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Lot 472: 1954 Vincent 998cc Rapide

Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 October 2005)

Ever since the Series A’s arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. From Rollie Free’s capture of the ‘world’s fastest production motorcycle’ record in 1948 on a tuned Series B Black Shadow to the final fully enclosed Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent’s stress on appearance and performance is legendary. His machines bristled with innovative features: adjustable brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever. The finish was to a very high standard commensurate with the cost of the machine, which was virtually double that of any of its contemporaries. But above all else it was the v-twin’s stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. With a top speed approaching 120mph, and bettering it in the Black Shadow’s case, the Vincent v-twin was the fastest road vehicle of its day.

First registered on 12th April 1954, this Rapide was purchased by the vendor in 1969/70 already dismantled, in which state it has remained ever since. A late Series-C model, its engine is that of a Series-B Rapide dating from 1948. It should also be noted that the V5 document erroneously records the frame number as ‘RC7246/C’, not ‘RC9246/C’. The machine appears substantially complete, but items known to be missing include the magneto cowl, rear suspension mounting plate, both inlet valves, battery carrier, horn, handlebar, headlamp glass/reflector and sundry other parts. Prior to bidding, prospective purchasers are strongly advised to satisfy themselves with regard to the extent of the correctness, originality and completeness of the machine, which is sold strictly as viewed and offered with Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams, Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number472
Estimate£4500-£5500
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£9000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£10350
Year1954
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine numberF10AB/1/1303
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors