The Svalan

P.O. Jonsson's 1951 350cc Panther engined Svalan

Sweden's Svalan Panther-engined machines were a unique combination of tried and tested technology coupled with local requirements for a home produced machine. The story goes back to the immediate post war years when the Maskin AB (John Eriksson, Falun Sweden) cycle business decided to produce a motorcycle using proprietary components. Their first efforts before the war were 98cc autocycles, but after the war a range of motorcycles, autocycles and scooters appeared.

The first with panther engines featured the 250cc units in a locally made frame comprising steel tubes of conventional design. The Model 50 Matcher featured all the normal Model 65 componenets, namely engine, Dowty forks, Burman 3 speed box, Lucas headlamps and lighting/ignition equipment and genuine Panther wheels and brakes. During 1952, they tried fitting the 350cc engine into the same frame but the power from this engine was too great for the motorcycle frame they had developed.

Accordingly, in 1953, they announced a new spring frame machine, the Svalan 75 Lyx with the P&M 350cc engine, though in this instance NSU front telescopic forks were fitted as standard. the Lucas lighting was dispensed with in favour of Hella units, while the rear suspension adopted typically pre-war low mounted sliding dampers. Production continued through to the end of 1956. Several thousand 250 and 350cc power units were shipped to Sweden by P&M. (Text from "The Story of Panther Motorcycles" by Barry M. Jones)

P.O. Jonsson's 1951 350cc Panther engined Svalan

Pics thanks to Lennart Lofqvist in Sweden and P.O. Jonsson in Germany

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Murray Barnard, Perth, Western Australia

1996 mbarnard