In 1929 the last motorcycle rolled out of the Phantom Manufacturing Co. works near Cambridge shortly before the mysterious disappearance and surmised deaths of the three founders of that great company. Yet, despite this seemingly unsurmountable obstacle, the company has been able to recently reopen and has produced its first new vintage motorbike since that fateful day in 1929. But how is this possible? The only surviving member of that original company, Mrs. Mabel Ramsbottom, will be 119 years old this year!
Okay, okay, where are we going? What is this? I wanted to know something about a bike company by the name of Phantom I had chanced upon on wiki and as I googled into a possible link of the one I was looking for, The Phantom, (http://www.thephantom.co.uk/) I read what I had copy pasted above. It was one of those ‘what-the’ things, but thought let me ‘continue reading’ and so…
For those of you familiar with the history of the Phantom Manufacturing Company, you will be aware that Mrs. Ramsbottom, company secretary, has been in spiritual contact with the three founders, Erasmus Thump, Enoch Podsnap and Titus Bottomly for many years now. Just recently, the location of the lost key of the Phantom works was revealed to her by none other than the spirit of Erasmus Thump himself!
This was getting way weird, in the search for a vintage motorcycle, I stumbled upon a fiction! But it is turning out to be interesting, so… Mrs. Ramsbottom carried out subsequent commands from the founders with an eye towards reopening the works as a going concern. After locating the lost trust accounts of the firm, missing since 1929, she hired a team of industrial cleaners and mechanics to spruce up the old works and bring back the existing production machinery to working standard.
These chaps have been beavering away quietly in the works for the better part of two years, and now the time has come to unveil their handiwork -- the first new Phantom vintage motorbike since 1929....code-named, 'Erasmus' Gamble. Okay, so there was a company by the name of Phantom Motorcycles way back in 1919 formed by 3 gentleman and a lady and now after almost a century, some passionate guys from the U.K (see the website, they are from U.K) are bringing back the brand from the dead. Now it is getting interesting, but why a brand which probably very few have ever heard of, leave along seen it.
Okay, they are being quite frank here, so for whom is the bike targeted at? It is obviously for fanatics (like me and you, but since we are a little sold out on cash, so…), its for vintage collectors, only that it can be ridden, and as ‘Erasmus Thump’ mentions, “A Phantom owner stands out from the crowd. He treasures the spirits of the past, and wonders what those pioneering riders, if they were still alive, would be riding today. It is not about being a purist with a desire to simply ride something from the past. It is to embrace the spirit of exploring speed and holding on to the best of the past, whilst embracing enough of the new to make the experience memorable again and again. What sets the Phantom EG apart from all others, is the abundance of soul. The spirits of The Phantom's founders, along with those legendary riders of the day such as Harry and Charlie Collier, W. D. Chitty, Bert Le Vack, Jake De Rosier, Jack Emerson, "Barry" Baragwanath, Gwenda Stewart, and scores of others both famous and not, run through every part of a Phantom EG. All these riders may have passed into history, but their presence is felt every time you sit astride a Phantom EG".
Let us be clear about this and get right to the point - the Phantom EG owner will be a gentleman of means. Prices for the Phantom EG range from $30,000 (approximately £20,000) to just over $100,000 (approximately £62,000) depending on component selection and finishes. We do not possess any financing capabilities”. The frames are hand built from the best steel. The fuel and oil tanks and tube joints are double butted and bronze gas welded. These hand crafted machines are made with consultation with the client which also includes taking the dimensions of the client so that they can design the proper "posture-triangle" positions of the hands, feet, and posterior. “In this way we can design the best compromise of speed and comfort, whilst maintaining the proper centre of gravity of the machine and rider. We then specify the type of motor and suspension we feel best meets the requirements of the client based upon the information collected. And, finally, we agree a final colour and detail design for the finished machine. The buyer is then required to place a deposit equal to one-third the price of the machine and a delivery date range is agreed. The buyer is provided images of their machine as it passes through the various stages of production and notified of the exact final delivery date 30-days prior. Final payment is due upon delivery. We are happy to ship your Phantom EG to you at cost by the most reputable of providers. Or, if you prefer, you may pick up your machine directly from us.”
As a result of all this we must and will be different to all the other brands. We have our own distinctive strengths in design and manufacture. And we feel we have, dare I say it, a spiritual connection with our customers, and the machines that fire their imaginations. Our customers recognise this and that is why they stand by us year after year, generation after generation, regardless of the price of our bikes or their scarcity.
And then again, maybe it is all true. So here we are, ladies and gentlemen, a 1929 bike, brand new after 80 years in the making. This is … what the world calls… A Time Machine!!!
Engine -750cc, air-cooled, four-stroke, OHV, push-rod parallel twin
Bore x Stroke - 73 X 89mm
Carbs - Sneezer Ulysses (Amal Type 2) carbs
Ignition - Magneto
Clutch - Multi-plate diaphragm
Gearbox - 4-speed
Chassis - Steel tube BRS frame
Suspensions - Girdraulic front suspension & leaf-sprung saddle rear suspension
Brakes - Integrated Speed Retarding (ISR) brake disc system –six-piston front, two-piston rear, rear ‘sprotor’ disc
Top Speed - 120mph (claimed)
Maximum Power - 56bhp
Weight – 136kg, 300lbs
Wheelbase - 1778mm
Saddle height - 787mm
Fuel capacity - 5.9-litre
Story, pictures and information sourced from The Phantom website
Source of photos – Gallery of South Siders M.C and August 2009 edition of Classic Bike Magazine