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friday’s post of cool stuff #18: saturday edition

What’s cool is Confederate is moving back to New Orleans.

Yes, I know this isn’t a metric builder but New Orleans has something no other city has and my history there demands that I go on. Can’t help it. New Orleans is like Jesus, drunk with curse words. It’s sad and angry. It’ll f**k you ’till you’re soothed and then kill you. If the baddest motorcycle in the world was a city, it would be called the City of New Orleans. It’s wise and crooked and beautiful and scarred. I love New Orleans like no other place I’ve lived in. From San Francisco and Honolulu to Austin and Hollywood, NOLA has them all beat as if they were crack w***** gagging on blood and *****.

I met the founder of Confederate Motorcycles a few years ago when the woman who inexplicably loves me and I walked into his shop. The receptionist was cool but Matt Chambers came out of his office and gave us an extensive tour of his facility. He answered all of our questions except the ones we had about the bike under the sheet in the back. It was the Wraith, he said, and that was all he wanted to tell us. In every other facet of his time with us, he was smiling, serious, caring, eccentric, and we had a great time.

I know his company is going through some financial issues, but who has six figures to blow on a machine most are unable to handle, especially in the economic state of the world for the past two years? Now he’s got a $750,000 incentive from the city to move back and a new partnership with S&S to build the latest version of the Hellcat for under 40k.

His stuff pushes boundaries and you either love ’em or hate ’em. That’s working art. No half-assed “whatever” about it. From the name of his company, which I must admit set me aback when I first discovered the Confederate Hellcat in 1998, to the latest bike, the P120 Fighter Combat, apparently named by a pubescent boy deeply into warplay video games, Matt’s ideals are unabashed, unapologetic, and uncooperative with the vanilla mainstream that runs through our country like a stale cracker dipped in ranch dressing.

I like Matt Chambers and Confederate Motorbikes and hope his new venture with S&S will yield great rewards for both companies while keeping the most creative American motorcycle brand alive for a very long time.

Here’s a babe. She’s got your back…. Or does she get you in the back? Guess that all depends…. If she’s using her tongue, I’m cool with that.

Speaking of rims:

Well, not actually rims, drums. We’re putting these old Honda drum brakes on the FREEDOM or DEATH MACHINE. The wheels we’ll be using are 36-spoke & 21 inches. Excellent.

Are you in central Texas and have nothing planned today or Sunday?

Shut up, I’m thinking!

This bike will be at the Freedom or Death Motorbike Bash in June. Brian Bill (hey, we met over pints!) will park it in the bar for everybody to gawk at. I may post some info about it here soon.

For you vintage cats:

Panther Motorcycles were manufactured by Phelon & Moore of Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, Great Britain from 1904 until 1967. They made eight models, starting with a 500cc 40-degree single which also functioned as a front frame member. This design spanned the entire history of the company, ending with a 645cc model in 1967. A 1938 version of this motor can be seen in the drag-race bike above, which raced in the early 60’s.

Panther made two and four-stroke singles and twins and in 1926 the firm built the 242cc transverse V-twin Panthette, with a four-speed gearbox. It was pretty pricey due to it’s advanced engineering and failed to sell.

Panther did a lot of nifty things over the years and won some races, but nothing was as forward-thinking as the Panthette.

In the ’40’s, Panther had  many plans and designs on the drawing board but they were shelved as production turned to war contracts where the company produced three singles and several variations including a trials version.

By the mid-50’s Panther introduced three singles and two lightweights powered by Villiers engines. Villiers bought out J.A.Prestwich Industries in 1957. In 1959 a scooter, known as the Princessjoined the range of gay-sounding, effeminate monikers.

The arrival of the Mini left Panther in a shrinking market by the early ’60’s. Over the following few years, models were cut and by 1967 one single and one twin trickled out of the factory. Panther was out of business by 1968. Oh well.

UPDATE 11.19.10: Confederate isn’t in New Orleans as of today, 19 days past the day they said they’d be there. This week on facebook they posted a photo of the engine for the new Hellcat. It just arrived. Yay! (yawn). Got my hopes up and everything….

UPDATE 08.07.11: got confirmation from confederate that they are not returning to new orleans. why the **** would they say that and not do it?


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