What if Powel Crosley had bought into American Bantam instead?
- What if Powel Crosley had bought into American Bantam instead of starting production of his own line of cars? .
A question that arises here is how well Crosley and Roy Evans (president of Bantam) would work together ... because if they couldn't, they'd all be sunk, Crosley Motors, American Bantam, the Jeep, et al.
Bantam then had a reputation for reliability; the early Crosleys didn't. Bantams sold poorly domestically but did well in foreign markets, but Crosley sales weren't bad at first, with a few bumps. The Crosley name was good for sales, too.
Bantam designed the vehicle that would become the Jeep. Crosley's military vehicles weren't successful. But with the extra capital and clout of Crosley behind the enterprise, Bantam could have gotten a sizable contract for production of its military car. Questions arise as to whether changes to the original design by Ford and Willys would still occur. One change especially important was that the BRC (Bantam Reconnaissance Car) used a Continental engine while Willys, with its initial large contract, used the 'Go-Devil' engine. Ford seems to have made several changes to make the vehicle easier to produce, but nothing major. (As an aside: Willys seems to have been the first to call it the Jeep, so would it get another name? Anyway, the name already existed.) So if Bantam/Crosley is handling most of the orders, what are Willys and Ford making instead?
And after the war, assuming the BRC was a success, Bantam/Crosley would be riding high with a strong product in the Jeep and operaating all their factories. Crosley would wish to resume auto production instead of solely focusing on the Jeep, and Bantam's overseas market would still be in existence, although perhaps a bit too up-market for postwar Europe.
Crosley might not have tried fitting the CoBra engine into the cars, but would the CIBA or equivalent be built? Maybe an updated version of Bantam's existing engine would fill that niche admirably.
What would the Hotshot be like, if there was one? Could we see a Bantam/Crosley racing team? The Renault 4CV did very well in its class in the Mille Miglia, so there are places where Bantams could compete without need for any kind of stock car racing; it could have been a custom chassis/body with a Bantam engine. OTL, Crosley engines were popular in low displacement classes.
The chance of Bantam/Crosley making it into the modern-day is debatable, but remember the Jeep is a strong product today, and the CIBA found success long after Crosley Motors closed.