Bold. Radical. Powerful. Confederate’s outrageous machines celebrate rebellion with style.
When Matt Chambers founded the Confederate Motor Company in Baton Rouge in 1991, he set out to build motorcycles that evoked “principled individuality”. What emerged was a succession of stunning machines that elevated the wow factor to new heights, creating a body of converts – including movie stars – whose enthusiasm bordered on the obsessive.
It wasn’t plain sailing. In August 2005, with the Hellcat nearing production and the radically styled Wraith almost complete, Hurricane Katrina struck, destroying the Confederate factory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Unable to fi nd a suitable facility near his home, Chambers began visiting potential locations throughout the United States, fi nally announcing that his operation would move to Birmingham, Alabama. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history. Today, the machines emerging from the Confederate factory are not only collectors’ items, but legitimate artworks with distinctly avant-garde leanings (the fact that they are manufactured in strictly limited editions reinforces this perception). Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are converts, which may or may not be significant.
As Chambers tells it, his hand-built motorcycles celebrate the art of rebellion. “American rebellion is adopted as fundamental to the pursuit of personal empowerment. We remain determined to challenge the establishment view of what honest, ‘new world’ American industrial and mechanical design can be.” Latest in the company’s line-up – albeit still in concept form – is the Renovatio, a modular design featuring the same tractor-type seat and carbon fi bre girder fork as the Wraith and a choice of powerplants, including a 142 kW supercharged version. Says Chambers: “In many ways, this is the machine we wanted in the beginning. Conceived by the leader of our design team, Ed Jacobs, it’s at once primitive and bohemian, yet highly technical.”