9 October 2015
7 October 2015
Confederate Motorcycles started out 24 years ago in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with the aim of producing the most exclusive, small-batch handcrafted thoroughbred motorcycles ever produced. Right from the start it was determined that the company would be design driven and product focused, with an engineering first approach to motorcycle design. Of the small run of models that they’ve produced over the years the G2 P51 Fighter by is possibly the epitome of that ethos; a bike that’s beautiful possibly because form follows function.
The original P120 Fighter debuted in 2009, a limited production all-aluminum 'streetfighter' motorcycle with a unique monocoque frame design and a powerful big inch V-twin that used the desig to its fullest. Now 6 years later, the P51 Combat Fighter is the second generation evolution (hence G2), and a lot has changed while retaining the original concept.
We see the first sign of Confederate's mindset in the frame; an in-house designed aluminum monocoque that they describe it as "the stiffest, most fatigue-resistant and lightest chassis capable of housing the greatest amount of torque as a percentage of weight ever achieved in all of motordom."
It has some innovative features too: the strongest part of the frame, at the headstock area, incorporates an intake box that leads the air through a structural downdraft manifold – an industry first, according to Confederate. At its highest point, the air filter element is housed in a canister-shaped box with transparent sides. The same see-through design is used for the petrol tank, which is located under the seat and is embodied in the rear part of the central beam of the frame.
The frame on it own would be a conversation piece, but the dialogue is only just starting. That front end is also designed and built in-house; the forks are double wishbones machined from 6061 aircraft-grade aluminium, with the outer supports designed to be aerodynamic, tubular wing blades. Bellcranks and a single coilover provide the suspension. That eyecatching rear swingarm is (again machined from 6061) and the rear suspension is fully adjustable; wheelbase for the whole ensemble is 64 inches.
The CX4 transmission is also designed by Confederate; a patented close-ratio 5-speed transmission derived from a drag racing-derived design; its a stress-bearing part of the chassis, putting the power down through an 18 inch BlackStone Tek solid carbonfibre rear wheel, with a 3.5 inch five spoke front wheel keeping it company.
French brake company Beringer takes much of the responsibility of stopping the bike; four-pot Aerotec radial calipers clamp Aeronal iron rotors at the front while a matching caliper is alllied to a cross-drilled Brembo stainless steel rotor at the rear.
The 57-degree V-twin has grown from 120 to 132 ci (1,966 to 2,163 cc) and the horsepower catapulted from 160 to 200 bhp. The torque output has made a huge leap forward as well, from 135 to 170 lb/ft . An prodigious power output from an air-cooled pushrod bike engine, and was achieved through the increased displacement and new cylinder heads,
This level of excellence does not come cheap though; they cost a smidge over $100,000 a piece. But with only 10 of each colour (black or blonde) being made, you're not likely to run across another one down the Ace café.
- Mr Fablulous
Original concept sketches; the reality seems to follows it very closely:
5 October 2015
2 October 2015
The Jaguar XJS; at one time a car reviled by motoring enthusiasts purely because it was so different to the E-Type it replaced, so misunderstood because it was a grand tourer instead of a sinewy sports car, and so neglected by Jaguar at one point, it's initially a surprise that it lasted 20 years in production. But the 1980's saw Jaguar develop the car to ts full potential; first with changes to the V12 engine to make it more fuel efficient (well more efficient for a 12 mpg V12, anyway), then a brand new 6-cylinder engine (the AJ6, only the third engine ever designed by the company), and then cabriolet and convertible versions. In fact, when the XJS ended production in 1996, it went out with its head held high and with a tear in the eye of said motoring enthusiasts deriding it 20 years previous. Don't that beat all? Maybe not, but this 1983 example might. You don't need good ol' uncle Amazo to tell you that this cat has been eating it's Whiskas on a regular basis; or to be exact, a diet of American mouse...
The mouse in question is a small block Chevy; a 350ci with a 383ci 'stroker' kit, which would make it pretty meaty on its own. but the stroker crankshaft runs 8:1 compression pistons to enable that 15% overdriven B&M 8-71 blower to do its thang. Twin Holley 750cfm carburettors suck premium pump petrol, no doubt at a rate that would make the original V12 nod in approval, while an MSD 6AL distributor and electronic ignition light 'em up, with Corvette exhaust manifolds with 2 1/2 dual exhaust dumping 'em out. A 'built TH350 with 2800rpm stall converter and unknown shift kit transmit the big cat's urge to a narrowed Ford 9 inch rear end with 3:50 gears and an LSD - fairly mild, but sensible for regular street driving. Coilovers and a ladder bar setup keep the axle in suspense, while at at the front, its pretty much as Browns Lane intended; not a bad thing, considering that what resided in the engine bay before necessitated power rack & pinion steering and disc brakes. Weld Pro Street wheels sit in Mickey Thompson front and rear tyres; 6x15 inch front, 18x15 inch rear.
An owner of a standard XJS would largely feel right at home in the interior; I say largely, as although the standard dashboard and seats have been retained (and retimmed in tweed), the B&M tach and ancillary gauges would start to raise suspicion. The illusion would then be completely broken as soon as they turned round to reverse back; those huge carpeted tubs and 15 gallon fuel cell weren't no optional extras from new, while the lack of a roll cage seems surprise, given the car's potential.
The car went for just under $13k (about £8k)on eBay recently; with a few little glitched to fix to get it up to full roadworthy spec, methinks someone purr-loined a bargain.