That’s right folks, a British made (Re; Bad ass) Vincent. Doesn’t matter if it’s the Rapide, the comet,the black shadow or black/white lightning. I just want one! Anyone know where the closest crossroad is ??? I have a serious desire to renegotiate my deal with crafty old Lucifer……..😈
Vincent Motorcycles: A brief history.
The Vincent Motorcycle is one of the most sought after standard-production bikes in today’s market, inching closer and closer to the six figure mark at recent auctions like this Rapide at Bonham’s. While the Brough still dominates in high ticket motorcycle sales, (excluding, of course, rare and limited production racers,) the Vincent marquee projects style, sophistication, class and what some may be reluctant to admit, status.
Originally the company was started by Howard Raymond Davies, who used JA Prestwich (JAP) motors, Burman gearboxes and Webb girders. The HRD company lasted on a few years before it was purchase by OK Supreme, who later sold the name and tooling in 1928 to Phil Vincent – a former rider for the A.J.S. racing team. With Phil at the helm of his newly formed Vincent H.R.D. Co. Ltd., he developed the famous cantilever sub-frame, which gave the bikes a rear suspension that was decades ahead of its time. Phil Irving, an Australian born engineer, came onboard to develop the first in-house motor, for the 500cc “Meteor” ( Greatest names on these motorcycles ‘eh? ) . During the second World War, Vincent motors were used in boats and as generators but returned to motorcycles in 1944 when they secured a USA dealer in Philadelphia – followed by many other locations as the war came to an end.
The first v-twin was designed back in 36 with the release of the Series A Rapide, a 998cc machine capable of 110 mph! The Series B Rapide was released near the end of the war and featured a modified unit-engine that became a stressed member of the frame. Vincent was really on the forefront of adding lots of adjustable parts, so that with little to no tools, the rider could make roadside changes in everything from seat and shift lever positions to final gear ratio (which was done by flipping the dual geared wheel around for a larger or small number of teeth on the rear sprocket. This thought process of “built by riders for riders” went over well and imports to the United States began to increase and, as not to be confused with H.D. (Harley Davidson), H.R.D. was dropped from the company name and became simply The Vincent.
Vincent went on to develop the Black Shadow, which unlike the touring style of the Rapide, the Shadow was designed for sport riding with hotter cams, more H.P. and it’s distinguishing black stove enamel engine cases. The Black Lightning was the race version which a highly tuned engine, dual Amal TT carbs and a stripped down to bare essentials look.
The 1952 Vincent Rapide featured here is a nice example of a partly original or “sympathetically restored” bike. The tank has been repainted but the top decal remains original. It’s a clean bike and more importantly, it’s not just a trailer queen – this bike is meant to be ridden
“One particularly hot morning, on Sept 13, 1948, a man known as Roland “Rollie” Freehopped on his Mobil Oil sponsored Vincent H.R.D. Lightning, determined to break the world record of 136.18mph.
A record that had been unbroken for the past 11 years.
His first attempt shattered the record with a speed of 148.6mph. Rollie wasn’t satisfied. Convinced his safety leathers were creating unnecessary drag, he stripped down to nothing but a pair of swim trunks and a goggles. His trademark style of lying flat across the motorcycle instead of a traditional riding stance added to the insanity, hurtling Rollie to a record of 150.313mph and into the books for the next twenty years.
It was a run that resulted not only in the record, but also in the creation of motorcycling’s most famous photo ever (the shot above of Free piloting the bike horizontally), taken from a speeding car racing alongside.
Well, let’s wrap this motha-fucka up, shall we?…
Will I own a Vincent someday? If I want one I will, that’s for damn sure. Then again who knows??? Jay Leno’s stamp of approval ( among other’s of a certain tax bracket no doubt ) has really fucked things up market wise in that, a fella average, working class joe being able to buy one is very unattainable. What once cost $1500-3000 when new, became about The same (give or take some figures) .Nowadays, WHEEEEWW! Forget it! That monster has grown into figures which read like such: $45-65000.00 at auctions, etc. Thanks Leno & crew, ya prick’s! I kid, of course. The man has a true love and admiration for motorcycles, who also happens to actually ride the bike’s among his collection. Plus, his you-tube vid’s are cool and helpful. Good on ya Jay,…. I’s only foolin’. Unless I die in a crash ( not the worst way to check out: It’s quick & clean, and you go out in a blaze. I mean c’mon! ) & end up reaching my twilight year’s, you can bet dollars to fuckin’ donuts i WILL own a Vincent. Or die tryin’….. HOLLA!