Last modified 3 December 1999

Sixty Years Too Late!

Gosh, you have to wonder whether an engine like this would have breathed life into the failing Bantam company in 1939 or 40? Think of the hot rodding possibilities and midget racing applications that mght have developed, not to mention the sprightly performance a 1,200 pound V-8 Bantam would have had. Post war sportscars wouldn't have been in it, and even the Corvette Blue Flame Six would likely have seemed anemic. The concept was not new to the company of course. The Swindler V-8 had been presented to the Austin Company for consideration as early as 1932 but they simply did not have the wherewithal to pursue it. Oh well.

Better late than never! Here it is.

The Albro Bantam V8

This is a really a remarkable achievement. A scratch built V-8 engine using pretty much off-the-shelf Bantam parts. Hank Albro, a well known Austin and Bantam enthusiast and entrepreneur created and showed this engine at the Spring Meet (1999) of the American Austin Bantam Club in Carthage, MO. To save space, rather than make thumbnails I'll try to describe the pictures for you afficianados who want to get all the detail. Much thanks to Norm Booth for sending the pictures, and see also his observations below about details.

Hank Albro supplies several hard to find Austin and Bantam parts. He can be reached at the address below, but please don't pester him with a lot of questions about the engine. I'll try to get more information up here as it becomes available.

Hank Albro H&H Plastics

2507 W. Adams St.

Temple,TX 76503-0945


Below are some observations about the engine from Norm Booth who talked to Hank about it: Thanks to Norm.

(1) One of the cylinder head tops had to have the water
outlet reversed (by welding)

(2) Same for one of the water inlets and
exhaust manifolds.

(3) One of the cam gears, and one of the distributor
drive gears were machined with reverse helix teeth to get the proper
sequence for each bank of 4 cylinders.

(4) The crankcase was custom
fabricated and heliarc welded from heavy aluminum plate.

(5) The radiator
is deeper (thicker) than stock, and is pressurized.

(6) A 4 blade fan
fabricated from 2 stock, 2 blade fans is utilized. A single compact belt
driven water pump is used to boost circulation.

(7) Each bank of 4
cylinders is served by a separate stock distributor and coil.

(7.5) The firing order is 1-3-4-2 (with no. 1 being closest to the radiator) for
each bank of cylinders. On a stock Bantam 4 cylinder engine, one
cylinder fires for every 180 degrees rotation of the crank. On Hank's
V-8 engine, the firing is 1R,1L,3R,3L, 4R,4L,2R,2L (where R is on the
right bank of cylinders and L is on the left bank of cylinders.) In
this configuration, when 1R fires, 1L fires 90 crank degrees later and
so on.; Hank starts the engine on 4 cylinders and then cuts in the other
bank of 4 cylinders. The engine runs muchs smoother than a 4 cylinder

(8) Each bank of cylinders has it's own intake manifold and

(9) A single 3 main bearing gear type positive displacement
oil pump is used.(3 main Bantam type with some modification by Hank).

10) The crankshaft is a custom fabricated and machined billet 2 main
bearing crank.(

11)The V-8 engine is installed in a 1938 Bantam panel

(12) A stock Bantam 3 speed gearbox is bolted up to the

(13) The pistons are 3 main Bantam type with a diameter of 2.260

(14) The connecting rods are standard Bantam 2 main bearing

(14.5) The intake and exhaust valves are standard Bantam 2 main
bearing engine type and all the same diameter.(The later 3 main bearing
engine had larger intake valves)

(15) The flywheel is stock late 2 main

(16) All of the engine electrics are stock Bantam made by
Autolite.The system is 6 volts.

(17) The engine mounts are the type used
on the Bantam 3 main engines. One in the center front, and one on each
side back at the transmission.

(18)The two main bearings are babbit

(19)The lubrication system is fully pressurized to the mains and