The Panther Page

The Bikes: 4-Stroke Lightweights

From the mid 1920s Phelon & Moore also produced a number of lightweights.

The Panthette

Name - PAN4.JPG, Source - Pitman's Book of the P.&M., Size - 362kThe first of the lightweights was the Panthette, designed by Granville Bradshaw, this was a 250cc transverse V-twin of unit construction. It received very good road test reports and was genuinely liked by test riders. It lacked a heavy flywheel and had poor clutch plate control. It was a very "revvy" engine. Whilst of innovative design, it was a commercial disaster; its failure to sell well, at the time that The Depression was starting to bite, nearly bankrupt the company. Frank Leach effectively killed off the Panthette in favour of his own lightweight 250cc which later sold as the Red Panther. Very few Panthettes survive.

Four Stroke Single Panther Lightweights 

From the 1930s a range of two and four stroke lightwieghts were produced. The four-strokes were mainly 350cc and 250cc singles, the latter being somewhat underpowered. They were of conventional frame design, although some models (Model 60 and 70) had sloping engines, but not as stressed members. 

Pre-war 250s included Model 30 (1932), Model 40, Model 70 Redwing, Red Panther Standard, Red Panther Model 20 Deluxe, Red Panther Model 20. Post-war 250s included Model 60 and Model 65. 

Pre-war 350s included Model 45 (1932), Model 80 Redwing, Redwing 85, Red Panther Model 30. Post-war 350s included Model 70 and Model 75.

Model 30 & Model 40 & Model 70 Redwing

Launched in 1932 as the Model 30 and soon renamed the Model 40, this was a fairly conventional 248cc machine with clear links to the Heavyweight design. A DeLuxe model was available.

At some stage (1934?) it appears to have become the Model 70 Redwing, which according to The Book was dropped in 1936 and a 250cc Model 40 was again available in 1939 (combining Model 20 and Model 85)!

Budget versions were made for Pride & Clarke as Red Panthers (Standard, DeLuxe and Model 20).

Model 45 & Model 80 Redwing

A 348cc version of the Model 40 was also launched in 1932 as the Model 45 and was renamed the Model 80 Redwing in 1933.

Budget versions were made for Pride & Clarke as Red Panther Model 30.

Red Panthers 

Red Panthers were built exclusively for Pride & Clarke of London at very low cost by using cheap labour (apprentices, mill hands, etc.) and cheaper ancilliary components (gearbox, ignition, lighting, etc.). The frame, mundguards, tank, etc produced by P&M were of the same standard as the Redwing models. There were 250cc and 350cc models. Surviving examples tend to have had a tough life; as budget machines they were often mistreated. 

Name - M70.JPG, Source - Pitman's Book of the P.&M., Size - 325kThis is a Red Panther from 1932 to 1939, it is either 248cc or 348cc. I suspect it is a 248cc Red Panther DeLuxe from 1934. If a 250 then this model was the budget version of the Model 40 (Model 30 in 1930-32, later the Model 70). If a 350 then this would be a Red Panther Model 30 which was the budget version of the Panther Model 80 (Model 45 in 1932).

{The lightweight models, and especially the Red Panthers, are particularly confusing! Treat this information as indicative only - the revised model and year guide, currently under construction, will force me to get to grips with this properly and treat it with more rigour.}

Red Panther Standard / DeLuxe

248cc machine made in 1933-37 (DeLuxe offered at least 1934-35). This was the Pride & Clarke budget version of the Model 40 (Model 30 in 1932, later the Model 70). I believe these were Model 20s, except in 1933 when they were Model 10s.
This is Tom Norman's 1937 Model 20 Red Panther.

Red Panther Model 20

248cc machine made in 1938 and 1939, incorporating improvements similar to those made in the Model 100 in 1938

Red Panther Model 30

The Red Panther Model 30 was a 348cc 15 bhp machine made from 1933 to 1939. It was the Pride & Clarke budget version of the Panther Model 80. From 1938/9? incorporating improvements similar to those made in the Model 100 in 1938

Model 60

The Model 60 was ready for production in 1940 and some may well have been made then. However it was mainly produced for three years (1946-1948) and was based upon the earlier 1938 Model 40 (Model 70 Redwing, Red Panther Model 20 - I get confused!)

Name: PAN60.JPG, Source: P&M Instruction Book, Size: 123kThis is a 1946 Model 60 which has a 248cc OHV engine. Whilst the engine is sloping forward it does not take the place of the front frame down-tube as is the case with the heavyweights. The drive is through a separate 3-speed gearbox. The front suspension is provided by girder forks. Webb girder forks were fitted for 1946. 

This is a 1947 Model 60. Clearly it is very similar except that the Webb girder forks were replaced with Dowty forks for 1947/48. 

Technical Data 

I am grateful to Malcolm Duckett for providing the picture of the 1946 machine and technical data (from the Panther Instruction Booklet) and to Robert Shaw for posting the picture of the 1947 machine to the email list.

Model 70

The Model 70 is a 348cc, 4-speed version of the Model 60 and is similar in most other respects. It also was only produced for three years (1946-1948) and was based upon the pre-war Model 30

Name - trials.JPG, Source - T.Norman, Size - 25kI believe that this rather non-standard trials machine is a Model 70 from about 1947/48 - it is clearly a lightweight with Dowty forks and apparently has the slightly sloping engine and a magneto. Dowty forks were fitted in 1947/48, whereas Webb girder forks were fitted in 1946. 

I am grateful to Tom Norman for this photograph of Dave Thornber's bike.

Model 65

The Model 65 is essentially identical to the Model 75. The differences being that this was a 250cc version and the ignition was by way of points and coil rather than a Lucas K1F magneto. I believe it features a 3-speed Burman gearbox where the Model 75 has a 4-speed gearbox. They are generally considered somewhat underpowered by comparison to the larger 350cc model. 

Technical Data

Model 75

Name - PANTHER4.JPG, Source - S.C.Fleming, Size - 89kThis machine is one of my Model 75s. It has a 1956 engine in an earlier rigid frame, but is essentially to the 1949 specification. The tank should be chrome with cream panels. The front suspension is from lightweight Dowty air-sprung, oil-damped forks. The later engine has a rather taller rocker cover (as well as not looking quite right to the perfectionist, it is impossible to remove with the engine in the frame - the correct later frame has a kink in it under the tank to facilitate rocker cover removal). Ignition comes from a Lucas K1F magneto. 

Name - M75maybe.JPG, Source - T.Norman, Size - 33k This pretty lightweight is, I think, a Model 75 from the early fifties (1951/53?). It has a rigid rear and apparently Dowty forks. The more rounded cases of the post 1949/50 engine are apparent as is the magneto which indicates a Model 75. The brake light is presumably non-standard and the battery is apparently missing (from behind the carb). The colour scheme is presumably not original. 

This 1954 advert for a Model 75 shows the spring frame version introduced the previous year. The telescopic forks are presumably the P&M items.

Name - PAN3.JPG, Source - Pitman's, Size - 89kThis machine is a 1955 Model 75 springer. 

SOUND (99kb wav file for 10sec - need to find how to do this properly) This is my 1949 Model 75. 

Technical Data

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