belongs to my friend Chantal who for several years has been working far off road with communities in the Australian outback where often a lone tree or an unusual pile of rocks in the landscape are her only navigation aids.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Darwin, Australia

Rockzee is powered by a VM Motori 4 cylinder 2,766 cc / 168.8 cui turbo diesel R428 double over head cam (DOHC) motor, note Chantal has recently had an air intake snorkel fitted for trailing through even deeper waters than the Reynolds River in Litchfield National Park seen here.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Chantal Binding, Reynolds River, Litchfield National Park

Enjoying her off roading at work Chantal bought Rockzee 3 years ago from a Doctor in New South Wales and had the ARB Bull Bar and spot lights fitted, to enjoy off roading in her spare time.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Chantal Binding, Litchfield National Park

Next Chantal hopes to get the suspension adjusted to lift the chassis by 3 inches so the that the wheel arches can accommodate some more serious off road tyres.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Alice Springs, Australia

Since recently relocating from Alice Springs to Darwin Chantal has hooked up with like minded Jeep enthusiasts the NT (Northern Territories) Jeepers which was founded by Andy Swaka, any one passionate about the four letter word JEEP can get in touch with the NT Jeepers on the facebook page linked here.

My thanks to Chantal for sharing her photographs taken at Alice Springs and in Darwin and for arranging for us to see the photographs taken by Andy Swaka’s partner Brenda who took the photo’s of Rockzee wading through Litchfield National Park.

Thanks for joining me on this “Snorkeling Down Under edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a California Highway Patrol car. Don’t forget to come back now.

Wishing all Psychoontyres readers and contributors a Happy and Healthy New Year.


Belchfire Runabout – American Bantam 60 Convertible

In 1935 former American Austin Car Company salesman Roy Evans bought the American Austin Company assets after they had manufactured 20,000 American Austins and filed for bankruptcy.

American Bantam, The Little Car Show, City of Marina

He had the 819cc / 50 cui Austin 7 derived 4 cylinder motor upgraded to produce 23 hp by none other than Harry Miller builder of multiple Indy 500 winning cars and father to the famous line of Offenhauser racing motors.

American Bantam, The Little Car Show, City of Marina

The original American Austin Car Company products Austin 7 derived body was completely restyled by Russian Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky who also styled the contemporaneous Cords and Auburns of the day and later post war Tucker.

American Bantam, The Little Car Show, City of Marina

Production of the American Bantam 60 got underway in 1937 with; Coupé, Roadster, Convertible, Speedster, Woodie Station Wagon and pick up variants, the 1940 American Bantam 60 Convertible Coupé seen here is thought to be one of just 60 that were built.

American Bantam, The Little Car Show, City of Marina

Between 7 and 8,000 Bantam 60’s of all type were produced up until 1941 when the company switched production to the original run of 2,765 Jeeps designed by Karl Probst designated BRC (Bantam Reconnaissance Car) 40. Austin Bantam lost the really big contract for further Jeeps due to fears their production facility at Butler, Pennsylvania did not have sufficient capacity. As a result Ford and Willys Overland were given the biggest Jeep contracts and the original American BRC 40 designs were passed on as required while American Battam productuction switched to Jeep T3 trailers.

American Bantam, The Little Car Show, City of Marina

It is said that the drawings for the 1934 Belchfire Runabout driven by Donald Duck and first seen in 1937 were inspired by the American Bantam 60, despite the Belchfire being known to have been built by Donald using a 1920 Mixwell engine, ’22 Dudge body, ’23 Paclac axles with wheels off a lawn mower!

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing these photographs taken at The Little Car Show in the City of Marina earlier this year.

Thanks for joining me on this “Belchfire Runabout” edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for “Ferrari Friday” tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !