Sidecar Racing and Panther Motorcycles

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Two new books about classic bikes are on the way; one for fans of world-class sidecar racing and the other about Panthers…

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Panther Publishing produce a selection of books for the classic motorcyclist. As the company’s name suggests they started out producing a book in conjunction with the Panther Owners’ Club (‘The Panther Story’) but their range now runs to more than a dozen different titles covering all manner of subjects. Two new titles are due for publication in spring 2008 – one of which returns to the topic of Panther motorcycles and, as there’s otherwise a dearth of material on that subject – it will be very warmly welcomed.

‘Panther Since 1950’ by Steve Wilson is due for publication in February or March. You may have seen Steve’s detailed, six part history of the British motorcycle industry which was originally published by Haynes in the early 1990s and which has been out of print for some time. The new book reprints that section, making it available as a stand-alone volume for the first time.

Panther were one of those legendary British makes of motorcycle who produced limited numbers of surprisingly good machines. They outlasted many of the better known bikes of their day, finally ceasing

to trade in 1966.

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Their history is perhaps surprisingly little known to some, as it is replete with innovation and a strong reputation for reliability, durability and comfort. Few bikes are as untroubled by a long day on the road as a big Panther; and even fewer are as economical as the Panther lightweights.

The book starts with a short but comprehensive history of the company from its inception in the early 1900s, describing the business challenges and successes experienced by P&M.

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This small Yorkshire company grew to being a well known manufacturer of high speed touring machines and small commuter bikes in the pre-war years, to a company that perhaps has now become best known for its sidecar machines, although post-war Panthers also make excellent solo machines.

The book describes in detail all the post-1950 models from the less well known and increasingly sought after lightweights, to the more familiar single cylinder heavyweights. Full information is given on specifications through the years, engine and frame numbers, and colour schemes.

Panther parts on

So the chapters include: Phelon and Moore Ltd; Panther Model 65 and Model 75 including dates and specifications; Panther models 35, 35 sports, 45, 45 Sports, 50 Grand Sports, Model 35 Sports and ES Sports including dates and specifications; Panther Model 100R, 100S, Model 100S De Luxe and Model 120S including dates and specifications.

‘Panther Since 1950’ by Steve Wilson will cost £9.95 and is a softback with 48 pages and 42 illustrations, ISBN 978-0-9556595-2-2

Buy it from Panther Publishing Ltd via this link and help support

Back when bikes were black and white...

Panther Model 100 – “The finest Machine in its Class”


Then a few weeks later another motorcycling volume will hit the shops. ‘Hold ON!’ is the life and racing story of Stan Dibben, world champion sidecar rider.

Hold on! by Stan DibbenStan started out as a baker’s boy, became a jazz trumpeter, electrician, and sailor – and all before his spectacular motorcycle career which included two world championship years with Eric Oliver and Cyril Smith in the 1950s. This book offers a fascinating insight into the sidecar racing of the period from a unique perspective: the sidecar at 150mph.

Stan also had a successful career with Norton and BSA, raced the first ever Dommie Racer, introduced NGK spark plugs to the UK, helped Donald Campbell and Bluebird to a world land speed record in Australia, and even designed a supermarket shopping trolley that steered like a Ferrari! ‘Hold ON!’ provides some intriguing insights into the motorcycle industry of the time and many of the characters involved with racing, records and the motorcycle industry.

His story is described as being ‘uplifting, and a remarkable insight into the world of sidecar racing and British industry. A book that will fill not just fill you with wonder, but one that will also open your eyes on a now rapidly fading era.’

Stan is now 80 years old but still fit and well, and he’s likely to be signing copies of his book at big shows this season.

‘Hold ON!’ includes forewords by Allan Robinson MBE, and Dr George Cohen and costs £12.95. It’s a softback of 128 pages, with 113 illustration, 31 in colour. ISBN 978-0-9556595-1-5

Buy it from Panther Publishing Ltd via this link and help support




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