No, this is not GM's secret attempt at a range-extended full-size pickup. We've been taking a few days off visting the Grand Canyon when we came across this amazing sight in the park -- a late-model GMT800 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD crew cab diesel long box parked with a rare American Bantam pickup in the bed!
American Bantam cars and trucks were designed by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. They were built from 1938 to 1940, derived from the English Austin Seven. The car version averaged 35 mpg and could hit 50 mpg at a steady 30 mph. Its four-cylinder gas engine was rated at only 20 horsepower. Prices started around $330!
The tiny Bantam pickup weighed about 2,000-pounds, well under the Silverado's 3,163-lbs. maximum payload rating. It was only about 10-feet long.
The Bantam's bed sticks out about a foot past the lowered tailgate of the Silverado's 8-foot long cargo box, but its front wheels sat approximately a foot back from the front of the Silverado's box.
Too bad future CAFE requirements for light trucks won't allow setting fuel economy with a Bantam in the bed to average out the number!