In 1940 a small company out of Butler, Pennsylvania, called American Bantam spent the summer designing and building a prototype vehicle for the U.S. Army that would become one of America’s most iconic vehicle types: the U.S. Army Jeep. According to a press release, the new American Bantam Car Corp. is about to relaunch in the automobile market with a new class of vehicles they call “Street-Legal Off Road,” aimed directly at ATV and side-by-side consumers.
Here's the scoop from the company:
Charlie Paglee, American Bantam’s founder and CEO, describes American Bantam as “a heritage mobility brand bringing cutting edge plug-in hybrid-electric powertrain technology to propel the off-road industry into the 21st century.”
Depending on how you look at it, they are either carving out a new vehicle class, or bringing back an old vehicle class that probably disappeared when the Jeep CJ-7 and the Suzuki Samurai were discontinued.
American Bantam aims to fill the market vacuum between side-by-sides that are not legal to drive on federal highways and off-road SUVs that are heavy, gentrified and expensive. American Bantam will manufacture and sell vehicles in the middle that are powerful, durable, lightweight, easy to repair with clean emissions that have the horsepower and torque to drive anywhere.
American Bantam will launch three new BRC models in the USA in 2024: the all-new BRC-20 2-door, BRC 22 4-door and BRC-25 2-door pickup. All American Bantam BRC-2X vehicles will be equipped and durable enough to drive out of showrooms without modification or customization.
American Bantam Street-Legal Off-Road vehicles promise the performance, durability and price point of off-road-only UTVs, with reduced emissions and improved safety, in a vehicle that is legal to drive on any road or highway in the USA.
To offer even more horsepower and torque, American Bantam is developing a 4WD Plug-In Hybrid-Electric powertrain, which will greatly exceed the torque and horsepower of almost every UTV engine, with a 150,000 mile powertrain lifespan. The electric motor’s instant torque delivers incredible climbing capability to match or exceed UTV performance.
According to the American Bantam website, the company will manufacture vehicles in the USA and in China. When asked about the location of the USA factory, Paglee explained the company is in late-stage negotiations to purchase an existing manufacturing plant and have been approached by two different contract manufacturing partners in the USA.