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Lot 047: 1955 VINCENT BLACK PRINCE

MotorCycles, H&H Sales Limited (1 March 2007)

The ultimate expression of the Vincent twin, the Black Shadow powered Black Prince entered production in the spring of 1955 with the last example of both the model and the marque leaving the production line on Friday the16th December 1955. The origins of the Black Prince and its sister machines the Black Knight and Victor single can be found in the declining sales of the Series C machines during 1952 and 1953. The decline in sales was the result of a number of factors; other manufacturers were offering larger capacity machines which had narrowed the gap in performance between themselves and the Vincent product whilst maintaining their price advantage. The technological advantages enjoyed by the Stevenage product was being eroded as other manufacturers introduced rear suspension; improved electrical systems and cleaner styling which made the Vincent product look increasingly old-fashioned. Phil Vincent recognised the need to revise the range but sought to do so in such a way that was consistent with the tradition of innovation and excellence established by his company. To that end, rather than a revamp of the existing Series C machines, development started on what were to become the Series D machines which would introduce a number of significant changes. The most obvious of these was the introduction of full enclosure and weather protection using glass fibre which proved to be very effective, although it did inherently alter the character of the machines. A great deal of thought went into ensuring that the new models were, despite the all enveloping bodywork, easily accessible for general maintaince. The rear enclosure, which incorporated the oil tank, was hinged allowing access to the rear wheel and final drive chain. Lucas components replaced the previous models Miller electrical system with ignition being provided by a coil and distributor which combined with Amal Monobloc carburettors aided starting. The centre stand was operated by a lever accessible from the saddle and the lower front mudguard stay served as an emergency front stand to facilitate the removal of the front wheel. Unfortunately, delays in the supply of the fibre glass components from an outside supplier meant that the first enclosed machines were not available until the spring of 1955. In total approximately 200 of the enclosed models were built prior to production ending in December 1955, by which time 300 unfaired Series D Rapide's and Black Shadow had been built. This example is the last one to leave the Vincent factory on the 16th December 1955. It is described in an article written by Bruce Main-Smith that appeared in the 29th December 1955 issue of "Motor Cycling" in which the frame number RD13034B/F and engine number F10AB/2B/11134 are quoted. SXP 677 has had very few owners; having remained in the original purchaser's family until well into the 1980's and is known to have been on display at Beaulieu during that decade. The early part of the machines life saw it being used regularly, it is the reputed to have been stripped down and stored, with many of the components residing in vats of oil to preserve them. During the 1970's it was reassembled and used prior to going on display. It has subsequently seen very little, if any use and will require recommisioning prior to returning to the road. Offered in tidy, original condition with a copy of the original logbook and a V5C this is a historic machine accompanied by a VOC dating certificate confirming that it is the "last Vincent".

Lot Details
Auction MotorCycles
H&H Sales Limited, The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number047
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£36000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1955
Condition rating
Registration numberSXP 677
Mileage-
Chassis numberRD13034B/F
Engine numberF10AB/2B/11134
Engine capacity (cc)998
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors