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Panther M120

Panther Model 120

The Panther Model 120 was the final product of P&M of Cleckheaton, Yorkshire - the factory that had built its first motorcycle at the beginning of the 20th century with the revolutionary idea of using a sloping engine, instead of the front portion of a conventional frame. From first to last, it was this concept that defined Panthers, with gradual concessions to the engine and suspension designs of the changing years.

By the 1930s the form of the big single Panther had pretty much settled and the firm also survived through the lean early years of the decade, thanks to the excellent volume sales of the ultra-cheap Red Panther 250cc lightweight which sold for under £30.

After the war the machines that appeared bore a close resemblance to the pre-war models. The Model 100 Panther for 1946 was a 600cc single with rigid frame and girder forks. It was ideal for economical sidecar use, with a fuel consumptionin excess of 60mpg.

In 1947 Dowty Oleomatic air-sprung telescopic forks were fitted - a form of front suspension that was very efficient when new, but gave problems when older as the seals wore out. There were minor improvements to various parts of the bike until 1954 when a new conventionally sprung fork and a swinging-arm frame were adopted. Styling changes followed and the rigid model was discontinued in 1957.

The main new for 1958 wa the development of the larger Panther Model 120, closely based on the 600cc. But prototypes wad engine problems, largely due to the increased stress and problems with Panther's unusual lubrication system. The production bikes were substantially improved and offered lower fuel consumption - 70mpg with a sidecar.The Model 120 was ideally suited to sidecar use. In 1959 Panther's own sidecar chassis was an option - and this even included a towbar for a trailer.

Panther Model 120

  • Years in production - 1959-66
  • Engine type - single-cylinder ohv four stroke
  • Capacity - 649cc
  • Bore x Stroke - 88 x 106mm
  • Compression ratio - 6.5:1
  • Power - 27bhp @ 4500rpm
  • Gearbox - Burman four-speed
  • Tyres - 3.5 x 19in
  • Wheelbase - 59in
  • Turning circle - 19ft 6in
  • Weight - 426lb