KIWI RIDER 11 2018 VOL.2 - Page 68

Did you see these other Classic features?  120 YEARS OF NZ BIKES  BIGGER IS BETTER 1964 649cc Panther Model 120 with Canterbury Sidecar 1964 Solo 645cc Panther Model 120 1959 Solo 645cc Panther Model 120 Present day Panther Model 120, still running and looking good From 1965 the company listed one twin and one single, but in 1968 the 64-year history of the P&M Panther came to an end, and the doors closed. Many motorcycle writers were dismissive of the Panthers. One motorcycle book says, “As a company, Phelan and Moore did not undertake change lightly: their final machines built in 1966 were directly related to their first ‘sloping singles’, built at the turn of the century. The bikes were not very powerful, but they were popular machines for pulling sidecars”. Another writer says, “Although it was to be the object of some scorn, it proved an excellent basic machine for local work and was to win the prestigious Maudes Trophy in 1934”. Now, fifty years after the company closed shop, it is easy to be dismissive about their achievements. Maybe they didn’t make many game changing moves, but what they did make was acceptable enough to last for more than the previous fifty years and so must account for considerable design success, and subsequently public acceptance. In reality it seems that the failure of the sidecar market and the unstable state of scooter manufacturing in England, had more to do with the decline than any design shortcomings. P&M’s Panther is simply one of the many marques that didn’t survive the massive changes in road transport that were taking place fifty years ago. Sharing your passion facebo /Caffein eAndCla ssics