A Virtually Indestructable Panther

Hy Zelkowitz - Philadelphia, PA

A Virtually Indestructable Panther

This is the bike my father bought me about 50 years ago. It wasn't a kid's bike. The 26" Schwinn "Panther" was way ahead of its time. It had a front shock absorber, an idea which was revisited with the appearance of mountain bikes. It was black and red with chrome fenders. There was also a Schwinn "Phantom" which came out the next year and was virtually identical except for the head lamp which flowed our from the fender like a Raymond Loewy Locomotive. The "Panther" had a bullet shaped headlamp and the tank had a dull metal button that sounded the horn. It was virtually indestructable. I rode it from Brooklyn to Idlewild Airport, to Staten Island and everywhere without the benefit of a derailleur. I can still recall the exact feelings of well being, security, and strength that coursed through me when I rode that bike.

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