Original Source Documents: September 25, 1939 - F. H. Fenn, Vice President, American Bantam Car Company to Lt. Col. H. C. Lawes, QMC
Contributor: Todd G. Paisley
Source: National Archives - Philadelphia
AMERICAN BANTAM CAR COMPANY
September 25, 1939,
Lieut. Col. H. C. Lawes,
Holabird Quartermaster Depot,
Some months ago this company made
the error of selling three Bantam chasses to the Quartermaster Corps for trial,
which was a serious mistake inasmuch as these cars in no way came up to the
government requirements - in fact they were the first series of cars
manufactured by this company and had I been connected with the company at that
time I would not have permitted the sale. Since then, however, our entire unit
has been redesigned and our 1940 models, will, in my opinion, provide anything:
and everything demanded for army use up to their carrying capacity. The present car is equipped with a
three-bearing engine with 25% more horsepower than those originally used. They are equipped with two-way springs and
hydraulic shock absorbers. The frame has been strengthened and the radius rod
assembly in the front end has been greatly strengthened. These cars will go over hills any place
within a hundred-mile radius of
I am sure if you will look up the records of the old car, you will decide that there is nothing about these to which the old one could be compared and the thing we are after, Colonel, is an opportunity to demonstrate these cars to you again at our expense.
During the maneuvers at Manassas<, Majors Eggers and Leetch used one of these cars for reconnaissance purposes and found them far more satisfactory than a motorcycle and sidecar. They could go anywhere the foregoing vehicle could go and many places where they could not because of their power. The use of these cars is in no way confined to highways. They followed marching troops every here, over any trail which the troops chanced to follow. The cars were extremely well liked with the result that Major Eggers has given me your name, together with several others in the War Department, in the Quartermaster Corps, because he is of the opinion that there is a definite place for our equipment in the service.
As an example, the Pickup Truck could be extremely useful to the Signal Corps; while the roadster could be used by almost any division of the Service in place of motorcycle and sidecar equipment.
If it is possible to arrange a demonstration of the new 1940 car any place which you may see fit, we will gladly take the necessary equipment to whichever spot may be designated, together with any instruments which may be required to prove out compression, mileage, etc.
I realize that it is pretty difficult to get a second trial on any product but we feel our present cars will be extremely useful and would like very much to conduct a second test for you.
Thanking you for whatever consideration you may see fit to show us, I remain
Very truly yours,
s/ F. H. Fenn
Vice President &
Frank H Fenn/cs