1999 G2 Hellcat

As a fan of Iron Horse Magazine and CEO of Confederate Motorcycles, Matt Chambers and I had crossed paths in 1995 in Baton Rouge.  Early in 1997 I was offered an extended test ride of a Hellcat for a feature in Iron Horse Magazine. I fell in love, and 2 years later I was hired by Matt. I arrived in late 1999 only to find the Abita Springs factory shut down and the company in bankruptcy. It was the perfect time and place to rebuild and make a difference.

I fell into the design role and went to work on what was already an excellent platform. Making the Hellcat more aggressive to have a “streetfighter” presence by shortening the wheelbase and making the ergonomics more rational was a step in the right direction. The unfortunate fat rear tire (which was the style at the time) compromised handling.

My first real motorcycle design innovation was to route the exhaust in the swingarm. A hydroformed Inconel bellows served as the flexible coupling mating the fixed headers to the articulating rear suspension. Utilizing the wasted space inside the swingarm to serve as the exhaust system was a completely new idea, but never patented.

Relocating from the dead Abita Springs factory to 845 Carondelet Street in Downtown New Orleans unleashed a flow of creative energy. The small dedicated team managed to create a sustainable little factory capable of making one motorcycle a week starting in 2003.

The top freelance motorcycle journalist, Alan Cathcart and I became fast friends. He understood the vision for the motorcycle, and saw something special in me. He published reviews in all the major magazines. The styling of the G2 Hellcat was right on time and became very popular with the Hollywood elite. Wealthy motorcyclists from every corner of the globe soon followed.

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