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Panther, insistent at all costs

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For forty years Phelon and Moore filed their single-cylinder concept until they had molded out the ideal sidecar tractor. That was the moment that sidecar combinations were definitively a passed station.


The Panther Model 120

The basis of the engines and their distinctive forward-hanging cylinder had already been laid in 1924. The ultimate showpiece was the 650 (actually 645 cc) cc single cylinder, the model 120. That was presented in 1959 and made 1965. And the fact that these machines are tough is proven by the few wildly lived-in specimens that we see every year during the motor show in Hardenberg. Two of them are solo machines, by the way. Of the Panther Model 120s, more than 90% was used directly from the factory as a tricycle. Because the 120s were made for that. That sidecar reputation has kept the prices of these large Panthers relatively low for years. Because sidecar driving is not everyone's thing. The bicycle geometry was geared to it, but a solo transmission could also be supplied at an additional cost. For solo use, the geometry of the Dowty Oleomatic fork could be adjusted. In the solo position, the Panther thus steered marginally lighter.

Appreciation of solo riders

And strangely enough, the big single-cylinder models have been getting their credit from solo drivers in recent years. The story of supply and demand then applies. The offer is very limited. So prices go up. Not quite as hard as the kickstarter when it hits back - this has left several Panther riders with a broken leg - but still ... The story that the Panthers have very long-stroke engines is not too bad compared to the competition at the time . That Panthers run best at the speed of a relaxed wall clock, that is already a myth. A large Panther runs best between 2000-4000 rpm. Maximum torque is delivered between 3000-4000 rpm. The 120 has a maximum speed of 4500 rpm. The impressive Panthers were reliable, low-dynamic, comfortable motorcycles with which to ride long rides effortlessly.

A matter of character

Of course the machines are not perfectly oil-tight and so they have their peculiarities. But with a block concept that has had forty years to mature, all problems have already come to pass. And a solution has been found for everything. The parts supply for the later models is just good. For that we can be grateful to the POC - the Panther Owners Club. Over the years, it has scoured all former British colonies plus the entire world for NOS (new old stock). The club has had high-quality reference made of untraceable parts.

Fast enough

A good Panther therefore has a cruising speed that is sufficient for secondary roads. That despite the 'lack' of speed such long journeys can be made is due to the reliability and comfort of the machines.

Some technology

The Panther model 120 delivered nearly thirty horsepower from 645 cc. The block had a compression of 6,5: 1, the gearbox was a Burman Bap 4 container. The only weaker point is the coupling with three plates and five springs. The solid torque and the strong engine brake effect are at least challenging for that part. With sidecar combinations, this is the worst thing to do. A solo machine must also have an 26 tooth front sprocket. For a tricycle, there must be 24.


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