Birmingham UK may be the birthplace of many an historic motorcycle marque but Birmingham Alabama is where we'll find Confederate Motorcycles, builder of exclusive "heirloom" machines for the rich and famous. These aren't custom choppers; not the Bondo-filled multi-lacquered fantasy machines of reality TV fame. These are properly engineered and prototyped limited-production models that in the past have sported prices tags of well over $100K. This time, with the X132 Hellcat, Confederate has created a machine that could almost be thought "affordable" whilst still retaining its obsession with detail and stunning design.
Named after the legendary F6F Hellcat fighter plane of WWII, the X132 Hellcat is the result of an uncompromising design and manufacturing approach that's stretched to several years. The centerpiece of this approach is the Hellcat's billet aluminum case. Instead of the usual casting method, the Hellcat's case is machined from two blocks of billet 6061 aircraft grade aluminum. But the company's uncompromising approach does not end with the case.
"Because we design and craft each Confederate motorcycle to be a multi-generational heirloom product, we require that each component, from the carbon fiber wheels to the smallest stainless steel bolts, be of the highest quality, no matter the cost. Our clients deserve nothing less." says Clay Morrison, the company's Director of Marketing.
We last looked at the Hellcat's gradual gestation over a year ago, but now we can see the actual machine in all its glory. We also now know that the customized S&S 132 cu (2.163 litre) V-twin engine will be providing greater than 132 bhp (100 kW) and 150 foot pounds (200 Nm) of torque to push the 500 lbs (227 Kg) bike down the road at some ridiculous speed. The figures hardly seem to matter.
Now the words "affordable" and "production" were mentioned in the title. These terms are relative. Only 150 of the machines will ever be produced and with 43 units already pre-sold, you need to get your 10% deposit in now - the company is set to begin production in January at a rate of only two units per week. Hurry up and wait as they say in the Army. To get things rolling the X132 Hellcat is set at US$45,000 (€33,700) through February 29, 2012. and then the price will rise to US$49,500 (€37,000) on March 1, 2012. Orders may be placed online at workandcycle.com. What are you waiting for?
This isn't the bike you buy to ride to work or go camping. The street drag-racing attitude is almost overwhelming. This is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase of a machine that is a pure expression of engineering, craftsmanship and design. Scare yourself stupid every now and then, pose outside cafés, and for the rest of the time just bask in the ownership glow of one of the most masculine objects on Earth.